reUtica is a collaborative work by two Utica-born brothers, Matt and John Dean Ossowski. This short documentary explores sustainability-focused community initiatives in Portland, OR. The viewer is invited to explore these options with the filmmakers and consider how they might translate into viable alternatives for urban development in Utica.
Shot over the course of two months between Portland, OR and Utica, NY, this film features two successful Portland-based programs, Our United Villages and Groundwork Portland. Through in-depth interviews and compelling local footage, the viewer will learn how the reUse of local assets can produce complimentary social and environmental benefits.
Our United Villages operates as a self-sustaining social enterprise that provides affordable, reUsed building materials and community outreach to neighborhoods in the Portland metro area. Groundwork Portland promotes community-led redevelopment of brownfield areas in low-income neighborhoods. Together these social innovations reflect key concepts laid out in the Utica City Master Plan 2010. The film specifically addresses Housing & Neighborhood Development and other themes important to the Utica community, such as environmental sustainability and public safety.
By reUsing existing infrastructure, embracing history and shifting perspectives, reUtica affirms that green initiatives can take root with minimal cost and high return. While new technologies may play an important role in a sustainable future, they will need a receptive and engaged community to be successful. By first leveraging human, social and natural capital, communities can speed the reinvention of the great little American city. As a former rust-belt town, Utica is ideally positioned to maximize these innovative models and move towards a green future.