The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regions by advocating for regional cooperation as the most effective way to address a variety of community planning and development opportunities and issues.
NARC members include regional councils, councils of governments (COGs), regional planning and development agencies, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and other regional organizations. Members work collaboratively with their communities – large and small, urban and rural – to address their citizens’ needs and promote a regional approach to planning for the future.
NARC member organizations are driven by a dedicated group of local elected officials and professionals who work with community leaders and citizens to build local capacity; develop and implement strategic investment plans; foster regional cooperation and economic competitiveness; forge public and private partnerships; and secure and manage funds from local, state, federal, and private sources.
For over 50 years, NARC has represented the interests of its members and has advanced regional cooperation through effective interaction and advocacy with Congress, federal officials, and other related agencies and interest groups. NARC’s agenda includes transportation, economic and community development, energy and environment, public safety, and a variety of community issues undertaken by its member organizations.
NARC provides its members valuable information and research on key national policy issues, federal policy developments, and best practices. The association also conducts enriching training sessions, conferences, workshops and webinars for its members.
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), originally called the National Service to Regional Councils (NSRC), was created in 1965 by the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties to respond to the professional and legislative needs of America’s emerging, multi-purpose, multi-jurisdictional organizations of local governments.
The name National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) was adopted in 1967. By that point, more than 350 regional councils in the country were working at the forefront of forging regional alliances for the purpose of addressing common, multi-jurisdictional challenges.
Today, regional councils have retained their identity but their role has changed dramatically. Of the more than 500 regional councils throughout the country, a majority now function as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Some MPOs are extensions of Regional Councils, and slightly more than half are stand-alone organizations responsible for fulfilling federal and state metropolitan transportation planning requirements.
The functions of regional councils continue to be shaped by changing dynamics in federal, state and local government relations. Through these changes, regions remain the primary arena in which local governments can work collaboratively to address common challenges – social, economic, workforce, transportation, emergency preparedness, environmental and more.
Vision and Mission
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) is a recognized authority and leading advocate for regional organizations and solutions that positively impact American communities through effective inter-jurisdictional cooperation.
As a national public interest organization, NARC works with and through its members to:
- Shape federal policy that recognizes the increased value of local intergovernmental cooperation;
- Advocate effectively for the role of regional councils in the coordination, planning, and delivery of current and future federal programs;
- Provide research and analysis of key national issues and developments that impact our members; and
- Offer high quality learning and networking opportunities for regional organization through events, training, and technical assistance.
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) provides the following services and information to its membership:
- Legislative Analysis
- Congressional Technical Assistance
- Advocacy for Regional Councils and Metropolitan Planning Organizations
Conference & Events
- National Conference of Regions (February)
- Annual Conference and Exhibition (June)
- Executive Director’s Conference (September/October)
Workshops and Webinars
- eRegions: Weekly email newsletter providing information on a wide range of regional topics.
- Transportation Thursdays: Weekly email newsletter focusing on transportation issues.
Technical Assistance and Research:
- National Directory of Regional Councils and Metropolitan Planning Organizations
- Reports on Relevant Topics
- Federal and Regulatory Updates
- Grants/Special Projects