UB, Brock partner on cross-border business workshops

Peace Bridge

The aim of the workshop series is to explore and initiate an on-going regional conversation on how to develop “a cross-border approach to economic growth and prosperity.” Photo: Douglas Levere

Published November 7, 2016

“This series of workshops provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to imagine what a binational approach to prosperity would look like for the largest cross-border region along the U.S.-Canada border.”
Kathryn Bryk Friedman, research associate professor of law and policy
School of Architecture and Planning

UB and Brock University will kick off a series of Cross-Border Innovation and Prosperity Workshops next week to advance a collaborative infrastructure for economic innovation across the binational Buffalo Niagara region.

The workshop is the first of three to take place over the upcoming months. Workshop organizers invite key binational stakeholders to explore and initiate an on-going regional conversation on how to develop “a cross-border approach to economic growth and prosperity.”

“This work builds on a decades-long foundation of collaboration across our international border, from tourism planning to the movement of goods and services,” says Robert G. Shibley, dean of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. Shibley played a lead role in several binational planning initiatives as director of UB’s Urban Design Project and guides the UB Regional Institute in its research on regional economic development for Western New York.

“These conversations will build on the economic momentum on both sides of the border to create a new framework for innovation in the health sciences,” he says.

The first workshop, taking place from 4-5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in 403 Hayes Hall, South Campus, will focus on the health/life sciences sector, which is rapidly growing in downtown Buffalo with the expansion of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the new building for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It will serve as an example for participants to begin brainstorming ways in which community input and leadership can work together to build on existing community/regional assets.

UB and Brock will anchor the research and planning initiative with broad participation from the public and private sectors on both sides of the border to design and operationalize a binational planning process and engage in a proof-of-concept in the health/life sciences sector.

“Decision-makers and cross-border interests are keen to strengthen ties and need both objective analysis and a process to guide planning, information-sharing and collaboration,” says Kathryn Bryk Friedman, research associate professor of law and policy in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning.

“This series of workshops provides an opportunity for key stakeholders to imagine what a binational approach to prosperity would look like for the largest cross-border region along the U.S.-Canada border,” adds Friedman, an expert on cross-border policy and a principal investigator on the effort.

Charles Conteh, a co-principal investigator, is director of Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory and an associate professor of political science. “The binational team is conducting relevant economic, legal and planning research that will shed light on economic opportunities presented by virtue of the fact that we live, work and play in a cross-border region,” Conteh says.

“The ambition of this project is to begin to leverage Niagara’s assets as a border community, to extend the hand of partnership across the border,” he adds. “Both sides of the border are in economic transition. Recent reports suggest that cross-border regions are becoming more globally competitive for firms and talent.”

Future workshops will include conversations on the economic benefit of collaborative approaches to binational innovation and prosperity, as well as brainstorming on a sustainable process and approach for continued momentum in this area.