The purpose of this study is to model a process of participatory design and scenario planning to address the growing social issues in small rust-belt cities. Qualitative, quantitative and mixed method data was collected during the course of this study. Partnerships were formed and data was collected from current residents of the city of the Utica, NY and surrounding suburbs through three primary research methods—a broad survey of residents, interviews of key individuals in the community and targeted focus groups. The area that the field research encompassed is known as the Utica-Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau. As of the 2010 census, the area had a population of 299,397 and encompassed two counties—Oneida and Herkimer. The cities in the defined area are Utica (population 62,235) and Rome (population 33,725.)
The data collected from the primary research was analyzed through various methods described in detail in Chapter 4. The field research was supplemented with secondary data found in local news and social media outlets. Themes, insights and findings from the data were affinitized and clustered in a scenario planning matrix (Ralston and Wilson, 2006.) This data served as the basis for the final scenarios created as the result of this study.