Publication Date



Polk County Housing Trust Fund


Without fanfare, regional planning agencies have played a key role in overseeing the production of many the nation’s modern urban infrastructure systems (highways, wastewater, transit) during the last 60 years. At present, Des Moines is the most populous metropolitan area in the United States without a functioning regional planning agency, a condition that has persisted since 1983, when the Central Iowa Regional Association of Local Governments (CIRALG) shut down amid a federal investigation of financial mismanagement and administrative malfeasance. The story of CIRALG’s collapse provides a glimpse of some of the problems that have plagued regional decision making in central Iowa for many years, and alludes to larger issues regarding the difficulties of sustaining interjurisdictional collaboration.