Working Title, Statements and Questions – 1st Draft

Working Title:

What is the future of Utica?
— Alternative Futures and Design Opportunities for a Rust-Belt Community

Thesis Statement:

We are living in a post-industrial age. For many communities in the US that grew from dependence on manufacturing and industrialization, the utopian state of the 1950s is a distant dream or forgotten memory. Once thriving communities have turned into depressed cities riddled with abandoned factories, condemned buildings, poverty and unemployment. They are filled with jobless, skilled laborers and have little opportunity for those with professional skill and education. What is the future of these growing numbers of rust-belt cities in the United States? Too often, we turn our backs on these communities and dismiss them as being beyond saving. But there is rich history and culture worth preserving and opportunity in these communities for revitalization; we just need to seek them out and partner with the citizens to make the changes necessary to grow and move into the future.

Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to address the growing number of rust-belt communities by conducting a case study on the city of Utica, located in Upstate New York. This inquiry will look at the history of the city as well as global and local trends and use scenario-planning tools to propose alternative futures for the community. The study will also examine opportunities for growth and design solutions for revitalization.

Research Questions

  1. Where are there opportunities for economic growth and revitalization in rust-belt communities, specifically Utica?
  2. Given current global and local trends and forces, what possible alternative futures could exist for rust-belt cities, particularly the city of Utica?
  3. How have changing demographics shaped the history, culture and community of Utica? How can this change affect the future of the city?

 End Deliverables:

  • Alternative future scenarios
    • Media-based narratives
  • Design solution(s)
  • Implementation Plan
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