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Quality of life, infrastructure investment key to urban renewal

Credit NathanaelB / Via Flickr

Mildred Warner of Cornell University recently held a conference at the college on the economic state of upstate New York’s largest urban centers.

She says the region’s cities aren’t getting the ‘full gambit’ of rediscovery by younger generations because they’re not investing enough in areas like quality-of-life and infrastructure.

Basically, that means more people would move back into cities if roads and parks and such were in better condition.

Warner says in a service-based economy, it’s the quality-of-life in a city that’s the basis for future economic development.

The professor is critical of policies coming from Albany: curbing property tax rates and investing in glitzy economic projects rather than concentrating on basic infrastructure.

She says cities can only be so innovative without more help from the state.

She says mandates like rising pension and health care costs pose a burden too. As for consolidating services between county and city, Warner says municipalities only see cost savings about half the time, while it will usually result in better services.

Across upstate New York, the cities have higher concentrations of poverty than the suburbs.

Warner does note counties are recognizing their urban cores are important to the region’s economy.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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