Rochester and the Mid-Sized American City in the 21st Century: A Conference and Conversation

Rochester, NY, often has been at the center of conversations about the distinctive character of mid-sized cities in the United States. In 2002, Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr. convened the “Rochester Conversation on Mid-Sized Cities” to bring together “mayors, academics, urban policy experts, writers and others” for an examination of the challenges facing urban centers that occupy the poorly understood middle ground between towns and metropolises. Such “Rochester conversations” have an even deeper history: In 1939, Rochester City Historian Blake McKelvey launched the Rochester History journal in partnership with the Rochester Public Library. Neither boosterish nor antiquarian, Rochester History offered a new model of urban history that allowed Rochesterians to reflect on their city’s present and future by more rigorously examining its past.

This 2023 conference reopens the “Rochester Conversation” on mid-sized cities that Johnson inaugurated two decades ago and marks a re-envisioning of Rochester History in partnership with the RIT Press. In both cases, we hope to use this moment to inspire new conversations about the meaning of America’s mid-sized cities now and in the future.

The conference will take place in the Kate Gleason Auditorium of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County in downtown Rochester, New York on April 21, 2023. The program includes several panels, a walking tour, a plenary discussion, and a conversation between the Hon. William A. Johnson Jr., former City of Rochester mayor, and the Hon. Malik Evans, current mayor, moderated by Erica Bryant, Associate Director of Writing at the Vera Institute for Justice and former Democrat and Chronicle columnist.

Tamar Carroll
Event Snapshot
When and Where
April 21, 2023
9:30 am - 6:45 pm
Room/Location: Rochester Public Library

Open to the Public

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