School of Architecture and Planning





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Precedents

Lessons in boundary crossing

Recovering the stories of the borderland

Regenerating the cradle of the American Industrial Revolution

Restructuring an old industrial district

What we can learn from these cases


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Brownfield exchange
1999 (364Kb)
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Brownfield exchange
2000 (3690Kb)
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The rethinking presentation


The rethinking book


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A good regional dialogue


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The Niagara Frontier: Ontario and New York

Blackstone River Valley Heritage CorridorAt first glance, there might seem something odd about a conference that engages the topics of heritage tourism, brownfields redevelopment, and global trade all together in one package. But on further examination it turns out it's anything but odd. In fact, in one form or another, projects combining these themes have already been undertaken elsewhere.

There are numerous examples of urban regions across North America and around the world working to come to grips with the challenges of developing, preserving, man­aging, and marketing regional assets in ways that cross boundaries of conventional thinking.

The intent of this publication is not to catalogue the available precedents, but simply to suggest the range of possibilities through a selection of cases, and to stimulate thinking about our own situation.

In some ways, these cases are very different from each other.

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Los Caminos del Rio, stretching from Laredo to Brownsville and Matamoros along the Texas-Mexico border, is, in a sense, a 200-mile long bi-national historic preservation district. Much of it is not urban at all.

Emscher Park, in the Ruhr District, Germany’s “rust belt,” is a densely populated urban region, which is the subject of an ambitious restructuring program led by a special-purpose state agency in the guise of a “building exhibition.”

The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, covering 24 cities and towns in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is one of a relatively new species of national park, in this case commemorating the history of this birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.

In some ways, however, they are strikingly similar, and in ways that speak to our situation here on the Niagara Frontier. All three, for example, involve a river.

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More profoundly, each of these cases works across boundaries: across the thematic boundaries of art and industry or nature and infrastructure; across the bound­aries between public and private; between economy and environment, indeed; between our historical past and the future we are working to shape.

These cases do not, frankly, encompass many of the possibilities before the re­gion. They tend to focus on economic development mainly as a matter of tour­ism development. They largely ignore issues of global trade and transportation infrastructure.

Nevertheless, perhaps we can learn some­thing from these cases, and use them to spark our thinking.

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