Frequently Asked Questions
Regional planning, at its root, is about charting a course into the future. It’s about carefully assessing where we are today as a region, envisioning what the future of a region might or should look like, articulating goals and objectives that support that vision, and developing strategies that move the region towards realizing those goals. Regional planning is a holistic approach that looks to integrate the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, to identify connections between different issues and fields of study, and to build relationships across municipal boundaries and different sectors—public, private and non-profit. Regional planning tends to have a spatial component, focusing on how the built and natural environments affect and are affected by critical regional issues like transportation, housing, economic development, energy, and more. In most of the United States, including southwest New Hampshire, regional planning is not a regulatory endeavor. It does not dictate how the region must develop. Rather, it is a process for building: collective understanding about regional issues and consensus around how to best address regional challenges. Regional planning can also involve doing—playing a role in plan implementation. Implementation can involve activities like program development, demonstration or pilot projects, or working with partners to secure funding for new initiatives or on-the-ground improvements.
The issues that affect our daily lives predominately occur at the regional level. Transportation networks, utility infrastructure, housing and job markets, watersheds, wildlife habitat, air quality, and more all span municipal boundaries. Regional planning is critical for fostering coordination among municipalities and other partners.
In New Hampshire, regional planning commissions are public bodies authorized by NH RSA 36. Regional planning commissions are formed by member municipalities within its service area. There are nine regional planning commissions across the state.
SWRPC is governed by its Commissioners, up to two from each member municipality. Commissioners elect a Board of Directors who provides guidance and oversight to a professional staff led by an Executive Director. Several advisory committees focusing on particular topics support the Board of Directors.
Our primary role is to provide technical support to our member municipalities and to promote regional coordination across local jurisdictions and among a wide range of community partners. We offer a diverse array of programs and services, which can be found here. You can also check out some of our featured projects via the main navigation menu.
SWRPC funding is supported in large part by project and program-specific grants, both from governmental and private entities. A small portion (about 10%) of SWRPC’s funding comes from municipal membership dues, which SWRPC often utilizes to meet grant matching requirements. This funding structure means that SWRPC is continuously and proactively raising funds that would otherwise not flow to our region for critical regional planning activities. SWRPC also partners with municipalities and other organizations to perform contract-based work.
Our service area includes all of Cheshire County, western Hillsborough County, and one community in Sullivan County. Current member communities include:
- New Ipswich
A list of our current Commissioners is available here.
Yes! If you’re community has fewer than 2 Commissioners, there may be opportunity for you to serve in that capacity. Our advisory committees also periodically recruit new members. Also, most of our projects involve a community engagement aspect. For more information on how to volunteer, give us a call or send us a message via e-mail.
Job and internship opportunities are posted here.