[insert-author-info] Last week at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford Campus, members of the Construction Institute of Fairfield County and Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS-NY) gathered to hear the mayors of New Haven, White Plains, Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Rochelle and Stamford discuss the revitalization of the regions’ urban landscape. Riding the wave of renewed interest in our local urban centers the mayors provided their perspective on current economic, political and social trends that are shaping their cities.

[expand title=”Click here to read more…”] “It’s about the quality of life!”, stated Bill Finch, Mayor of Bridgeport. Our cities are undergoing an influx of millennials, baby boomers and empty nesters and they require transportation, amenities and activities to keep them productive and engaged while maintaining an optimum level of affordability and market rate housing. New Haven’s Toni Harp says that millennials don’t want to live in the places where they grew up. And Norwalk’s Mayor Rilling is rebranding his city to attract millennials and empty nesters. Stamford’s population continues to increase. Mayor Martin indicated that apartments are being constructed in both the South End and Downtown areas which are now connected by trolley. Noam Bramson, over the NY border in New Rochelle, spoke of the rebalancing of urbanization between cities and suburbs and that the successful communities are not just a project but are integrated in its surroundings. It’s a balanced composition of growth. All of the mayors agree that densification is a solution to attracting businesses, addressing climate change, creating community and getting that balance right is a shared goal. When Joseph McGee, the moderator and vice president of public policy and programs for the Business Council of Fairfield County, then asked the mayors to respond to transportation challenges within the region? They all acknowledged that transportation is a key issue in each of their cities with more people looking for areas close to train stations. Mayor Harp indicated that her constituents want to walk to work, school and entertainment. They did not all concur on where and how best to invest money in the region’s transportation systems. Thomas Roach of White Plains suggests there should be better connectivity between our cities instead of one directional to Manhattan, suggesting participation in developing a BRT system. Mayor Martin argued that widening I-95 is just as important as investing in rail–that one is not successful without the other. All of the mayors did agree that the NY Metro area rail system is in dire need of improvements to meet the projected growth of the entire region and to improve commute times to and from their cities. Click here to view photos from the event. [/expand]