You may soon be living in New York State’s first “EcoDistrict”

Future site of the GardenAerial

Future site of the GardenAerial

Being green, this morning I bicycled over to MCC for the Greentopia FUTURES Summit.

As explained to me by one of the Co-Founders of Greentopia, Lewis Stess, today’s conference, Cities of the Future is the first step in a series of initiatives intended to foster a new urban paradigm right here in Rochester.  The goal is to form an approximately 220 acre EcoDistrict roughly bordered by Smith and Broad Streets. The first of its kind in New York State.

As I spoke with Lewis, I quickly began to see his vision. Right now, the swath of the city Lewis wants to regenerate borders on the desolate.  A creeky reminder when Kodak Moments mattered.

Instead, this green district. literally and figuratively a grassroots movement, will not only keep people in Rochester–as business owners, employees and downtown residents–but bring them here.  And do so in an environmentally sustainable way. Perhaps the way Minneapolis draws residents from all over the upper Midwest.

Check out the website for all the details you need on the EcoDistrict, including on the GardenAerial. Greentopia

EcoDistict booth at the Summit. A few minutes later, Channel 13 News filmed me and Michael Philipson, Greentopia Co-Founder talking. See at 6 and 11.

EcoDistict booth at the Greentopia FUTURES Summit. A few minutes later, Channel 13 News filmed me and Greentopia Co-Founder Michael Philipson talking. See at 5, 6 and 11.

I am just here to tell you the next 24 months–as the final plans come to fruition–will be exciting.  I experienced an urban renaissance in Providence, Rhode Island that transformed the town from the so-called “armpit” of New England into a destination city.

In the Summit brochure there was one question always vexing: What is the Rochester ‘cool’ factor and how does this matter?

Discussing the answer, Lewis and I went back and forth on how to characterize Rochester’s “cool.” At the end, Lewis landed on one word: “Rochester is innovative. We always have been. Innovative.”

Innovative works for me.  The innovative Gem of the Genesee.

Try guessing where the featured photo was taken. Note the rusting railroad tracks. I won’t miss them. Many moons later, I still bear an unstitched scar from a misadventure on those tracks. Not a post for another day.

On what makes Rochester “cool”  Pop Quiz at the South Wedge-Ucation