Tag Archives: draft

Rust-belt Map

Here is my version of the rust-belt map of the US to help define the area for my thesis. (Based on a map by B. Jennings and other sources.)

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Updated Thesis Statement

We are living in the post-industrial age. For many communities in the US whose growth grew from dependence on manufacturing and industrialization, the utopian state of the 1950s is a distant dream or forgotten memory (Wilson & Wouters, 2003.) Once thriving communities have turned into depressed cities riddled with abandoned factories, condemned buildings, poverty and unemployment. They are filled with jobless, skilled and unskilled laborers and have few opportunities for those with professional skill and education. What is the future of the growing numbers of rust-belt cities in the United States? Too often, we turn our backs on these small cities and dismiss them as being too economic and resource intensive and therefore beyond saving. But there is rich history and culture worth preserving and opportunity in these communities for revitalization; we need to partner with the citizens to seek these opportunities out and make the changes necessary to grow and move into the future (Spinuzzi, 2005.)

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Timeline

I have developed a proposed timeline for completing my thesis. The process formally started in Fall of 2011 with my enrollment in the pre-thesis course IDUS 763 and will end with my defense planned for August 2012. The timeline is still in draft format as it is subject to change through the process.

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Value Proposition

For citizen, politician and stakeholders of rust belt cities who wish to revitalize and rebuild their communities, this study will provide design solutions and recommendations for growth and opportunities for innovation.

We do this by partnering with citizen through the use of participatory design methods along with implementing scenario-planning tool to craft alternative futures with the goal of discovering opportunities and creating a vision for the future.

Unlike other research addressing rust belt revitalization, which often takes a singular focus and point of view, this study will use the concept of wicked problems as a theoretical framework and lens through which to view the issues in the rust belt communities. The research process, synthesis and analysis will take a holistic approach to finding solutions and empowering community members.

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Abstract – version 1.0

Many of the United States’ once booming industrial communities have been devastated by the migration of manufacturing out of the Northeast and Midwest. The cities of the US rust belt—spanning from Central New York State, through parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois—are heading down the path to a bleak future. This thesis will focus on a case study of one such rust belt city, Utica, NY as a way to examine the unique past, present and future problems and opportunities of these communities. The concept of wicked problems will be used as a conceptual framework for the study and the research will take a holistic approach to framing issues and designing solutions. This study will use participatory design methods as a way of collecting data and employ scenario planning tools to craft alternative future scenarios. These scenarios will be the foundation for discovering design opportunities for the Utica area. The results of the study will include media-based narratives of alternative futures and recommendations and a timeline for implementation of design solutions.

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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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