Grant Ervin describes the Wilkinsburg New Metropolis Screening
Connecting Cities and Suburbs - The New Metropolis Documentary Series
The relationship between cities and suburbs is often been strained. Competition for resources, differing demographics and the perception that one community’s needs are different from another lead to this relationship. However, some leaders are challenging this conventional wisdom.
Roughly three years ago, 10,000 Friends began working with a nascent group of local officials and community leaders from the suburban communities that surround Philadelphia. Now known as the Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs project, the group of leaders joined together around a shared set of experiences and challenges that they are facing.
At the same time, in Western Pennsylvania, a group of local elected officials from the City of Pittsburgh and its adjacent neighboring municipalities were joining together to form CONNECT, or the Congress of Neighboring Communities – based at the University of Pittsburgh.
While slightly different in their construction, both entities recognize the shared challenges facing the communities that make up the “urban core” and understand that opportunity lies in cooperating with one another.
Shrinking financial resources, population changes and growing demands for local government services and maintenance of infrastructure are familiar themes for these communities. Many of these challenges are the result of public policies that favor dispersing resources to build new communities and expand infrastructure. These common policy challenges link with the policy objectives of 10,000 Friends that is to fix our existing infrastructure, improve local government services through cooperation and cost effective solutions and to plan and make investments that encourage efficient land use decisions.
The New Metropolis, a two part documentary created by filmmaker Andrea Torrice, captures the issues and opportunities for these ‘first suburbs’. Working with our partners from these communities and local PBS affiliates, 10,000 Friends is organizing screenings of the film and accompanied community dialogue around the films topics. Over the last year, we have hosted screenings at WQED Studios in Pittsburgh and WVIA in Scranton, as well as community screenings in suburban communities surrounding Pittsburgh, places like Penn Hills, McKees Rocks and just this week in Wilkinsburg.
The screening events provide communities the opportunity to engage and discuss some difficult topics, create greater awareness of the challenges facing many local communities and laying the foundation for greater cooperation between communities.
Our next New Metropolis Screening and Civic Dialogue will be in Dormont, PA a the newly reopend Hollywood Theatre on May 4th at 6pm
Please take a look at the clips from our most recent New Metropolis event in Wilkinsburg and the link below to our New Metropolis site that highlights the WQED and WVIA engagements.
New Metropolis Pittsburgh - WQED Screening http://vimeo.com/13276242