WHAT IS GLUE?
Much has been said about the future of the Great Lakes region by academics and traditional stakeholders in public policy. Yet rarely have 18-40 year olds, the target of scores of ‘brain drain’ research and attraction and retention efforts, been asked as a demographic what they envision, or how their day-to-day experiences in “declining” post-industrial cities inform that vision.
“The economic potential of the Great Lakes region will not be fully realized unless water protection is paired with inclusive and innovative reinvestment in cities like Milwaukee, Erie, and Youngstown,” said Pittsburgh native Abby Wilson, Co-Founder of GLUE. “The shared potential of our region’s environmental and human capital is truly extraordinary, but untapped – partly because our cities are struggling. The region’s cities must be the laboratory, the nucleus, and the expression of that possibility.”
“Across the world, the number of people moving to cities drastically outpaces the ability of infrastructure to support them. Yet my city and others like it are fighting tooth and nail to stave off population decline,” Detroit native and GLUE Co-Founder Sarah Szurpicki said. “We can’t continue to sideline this region as our nation evolves in the 21st century.”
GLUE was developed in the fall of 2007 as a forum for people to exchange stories, ideas, andbest practices between otherwise isolated cities ranging from Buffalo to St. Louis to Minneapolis. The GLUE coalition, comprised of post-boomer urbanists located in the “rustbelt,” was founded to promote the power, aide in the positive transformation, and address the shared challenges of similarly-storied older industrial cities situated in the Great Lakes watershed. Among the ranks of GLUE coalition members are community organizers, urban planners, artists, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and students living and working in over twenty cities in ten states.
GLUE’s website will serve as an idea and information clearinghouse for the Great Lakes Region. It will feature issue and solutions-oriented stories, a directory where city-lovers can connect with one another and exchange ideas, and links to organizations and initiatives where readers can get involved, both locally and regionally. GLUE will additionally host monthly local meetings and other off-line events, placing an emphasis on diversity and the inclusion of under-represented communities.
GLUE operates on four guiding principles:
Urbanism: Cities are our world’s economic drivers. Decision makers cannot afford to underestimate their value nor overlook their needs.
Regionalism: Great Lakes urban centers need to overcome outlooks of despair and isolation by forging a shared perspective and developing strength in numbers.
Storytelling: White papers alone cannot propel an agenda, particularly for the emerging generation of leadership. No need is expressed more powerfully than via human narrative.
Network Building: Connecting people and institutions who share challenges and objectives will foster regional collaboration and transfer examples of success throughout the basin.