The Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) recently hosted Susan Cosentini, owner of New Earth Living LLC, a community oriented development company, and Michael Governale, interactive art director at Rochester-based advertising agency Partners and Napier. The event was the first of four Sustainable Community Development (SCD) presentations this semester. The presentations and discussions focused on two regional efforts to re-imagine our built environment, both past and present.
The event was held on Feb. 18 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Cosentini is a carpenter and general contractor of 30 years who is passionate about the environment. She launched New Earth Living in 2009, turning a vacant lot next to her home into a four unit small urban eco-village. New Earth Living has brought together the best practices of sustainability, co-housing, and in-fill development to create a replicable urban real estate development model called The Pocket Neighborhood. It focuses on core issues which must be addressed in the creation of a sustainable future.
Governale volunteers with the Landmark Society of Western N.Y., the Rochester Community Design Center, and writes a column of local architecture for a new Rochester-regional magazine. He designed a map of Rochester’s abandoned subway system, and began digging deeper into Rochester’s past. He now shares “local history and new ideas” on his blog, RochesterSubway.com. He considers transportation alternatives central to civic progress and, in 2010, founded a transit advocacy group called Reconnect Rochester. He also serves on the board of directors at Friends of the GardenAerial, a non-profit organization working to convert pre-existing industrial structures and trails along the Genesee River Gorge at High Falls into a multi-use, public green space.
In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo established the Cleaner, Greener New York Program to empower regions to create more sustainable communities by funding smart development practices. The Finger Lakes Region is partnering with public and private experts across a wide range of fields, along with community residents, to lead the development of a regional sustainability plan and to implement projects that will significantly improve the economic and environmental health of our area. The SCD presentations are among the many ways in which the FLI plans to share information on the topic to the regional community.