HB2009 Host City: Syracuse, NY, USA
History of Syracuse
The World's Oldest Democracy
Syracuse is the metropolitan hub at the center of Upstate New York, a region that has a rich history of innovations relating to sustainability and healthy buildings. In 1142, five previously warring nations of indigenous peoples founded the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy on the shore of Onondaga Lake. The Haudenosaunee constitution includes one of the earliest expressions of sustainability thinking: “In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation.” Today, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy includes six nations and is the world’s oldest democracy.
Early Industry and an Immigrant Workforce
In the late 1700s, present-day Syracuse attracted immigrants who were drawn by natural springs of salt water. Salt production from brine became the region’s first commercial industry. This history is displayed today in The Salt Museum at Onondaga Lake Park.
Central Upstate New York was transformed by the construction of the Erie Canal, which was completed in 1825. This 363-mile-long engineering marvel from Albany to Buffalo connected the Great Lakes to the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean, opening the U.S. Heartland to trade with Europe. Syracuse became a major port on the canal, which ran across the city along the present-day Erie Boulevard. Images and artifacts of the city’s early history are on display in the Erie Canal Museum housed in the 1850 Weighlock Building, the world’s last remaining canal tollbooth of that era.
Impressive Contributions to the Industrial Revolution
Cities along the Erie Canal were hotspots for innovations during the Industrial Revolution. In the early 1900s, Syracuse was known internationally for manufacturing of gears, automobiles, and typewriters. In 1902, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer named Willis Carrier invented air conditioning in Buffalo. In 1937, Carrier’s company was recruited from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to fill an abandoned factory in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood that previously had made automobiles.
Leading Educational Institutions
Another signature strength of the Syracuse area is education. Syracuse University was founded in 1870. In 1911, New York established a state College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. These institutions helped to fuel the development of a strong regional cluster of firms with expertise in civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering.
Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems
Today, the Syracuse area is building on its historical strengths, its people, its industries, and its local natural resources. In 1998, firms and institutions in the region launched a major initiative focused on collaborations to create innovations that improve indoor environmental quality. In 2002, the initiative--expanded to include clean and renewable energy and water resources--was designated a state-wide “Center of Excellence.”
The new headquarters for the SyracuseCoE is located on the site where the LC Smith & Bros. (later Smith-Corona) Company manufactured typewriters aside the Erie Canal beginning in 1902. The facility is designed to serve as testbed for new technologies for healthy buildings. It includes the Carrier Total Indoor Environmental Quality (TIEQ) Laboratory, a next-generation facility for studies of human responses to multiple IEQ factors. Together with many partner organizations and institutions across Central Upstate, SyracuseCoE is creating jobs and wealth in our region for generations to come.
New York's Creative Core
A History of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Syracuse has always been a center of innovation. Along with the opening in 1825 of the Erie Canal, just some of the technology highlights of the city include the establishment of Syracuse University in 1870; the creation in 1911 of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University (now the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry); the relocation of air conditioning firm Carrier Corp. in 1937 from Newark, NJ; and the establishment of "Electronics Park" in Syracuse by General Electric in 1947.
Today, Syracuse is a central location for New York's Creative Core, a regional economic development initiative based on the confluence of creative, technology, and real property assets in the Central Upstate New Region. Engaged organizations include government agencies; regional economic development organizations; regional and national businesses; academic institutions; and community groups
Clean and Green Technology
The Creative Core "GreenTeam" leverages the technological expertise found at the region's world-class universities (such as Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, Cornell University, and Clarkson University) and innovative businesses and adds a “clean and green” technology driver. One of the GreenTeam's purposes is to attract and nurture firms and organizations working on clean and renewable energy, air quality, and water resources products and services.
At the “core” of the Creative Core is development of a cultural and technology region where an international community of businesses, designers, technologists will join cultural leaders, artists, and arts organizations to catalyze clean and green economic development throughout the Central Upstate New York Region.
Location of Syracuse, NY
Set Greater Syracuse is a nexus for the movement of goods and people along the north-south and east-west axes of many transportation routes in the Northeast.
The City of Syracuse is the region's major metropolitan center. It has been appropriately called the Crossroads of New York State: the State's two major interstate routes—the east-west New York State Thruway (I-90) and north-south I-81—intersect here.
Scenic Beauty with Lakes Carved by Glaciers
The Greater Syracuse area is a region of rolling hills, flat plains, lakes and streams. The City of Syracuse is located on a rise at the southern end of Onondaga Lake. The gently rolling terrain stretches north of the city for 30 miles, where it meets Lake Ontario. The Finger Lakes begin 20 miles to the southwest and Oneida Lake is eight miles northeast.
City altitude ranges from 364 to 681 feet, while approximately five miles south of Syracuse, the hills mount to about 1,500 feet. Immediately to the west, the terrain is rolling and elevated 500 to 800 feet above mean sea level.
Natural resources in the area include hardwoods used in furniture making and abundant water of high quality used by local corporations such as Anheuser-Busch and Bristol-Myers Company.
Population & Transportation
US and Canadian Businesses within 750 Miles (1207 km)
Approximately 136 million people live within a 750-mile radius of Syracuse. This radius includes the populations of Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Montreal. Within a 750-mile (1207 km) radius of the Greater Syracuse area, companies have access to more than 50% of all US business establishments, US and Canadian manufacturing facilities, and US wholesale sales.
Air, Rail, Interstate
More than 150 motor carriers and small package carriers service the Syracuse area. Air and rail terminals are just 15 minutes from downtown. Seven major airlines, along with affiliated commuter service, offer approximately 250 daily arrivals and departures.
The region is also serviced by six major air cargo carriers. In addition, rail carrier CSX operates an intermodal center in Dewitt/Manlius and Amtrak services rail passengers.
The deep water port of Oswego and the New York State Barge Canal System provide access to the Great Lakes and overseas.