What are we doing?
- Devising new neighborhood-level indicators. We are collecting local knowledge through heritage-based interviews with residents, business owners, and community leaders. We are using this data to redefine old and identify new indicators of sustainability and change appropriate at the neighborhood scale.
- Using indicators in theory formation. Using the newly developed indicators, we will benchmark the sustainability of study neighborhoods and devise theories of change and sustainability at this scale. We will examine the explanatory power of the indicators to answer such questions as: Why do some people leave, while others stay? Why do some invest while others do not? What makes a place greener (environmentally and economically) and how does that impact residents?
- Engaging a network of sustainable neighborhood researchers. An important part of this project is to identify, learn from, and collaborate with other researchers related to our interests in local sustainability and heritage. We will bring these scholars to Binghamton University for public lectures (with invitations to community partners and residents) and a series of research workshops. The workshops will include the scholar, project PIs, and a small group of invited participants with similar interests (e.g., SC-TAE affiliates, faculty or students conducting related research). Workshops will focus on project progress, future directions, potential avenues of collaboration, and funding opportunities.
- Examining neighborhood sustainability theories and indicators more broadly. We expect that the frameworks examined in our pilot neighborhood will be broadly applicable to other places in Binghamton and beyond. Those indicators that provide useful information about community sustainability in our pilot neighborhood and potentially have explanatory power will be tested in other Binghamton neighborhoods and at the neighborhood level in other de-industrialized cities.
- Linking indicators and theories to sustainability at higher levels of government and civic society. A major challenge of this project will be to craft a framework that links sustainability efforts at the neighborhood level to municipal-wide efforts and to regional and national projects. Most aspects of sustainability involve issues of protecting the commons and we want to examine the manner in which sustainability measures and actions can work together in a multi-level environment.