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When a Highway Divides a City: Improving Decision Making in Syracuse, New York

Jack Becker (Syracuse University)

June 2014



Acting on the most vexing public problems requires more than just good social science and hard data. Acting on public problems requires creativity and innovation in how we build, maintain, and strengthen relationships while engaged in problem solving. This case study engages that challenge by working through the complex social and technical aspects of what to do about an aging interstate running through the heart of downtown Syracuse, NY. Stakeholders and citizens are polarized about what to do, and misinformation and mistrust is rampant. The case presents the issue in detail, before asking readers to develop a project proposal that will depolarize the situation and improve public and stakeholder engagement.

Second Place Award, Best Teaching Case Competition, 2014

400 Eggers Hall