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Celebrating Citizens as Agents of Change

Join the School of Architecture and Planning and One Region Forward for a multimedia Idea Summit as we cap off the first year of the Citizen Planning School

Published October 1, 2014

This Saturday, Oct. 4, the School of Architecture and Planning and the One Region Forward initiative will celebrate the Citizen Planning School’s first year of idea-creation through a multimedia “Idea Summit.”

Launched in the spring of 2014, the Citizen Planning School is an innovative citizen-based academy designed to empower residents of Erie and Niagara counties to become catalysts for sustainable change in their local communities. The program is sponsored by the School of Architecture and Planning through One Region Forward, a federally-funded collaborative planning effort to develop a roadmap for sustainable development in the bi-county region. The citizen training program includes a series of learning sessions and an accompanying service learning program called “Champions for Change,” where a select group of citizens receive technical assistance to advance community-level projects. 

Featuring work from the program's first class of Citizen Planners and Champions for Change, the Idea Summit will explore how to translate ideas into action and provide opportunities for community members to network with local experts, citizen planners and funders.

Where: The North Park Cinema on 1428 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, NY 14216

When: Saturday, October 4th, from 10 AM until 1 PM

The event is free and open to the public. Register today!

Among the ideas proposed by the program’s Champions for Change are an initiative to connect residents with public officials in Niagara Falls, NY, a public education campaign to build awareness of waste prevention and reduction strategies, a small business incubator for Buffalo’s East Side, and a sidewalk snow removal program for Elmwood Village. Learn more about their ideas.

Event highlights include:

  • Multimedia forum of videos and presentations on the individual champions and their Ideas for change. 
  • Keynote address by Megan McNally, founder of Rusted Grain Woodworker's Collaborative and co-founder and executive director of The Foundry, a business incubator and creative community space on Buffalo’s East Side. She’ll share her story of social entrepreneurism and how passion, risk-taking and network-building catalyzed an idea into action that has changed the community.
  • Panel of community leaders will offer insight on how to turn ideas into ideas into action. Panelists include Franchelle Hart of Open Buffalo, Cara Matteliano of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Howard Zemsky of the Larkin Development Group, and Mike Clarke of LISC Buffalo.
  • Ideas Expo and networking session, where attendees will have the opportunity to meet the Citizen Planners, Champions for Change and guest panelists to learn more about their projects and explore partnership opportunities.

Attendees will also hear details about Year 2 of the Citizen Planning School, including how to register for the program and apply to be considered for its “Champions for Change” track. To take place in spring 2015, the program will feature a graduate-level course at the School of Architecture and Planning. (This course is also open to Master of Urban Planning students and high-performing students in the BA in Environmental Design Program as a 3-credit service learning seminar.)

The Citizen Planning School is an integral part of One Region Forward’s regional planning process and implementation of community projects that together achieve One Region Forward’s vision of a more sustainable region. Thousands of citizens from across Erie and Niagara counties have been engaged as part of the One Region Forward effort to-date. The Citizen Planning School seeks to build on that strong base and offer additional resources and tools to empower residents as agents for change.

One Region Forward is funded by a $2 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to create a federally-recognized Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. The effort is led by a broad consortium of public, not-for-profit and private entities in the region, including the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Erie and Niagara Counties, the City of Buffalo and the City of Niagara Falls. The UB Regional Institute, a planning policy and urban design center within theSchool of Architecture and Planning, has provided research and planning support for the project.

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