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Report says more collaboration needed in upstate revitalization

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More collaboration is needed between the several efforts under way to revitalize upstate New York's "legacy cities," says a report released this week by a public affairs institute.

"Revitalizing the Legacy Cities of Upstate New York," put together by the American Assembly, a nonpartisan institute affiliated with Columbia University, is the conclusion of a two-day meeting held in Syracuse in December for economic and academic representatives from across upstate.

A "legacy city" is a city that is dealing with a declining population and jobs market - a definition most of upstate New York's largest cities fit.

The report calls for five things upstate cities can do:

  1. Enhancing Local Government Efficiency and Land Use Coordination
  2. Targeting Urban Education by Making Schools Neighborhood Magnets
  3. Building a World Class Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
  4. Driving Competitiveness by Increasing Export Capacity
  5. Empowering Legacy Cities to Lead in Clean Energy Production and Energy Conservation

Through the creation ofland banks last year, new export plans, and the creation of several new small business incubators, many of these efforts are already underway. But the report says all the entities behind them need to work together in order to achieve the best results.

"Everybody needs to begin thinking about how we all work together," says Benjamin Sio, who works on planning and sustainability for CenterState CEO, "and how a comprehensive economic development strategies needs to include all this components. And in the past, a lot of people weren’t really considering how all those things fit together."

The report cites the governor's Regional Economic Development Councils as the right type of comprehensive strategy.

"We need to begin considering and really examining how these, what were once thought to [be] ancillary components of economic development: land use, government modernization, exporting, innovation and entrepreneurship, how they’re all key components of economic development and how they all relate," Sio says.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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