The Mercyhurst University History Department is proud to announce that Erie Places, Erie Stories – a student-produced photographic and oral history exhibition showcasing Erie’s historic structures – is moving to Erie City Hall, opening with a reception free and open to the public on Wednesday, January 15 from 5:30 – 6:45 pm, preceding a regularly scheduled Erie City Council meeting. Funded by a grant from Arts Erie, Erie Places, Erie Stories will be located in the first floor foyer of Erie City Hall and will be accessible to the public during regular business hours of 8:30-4:30 through Friday, February 7.
Completed by Mercyhurst public history students as a semester-long hands-on learning initiative, the exhibit “makes a compelling case for more fully appreciating and protecting the historic built landscape of a great city,” said Dr. Chris Magoc, Chair of the Mercyhurst History Department. The exhibition of more than 30 photographs premiered in December at Stairways Bloom Collaborative and now features an interactive element whereby visitors will be invited to write down their own special “Erie Place That Matters,” adding to a list compiled by Preservation Erie, one of the community partners in the project. The exhibit will also allow visitors to purchase the photographs, with proceeds going to an organization in the neighborhood where the images were taken or to Preservation Erie. For more information on the exhibit, contact Chris Magoc, Ph.D., at 824-2075.
The Erie Center for Design and Preservation (ECDP), a nonprofit organization focused on the preservation and adaptive reuse of greater Erie’s built environment, has launched an exciting new project called, “Name This Place That Matters” on its Facebook page which is aimed at elevating local awareness and appreciation for the unique and rich character of buildings and structures throughout the city.
Launched on September 11, and continuing every Tuesday for the next year, one close-up detailed photograph of one of the many important buildings that contribute to the life, beauty and history of this city will be posted on the ECDP Facebook page. Visitors to the page are invited to identify and name the building or site. On Thursday of the same week, a longer-range view of the building, along with its identity and a brief history, will be posted.
Two local photographers, Ron McCarty and Tanya Mattson, have taken photographs of more than 50 “Places That Matter,” which will be used over the first year of the project. ECDP plans to engage the public through its Facebook page, Web site and public programs with the hope of building the list and then using it to help shape policies that can lead to greater preservation and adaptive reuse of the city’s built environment. The “Places That Matter” project will also occasionally post images of buildings or structures that have been demolished, with the intent of heightening appreciation for those lost gems of the city’s past which potentially could have been saved with more effective local policies and greater foresight.
The ECDP “Name This Place That Matters Campaign” can be found at the organization’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ErieCenterforDesignandPreservation
A 2007 Gallup study examined a number of questions directly related to the built environment, including the convenience of public transportation, the ease of access to shops, the presence of parks and sports facilities, the ease of access to cultural and entertainment facilities and the presence of libraries. All were found to correlate significantly with happiness, with convenient public transportation and easy access to cultural and leisure facilities showing the strongest correlation. The statistical analysis also included questions related to urban environmental quality apart from cities’ built form, and produced additional significant correlations. The more respondents felt their city was beautiful (aesthetics), felt it was clean (aesthetics and safety), and felt safe walking at night (safety), the more likely they were to report being happy. Similarly, the more they felt that publicly provided water was safe, and their city was a good place to rear and care for children, the more likely they were to be happy.
To read more, visit Why the Places We Live Make Us Happy