Futuristic Cities to engage students, local community in city’s plan

February 07, 2017

Hannah Harvey

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     While we may be excited about the possibility of flying cars someday, new developments to make the City of Champions economically sustainable for young people can be just as inviting.

     The Student Government Association will sponsor Futuristic Cities on Feb. 16, an event that encourages students and young professionals to participate in the city’s PlanCOS campaign.

     The TED talk-style event, which is free to students, will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. in Berger Hall. Six speakers, who were picked based on their expertise, speaking ability and draw for audience attendance, will give six-minute presentations.

     Topics include citizen engagement, solving resource and income inequality and the future of self service technologies.

     PlanCOS is Colorado Springs’s city-wide campaign to encourage residents to provide their input in what they would like to see improved in the city.

     The campaign is a two-year process that seeks citizens’ opinions on what they want the city to look like in 10 years.

     Residents can take a survey asking what they love about Colorado Springs, what they would like to see improved and what they would like the plan to include on the Colorado Springs Government website.

     Younger demographics within Colorado Springs haven’t shown much interest in updates to the plan, according to Samuel Elliott, SGA president. The largest volume of responses received came from those who are 50 or older, said Elliott.

     Elliott was approached by Carl Schueler, comprehensive planning manager, during the fall 2016 semester. Schueler was having trouble with engaging young people to provide their input in the city survey.

     “The mindset of people leaving is common in town. But what I’m finding is the people who are leaving don’t recognize all the great things about Colorado Springs, because they stayed on their college campuses or within a fi ve-mile radius within their campuses,” said Elliott.

     “We’re the 40th largest city in the nation. Students don’t see that; (the event) is really educating students on what we have now.”

     Senator at large Derek Beitle and Connor McCormick, senator of innovation, have also been involved with the event-planning process.

     According to Beitle, the survey got its message across.

     The event is designed to generate hype for the possibility of a new Colorado Springs, said Beitle.

     “Colorado Springs already feels the impact of people staying,” said Beitle.

     Young people will facilitate the event, and SGA hopes that Futuristic Cities will be the beginning of a series of other nights like it.

     “The attention that this event gets will lead to other colleges to have similar events with more specifi c subjects and hyping the generation,” Beitle said.

     Colorado Springs has a lot to offer, according to Elliott. The city is home to the nation’s most-visited mountain, Pikes Peak, according to the City of Colorado Springs, and it homes Garden of the Gods, which is the second best park in the nation and the third best in the world on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Attractions list.

     “There are so many assets other cities can never have and countless opportunities for students to get involved,” said Elliott.

     Local organizations and businesses will set up booth s at the event as well. Colorado Springs Young Professionals will be involved in the event to help raise awareness of the PlanCOS campaign, according to the SGA Facebook page.

     “(CSYP) recognizes this event is an opportunity and is for the betterment of the overall community and UCCS,” said Beitle.

     More information about Futuristic Cities can be found on the event’s Facebook page.