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Sep 17, 2012
02:00 PMBe There
Preservation Plus: Evolving the Discussion
A week-long conference beginning September 24 will take on the hot topic of preservation in Buffalo in the context of sustainability, urban planning, and community revitalization. Preservation Plus, hosted by Preservation Buffalo Niagara, boasts an ambitious lineup of events and speakers, as well as hands-on workshops, demonstrations, and field visits.
“We’re following up on the momentum of last year’s National Preservation Conference, but with a smaller audience––we want to draw local residents and make it a regional conference,” says Preservation Buffalo Niagara Director of Operations Jason Wilson. “The scope of content covered is much broader. The idea is that we have a firm belief at Preservation Buffalo Niagara that all of these themes have common goals and common missions and you can’t have one without the other.”
Wilson hopes the conference will spread awareness that smart preservation efforts can help move a city forward, rather than hold it back. “People don’t typically associate preservation with jobs and growth, but just as an example, more construction jobs are created by rehabilitation than construction alone,” he points out. “Ideally, my goal for this conference is to educate a larger group of citizens on the possibilities of preservation as a catalyst for economic development."
In the interest of attracting a wide and diverse audience, almost all conference events are held in the evenings. “We want to make it as accessible as possible, since we’re trying to target a broader audience,” says Wilson. “We understand that someone is probably not going to take a leap of faith and take off work. “ Wilson, a graduate of the UB School of Architecture, says he especially wants the conference to be feasible for students. “We want to target people who may be from outside the area and don’t know yet what Buffalo has to offer,” he says. “A lot of UB students never leave North Campus. There’s so much to do, but it’s hidden. I’d like to use this conference as an opportunity to connect the dots.” Scholarships for students are available to make the conference affordable; in exchange for a scholarship, students are asked to volunteer a few hours of their time during the conference––a practice Wilson hopes will lead to networking and more volunteer and work opportunities for students interested in urban planning, architecture, preservation, and development.
Eric Corey Freed, founder of organicARCHITECT and author of Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies, will speak at Preservation Plus. Photo courtesy of organicARCHITECT.
Presenters at Preservation Plus will hail from all over the country. Eric Corey Freed, prominent architect and author of Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies, will kick off the conference on Monday with a keynote presentation on green energy and how to create healthier buildings and cities. “Preservation and green energy are topics that often butt heads, but we’re going to talk about how they can work together,” says Wilson. “There are so many aspects and themes associated with this.” If Preservation Plus can achieve its goal of filling a relatively small and local audience with big, world-changing ideas, the conference could have considerable regional impact.
Preservation Plus will take place in Buffalo September 24 through 28. Visit www.presplusbuffalo.com to view the conference schedule and register.