Co-Evolving since 2010 on Campus and in Communities
Since 2010, R2G has been developing and evolving to best support and foster reciprocal relationships and partnerships and innovative community development– with and in Utica and Binghamton– along with engaged student learning and scholarship. To make this happen, R2G has effectively co-evolved on campus and in the cities of Binghamton and Utica over a decade-long timeframe.
In Utica and Binghamton, R2G networks have been formed and organizations have stepped in to develop, sponsor and advance R2G activities. R2G has generated refreshing and dynamic synergies, collaborations and coalition building helping to further social sustainability and community development. In Utica, for example, R2G Utica, Inc. now operates as an independent non-profit with a dedicated Board of Directors and local Urban Studio staff. In Binghamton, CCE Broome and the City's Department of Economic Development are acting together to serves as R2G's local home base. In each city, a locally identified network of citizenry, groups and organizations are the face of R2G.
Here on campus, service-learning courses, workshops, research collaborations and institutional infrastructure have all developed out of and in support of R2G. With its roots in Landscape Architecture, R2G was initially launched in that department with a 3-year USDA Hatch Grant entitled From Rust to Green Places and Networks: Mapping a Sustainable Future for Upstate NY (NYC-146455). With time and as it grew, R2G made a move to its current home base, CaRDI, in D-Soc and now the Department of Global Development. As a CaRDI affiliate, R2G is able to interconnect with a large cross-section of collaborators on campus and beyond, sharing knowledge and expertise related to community development as well as engaged education and research.
R2G’s on campus network is comprised of faculty, extension educators, researchers and students as well as units and departments representing diverse disciplines and fields. Over the years, they have collaboratively joined together with an equally diverse representation of community collaborators and partners–in Binghamton, Utica and beyond–to generate and work together on a wide variety of community development projects involving research, urban design and planning, policy-making, and more.
How We Work
R2G’s focus on people, place, and democratic engagement means that it pursues modes of collective inquiry, creativity and meaning-‐making that help communities express themselves and work together. R2G turns to theories and practices of democratic design, community-‐based arts and humanities, and placemaking to reinforce social sustainability’s central role in community development. To foster dialogue and reciprocity, we employ principles and methods from action research to facilitate participatory processes that drive collective understanding and address community development issues. R2G’s collaborative discoveries happen in participatory workshops, focus groups, surveys, visioning sessions, and meetings and co-‐created events such as festivals, summits, plays, performances, education gatherings and community-‐builds. Partners have undertaken neighborhood revitalization and design, conducted green energy studies, repurposed vacant lots into community gardens and parks, studied food system sustainability, enacted a food policy council, and implemented creative placemaking.
Cornell, R2G faculty, researchers and students are advancing scholarship related to community development–placemaking, flood resiliency, democratic design, engaged education, service-learning, green energy, sustainable development, etc.–through books and book chapters, urban design and landscape architectural design plans and reports, peer-reviewed research publications, conference presentations, community design and planning workshops and seminars, public talks and events, film, performance, exhibition and website platforms.