Why the ORA and Oswego is Partnering with CZB
Oswego has challenges that many Upstate NY and "rust belt" cities throughout the Northeastern US face: a reduced population, competition with suburbs for strong households, and the challenges inherent in the transition to the knowledge economy of the 21st century. At the same time, Oswego currently has many extraordinary strengths with significant potential. These include historic neighborhoods, valuable waterfront and a walkable downtown -- features that are both rare nationwide - and in growing demand - from the trend towards the New Urbanism.
CZB is a neighborhood planning firm specializing in community and neighborhood revitalization that can help Oswego realize its new potential as a 21st Century community of choice. Their client list is impressive, ranging from strong markets of Boulder, Co and Seattle, Wa, to struggling housing markets such as Jamestown, NY and Flint, MI.
CZB is best known for a strategy, called the Healthy Neighborhoods Approach, that represents a nearly 180 degree turn from the traditional approaches to neighborhood revitalization. This approach has been employed in Baltimore and was the subject of a recent NPR news segment. Instead of focusing on weaknesses, it builds on strengths. Instead of reliance on government subsidies, it leverages private homeowner investment. Instead waiting for the siren song of some economic turnaround, it restores neighborhood confidence by building from strengths and thereby helps to not only stabilize neighborhoods, but positions for them to grow healthy once again. Healthy enough so they become places people choose to move to. A short documentary on the results of their work in Jamestown, NY also shows what is possible.
The Oswego Renaissance Association is excited to partner with CZB, SUNY, the Shineman Foundation and the City of Oswego, and the community, to begin revitalizing Oswego's neighborhoods.