“Burn Me Down” Urban Cores

Location: 
SUNY Canton; Nevaldine North 102
Date: 
March 6, 2013 6:00pm

"Burn Me Down" Changing the way we think and feel about our urban cores and how we live.

Rick Destito knew exactly what he was getting into when he bought a rundown, three-story Victorian house in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Syracuse. Built in the 1890s but left abandoned for years, the place was in serious disrepair: graffiti and mold stained the exterior, the windows were gone and the roof needed to be replaced. But under an innovative local housing program, he paid only a dollar for the place - plus another $60,000, and his own skilled labor, to make it suitable for his family, including a one-year old girl and a baby on the way.

For decades, people like Mr. Destito - young, skilled, motivated - were exactly the sort who left Rust Belt cities like Syracuse. But recently, in numbers not yet statistically measurable but clearly evident at the ground level, they've been coming back to the city, first as a trickle, and now by the hundreds. In some ways it's a part of the natural ebb and flow of urban demographics. But it is also the result of a new attitude among the city's leadership, one that admits the failure of the re-industrialization efforts of the last decades and instead invents ways to attract new types of residents and keep current ones from leaving. Call it urban renewal 2.0, gentrification on a citywide scale.

This lecture is part of a semester long series used  "...to raise campus and community awareness about environmental and sustainability issues and how they touch each and every one of us in our careers and lives," said Matthew J. Burnett, assistant professor of Graphic and Multimedia Design at SUNY Canton, who created the series.  Other presentations include:

  • Matthew J. Burnett, an assistant professor in the Graphics and Multimedia Design program at SUNY Canton, will discuss the "Bureaucracy of Nature" March 13.
  • Brandon J. Baldwin, an assistant professor in the Automotive program at SUNY Canton, will discuss advances in automotive technology that increase efficiency March 27.
  • Rich Douglass is the owner of Sow's Ear Farm, a 160-acre nonelectric horse-powered subsistence farm in Hermon. He will talk about low-tech solutions for a post-carbon world April 3.
  • Richard Burns from National Grid will be speaking about reducing oil dependency April 17.
  • Nicholas C. Kocher, an assistant professor for Business and Public Administration at SUNY Canton, will discuss marketing sustainability April 24.

For more information about the events, contact Burnett at 386-7212 or burnettm@canton.edu