Posted by: Sarah Szurpicki | May 26, 2009

Press Release and Press Attention

Summit co-conveners issued a press release last week and today (you can download here: Great Lakes Metros Summit Release.5.26.09, and the full text is below) and the Summit has already received some attention: a mention in the Buffalo News and a longer press release passing-on on Buffalo Rising.

Great Lakes Metros and the New Opportunity Summit: Remaking Policy and Practice in a Time of Transformation Announced for June 18-19, 2009, in Buffalo, NY

Buffalo, NY – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, “the stimulus,” has generated endless speculation about its ability to stave off economic decline in increasingly uncertain times.

Realizing that the implications of the Obama administration’s first major domestic accomplishment are more significant than short-term economic loss or gain, four organizations with distinct but overlapping missions, the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE), the Northeast-Midwest Institute, The Buffalo State College Center for Economic and Policy Studies, and Buffalo’s Partnership for Public Good have united to convene “Great Lakes Metros and the New Opportunity, Remaking Policy and Practice in a Time of Transformation,” at Buffalo State College’s Bulger Communications Center on Thursday June 18th and Friday June 19th.

“The ARRA revealed a great deal about the administration’s approach to urban policy,” said Diane Duvaul, Policy Director at the Northeast-Midwest Institute. “The Great Lakes Metros summit will reflect upon ARRA’s successes and opportunities for reform, and explore the interplay between existing local reform efforts and this moment of opportunity.”

“In order for us to maximize the opportunity of the new administration’s commitment to cities, we must do our part locally.  Regional governance at the metropolitan level is the most effective way to ensure that local fragmentation doesn’t prevent us from utilizing federal support to its fullest potential,” said Bruce Fisher, Director of Buffalo State’s Center for Economic and Policy Studies.  “We have organized this summit to reflect our agreement that regional cooperation is a necessary component to addressing all of the issues facing our cities.”

Online registration for the summit is officially open, and is available at https://greatlakesmetros.wordpress.com.  The audience will include practitioners–including NGOs, local officials, urban advocates, agency heads and their deputies, and other stakeholders–from similarly situated Great Lakes metro communities who seek to use the stimulus bill, future allocations, and other federal support to promote sustainable and equitable cities.

Topics include the expansion of weatherization and other green jobs programs, models for regional and metropolitan governance, innovative uses of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and Great Lakes restoration. Whether investigating new opportunities or scaling up existing programs, attendees will gain a birds-eye view of trends in their field; will learn best practice strategies for ensuring maximum impact for chronically challenged older industrial cities and neighborhoods; and will explore the opportunities to influence the direction of future federal support.

“This is a unique moment,” GLUE Director Sarah Szurpicki said.  “The new administration has made cities a priority, and there is a virtually unanimous acknowledgement that old thinking about supporting local economies simply will not work anymore.  Unless policymakers, activists, and other stakeholders seize this moment to advance new strategies for regional collaboration and to rethink the role of federal policy in urban vitality, we may have to wait decades for another opportunity like this. Cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit don’t have that kind of time.”

“Localities have suffered for too long, at least in part because of the chasm between treetop policy in Washington and the on the ground experiences of experts and average citizens alike,” said Aaron Bartley, Executive Director and Founder of Buffalo’s People United for Sustainable Housing and a member of the Partnership for Public Good, one of the summit’s co-conveners.

About Summit Conveners:

GLUE (http://www.gluespace.org) is a growing network of young leaders who are committed to the revitalization of the cities of the Great Lakes region, through building a constituency, sharing information, telling our stories, and advocating for what our cities need.

The Northeast-Midwest Institute (http://www.nemw.org), a Washington-based, private, non-profit, and non-partisan research organization dedicated to economic vitality, environmental quality, and regional equity for Northeast and Midwest states.

The Buffalo State College Center for Economic and Policy Studies (http://www.buffalostate.edu/economics/x698.xml), an interdisciplinary center for inquiry and colloquy on policy challenges and policy options in Great Lakes urban regions.

The Partnership for the Public Good (http://publicgood.wordpress.com/), a new “think and do tank” dedicated to providing research and advocacy support to a broad array of organizations who share a community oriented vision of a revitalized Greater Buffalo.

For more information about the summit, email Sarah Szurpicki, GLUE Director, at sarah@gluespace.org.

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