New York - Capital Region

Regional Coordinator: Addyson Lyons

Essay tutorial to be held Saturday at the Albany Heritage Area Visitor Center

Albany, New York– Local 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students with the Future City Competition will have the opportunity to engage in a hands-on tutorial on Saturday, October 22nd from 9 am until noon at the Albany Heritage Area Visitor Center in Albany. This year’s tutorial is an immersive discussion of this year’s Future City topic: The Power of Public Space. The topic comes at a timely moment for the Capital District, as more attention is focused on “zombie properties” and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara’s “Be a Good Neighbor” campaign. Recent publicity has called attention to vacant buildings in communities, which lower the value of surrounding properties, do not provide tax revenue, and burden taxpayers with the cost of upkeep. Students on Saturday will discuss the role that vacant, under-utilized, contaminated, and abandoned spaces have on our communities, and discuss ways to transform these spaces in their cities of the future that they are imagining as a team.

Three speakers specializing in this year’s topic will speak to the students participating in the Future City program. These speakers include:

Peter Signorelli, AIA, LEED AP – Mitchell Associates Architects

Mr. Signorelli is an architect and LEED accredited professional with over 37 years of experience. Working at Mitchell Associates Architects in Voorheesville, he designs and oversees construction of fire stations and emergency services facilities. His experience includes the design of police and correctional facilities, as well as commercial and educational buildings. He is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School of Architecture. On Saturday, Mr. Signorelli will discuss what constitutes a good public space and will provide examples of public spaces and tools for creating good public spaces.

Frank Peduto, PE – Spectra Environmental Group

Mr. Peduto has 47 years of experience as an environmental engineer. Prior to joining Spectra, Mr. Peduto worked for 25 years for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation as the Chief Technology Supervisor of the Oil Spill Program and before that as a member of the Division of Water. He is an expert in petroleum remediation projects, including brownfield remediation program sites. At Spectra, Mr. Peduto is in charge of the Destiny USA brownfield project in Syracuse, NY, which is one of the largest brownfield sites in New York State. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island. On Saturday, Mr. Peduto will discuss brownfield and greyfield sites, what the designation means, and how sites are typically cleaned up in New York State. Mr. Peduto will highlight a prominent brownfield site in the Capital Region.

Judie Gilmore – Breathing Lights

Ms. Gilmore is an independent arts consultant, curator, and writer who works with organizations and individuals on public projects, exhibitions, site-specific installations and project development. Prior to joining the Breathing Lights project, she served as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, where she developed large-scale public art initiatives that focused on neighborhood economic development, behavioral health, workforce development, and prisoner re-entry. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and NYU. On Saturday, she will discuss the Breathing Lights project and the technology behind the lights. The Breathing Lights project currently has installations in downtown Troy, Albany, and Schenectady. These areas have seen the negative influence of abandoned properties, and the Breathing Lights installation aims to draw attention to the positive effect that will occur when these properties are once again given “life” by residents.

The presentations will be followed by a walking tour of downtown Albany’s Jennings Landing and the Corning Preserve, led by Morgan Moldoff of CHA. Items of interest in the downtown area, as they relate to this year’s topic, will be pointed out to the students.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2016-2017, this year’s Future City® Competition asks middle school students to address the Power of Public Space and challenges them to design innovative, multi-use public spaces that serves a city’s diverse population. Working in a team with an educator and engineer mentor, students present their public space solutions and vision of their future city in a virtual city design (using SimCity™ software); a 1,500 word city description; a scale model of their city (built with recycled materials); and in a short presentation to a panel of STEM professionals. Winners represent their regions at the National Finals in Washington, DC in February. The 2016-17 regional competition will be held Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Proctors Theater in Schenectady.

This past January, there were a total of 20 schools and 21 teams, with a total of 300 local students, competing in the regional finals at Proctors Theater in Schenectady in January. The New Lebanon Jr/Sr High School won the 2015-16 Regional Capital District Future City Competition and represented our area at the national competition in Washington D.C. Other local finalists were: Richard H. O’Rourke Middle School (2nd place); Niskayuna School District (3rd place); Farnsworth Middle School (4th place); and Flood Brook School (5th place).

About Future City® Competition

DiscoverE’s annual Future City Competition, for sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, is held from September 2016 through February 2017. Future City is a major program of DiscoverE, a consortium of professional and technical societies and major U.S. corporations, and culminates every year during Engineers Week. This year Capital District Region celebrates participating in the program for 16 years! Visit the Capital District Future City website at:

For more information, contact:

Christine Kingery
Public Relations Chair, Future City Competition
Director of Marketing, Spectra Environmental Group
19 British American Blvd. | Latham, NY 12110
(518) 782-0882 |


Geena Pandolfi
Sayles & Winnikoff Communications
212-725-5200 x112