Join One Region Forward and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning as it celebrates the first year of its Citizen Planning School through a multimedia event called the “Idea Summit.”

Launched in the spring of 2014, the One Region Forward Citizen Planning School is an innovative citizen-based academy designed to empower residents of Erie and Niagara counties to become catalysts for sustainable change in their local communities. The program features a series of learning sessions hosted by the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, and an accompanying service learning program called “Champions for Change. Champions for Change are a select group of citizens who receive training and technical assistance to advance specific projects they believe will contribute to the quality of life of their communities and the overall sustainability of Buffalo Niagara. A sample of the 16 projects that will be featured at the Idea Summit include a fresh food truck for the East Side of Buffalo, an international peace garden in the Town of Wilson, and a net-zero renovation of a community center in Niagara Falls.

The Idea Summit will be a fun, celebratory event that will feature the work of the first class of Citizen Planners and Champions for Change, explore what it means to translate ideas to action, and provide opportunities for community members to network with local experts, the citizen planners, funders and other attendees to generate more ideas for action.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 4th, from 10 AM to 12 noon at the historic North Park Theatre on 1428 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, NY 14216. Features include:

·         A multimedia forum featuring videos on the individual champions and their Ideas for Change.

·         A conversation with a panel of community leaders who will offer insight and suggestions on turning ideas into action. Panelists include Howard Zemsky of Larkin Development, Franchelle Hart of Open Buffalo, Cara Matteliano of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Mike Clarke of LISC Buffalo, and Megan McNally of The Foundry.

·         Keynote address from Megan McNally about how one person can have an idea, bring it into action and make a difference in the community.

·         Ideas Expo and networking session where attendees will have the opportunity to meet the Citizen Planners, Champions, and guest panelists to learn more about their projects and explore forging partnerships.

·         Announcement of Year Two of the Citizen Planning School to be offered in the spring of 2015 and supported by a graduate-level course at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Attendees will learn how to register for the school and apply to be considered for the “Champion for Change” track.

The Citizen Planning School is an integral part of One Region Forward’s regional planning and implementation process  that values fostering community projects as a means to becoming a more sustainable region overall. Thousands of citizens from across Erie and Niagara counties have been engaged as part of the One Region Forward effort and those conversations have shown how knowledgeable and engaged residents are.  Bob Shibley, Dean of the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, has said “Every time I take something to the community in a planning exercise of one kind or another I end up impressed and proud of what I learned from the community.” The Citizen Planning School seeks to build on that strong base and offer additional information, resources and tools to residents to help them become local agents for change and ultimately implement the emerging vision of One Region Forward. Bart Roberts, Project Manager for One Region Forward, explained that the program is “…built on the premise that we need to work together in order to build a great region, and that collaboration occurs across many different actors.”

Free and open to the public, citizens are encouraged to  to register for the event and learn more about One Region Forward by visitinghttp://www.oneregionforward.org/.