Monday, October 31, 2011

SU Conference On Urban Revitalization-Why Am I The Only One There?

A conference on "Urban Revitalization: Transformation Through Art and Design"  was held Friday and Saturday, October 28th and 29th in downtown Syracuse at the very cool Warehouse Auditorium on W. Fayette St.

Sponsored By SU, the conference kicked off with a keynote lecture featuring Kyung-Won Chung, deputy mayor and chief design officer of Seoul, South Korea. Chung is the winner of the 2011 INDEX Award, which honors designs that target and solve the challenges and problems of human life. Chung, who is also a professor of industrial design at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, presented his work on various design projects in Seoul. These initiatives demonstrated how implementing good design into the city's policies and infrastructure has aided in urban revitalization.

Day two featured workshops geared toward revitalizing CNY(Syracuse). Divided into teams and guided by Industrial and interaction design professor and Senior COLAB Faculty Fellow Don Carr, practical, user friendly design solutions were developed using lessons learned from Dr. Chung's lecture the evening before.

I was a part of the "Rust2Green Utica" presentation. For those of you who are not familiar with it, R2G is Cornell University's research action initiative that explores, designs and implements strategies that promote urban sustainability in rust-belt cities. R2G Utica is the first in what will be a series of partnerships across the state.

While at the conference I could not help but wonder-where are all the folks from Utica/Rome? No one from our region it seems ever takes advantage of the amazing resources available through SU and the incredible number of urban-oriented programming that is constantly being offered there.

This is the fourth event that I have either attended or been a speaker at, and seems as if I am the only one from our region who is ever there. No one representing Utica, Rome or Oneida County. No one from EDGE or the Chamber or Genesis. No one. Ever.

That's funny, because from where I stand, that's exactly what our region desperately needs. To learn from the experts and apply that knowledge to a new way of thinking about how to remake our urban centers and our local economy.

R2G Utica cannot do it alone. This initiative will only be successful if true partnerships are formed with the local governments and groups that have the power to influence and change the way we think about who we are and how our policies have thus far contributed to the failure of our region.

In the meantime, I will continue to attend and learn and share that knowledge here with all of you who take the time to read my blog.

In the end, we will turn it around. It only takes time and dedication, and I have plenty of both!

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