A good conference enables us to hear from experts on a range of topics, increase our knowledge, and network with old and new colleagues. A great conference achieves these things and inspires us to envision and plant the seeds of new ways to address the challenges in our communities.
Our goal in hosting the 2012 Reinventing Older Communities conference was to produce a great conference. More than 430 community developers, government and foundation leaders, researchers, policymakers, bankers, planners, and others interested in the future of cities joined us from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. There was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement at the conference, and I think that the conference theme of Building Resilient Cities resonated with the participants. For me, the term resiliency suggests hopefulness and strength in the face of struggle. I think that everyone at the conference shared a desire to create vibrant, economically viable cities.
This issue of Cascade shares a few highlights from the conference, including summaries from sessions on keys to success for small industrial cities, ways in which anchor institutions can revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns, the economic development potential of arts and culture, successful urban education models, and the fiscal crisis confronting many local governments. To get the full scope of the conference, visit http://www.philadelphiafed.org/community-development/events/ for plenary and concurrent session recordings and presentations.
We’ve used the time since the Reinventing conference to reflect on what we’ve learned and identify opportunities for follow-up. In light of the positive feedback received in regard to the conference and the report “In Philadelphia’s Shadow: Small Cities in the Third Federal Reserve District,” we will be building on the theme of building resilient cities with a focus on the needs of smaller industrial cities in our District. Our staff will be organizing a series of meetings in 2012 and 2013, including one on anchor institutions.
As always, we are interested in hearing from you. We are especially interested in your suggestions about issues and subjects that you would like us to address at the next Reinventing conference in 2014.