Aurelius Coworks Announces ‘The Future of Small Cities’ Initiative: A Season of Discussions, Masterclasses & New Podcast Hosted at Troy Innovation Garage

Tom Nardacci
5 min readSep 15, 2019
Downtown Troy, New York is in the midst of an impressive turnaround over the past decade

2019–2020 Season Titled Garage Talks Will Bring Nationally-Recognized Experts to the Capital Region to Explore Urban Waterfronts, Climate Change, Design, Public Art, Gentrification and Community

Companion ‘Future of Small Cities’ Podcast to be Produced by Aurelius Coworks Owner Tom Nardacci

Troy’s Victorian-era architecture is nestled against the Upper Hudson River

Troy, New York — Aurelius Coworks today announced Troy Innovation Garage will host a dynamic series of keynote lectures and masterclasses exploring issues of cities, design and climate change featuring nationally-recognized experts that will address “The Future of Small Cities” at a depth and diversity unique to the Capital Region.

For the 2019–2020 season, titled Garage Talks, the ambitious programming will focus on myriad issues, from waterfront redevelopment and use, to public transportation, to the role of public art in communities. Each installment of the multi-month series will feature not only a presentation from a visiting expert, but also include a panel of local leaders and thinkers from the Capital Region that will respond to the visiting speaker’s case study and engage the audience.

Garage Talks will take place between September 2019 and April 2020 at Troy Innovation Garage, the company’s first coworking community opened in 2017. The season of events is underwritten by Aurelius Coworks and the company’s owner Tom Nardacci, with additional support from Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), National Grid, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, and Cresa Albany, to name a few early supporters.

The season is being hosted by Reif Larsen, the 2019–2020 Writer-in-Residence at Troy Innovation Garage. He is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, and has written for the New York Times, GQ and other publications about urbanism and cities.

Author and journalist Reif Larsen hosted a preview to the series in December 2018 when he presented “Field Notes from Detroit” about his reporting on the renaissance of things happening and current challenges in the Motor City

“Troy and the Capital Region is in the midst of a series exciting changes and now is the time to define what kind of direction we want our cities to evolve in, particularly when it comes to confronting climate change,” said Larsen. “One of the great things about living in a small city is that there is room to affect this kind of change. There is room to try things out, freedom to take risks and dream big. The future of the country will be in the health of its small cities.”

Larsen says the goal of Garage Talks is to break down silos of provincial thinking, to embrace the idiosyncrasies of the region, and to draw out connections, lessons and best practices from across the world.

The Future of Small Cities

Garage Talks will also include an accompanying series of masterclasses for a small group of regional thinkers and doers to deepen the conversation and lead to policy suggestions and regional goals. Moving the region forward in a meaningful and achievable way is as important priority for the series, as is sparking thoughtful dialogue. For eligibility information for masterclasses, visit

“I believe deeply that the success of our nation is directly tied to the success of Main Street in small cities whose fortunes are once again on the rise,” said Nardacci. “A variety of global issues — not just national ones — pose a juxtaposition of threats and opportunities for small cities. This conversation is long overdue and worth having in a way that shares knowledge and resources with the hundreds of cities looking to make the moves that will ensure their long-term sustainability.”

Nardacci hopes “The Future of Small Cities” initiative will bring new perspective, insights and energy into the discussion. He looks forward to not only bringing such an accomplished group of problem solvers to the Capital Region for the first time, but to do so in a way that closely involves those who are already working to make positive change.

All Garage Talks discussions will be open to the public. Speakers, topics and dates are as follows:

High Water Marks: Redeveloping the Urban Waterfront (September 19, 2019) Ray Gastil, Director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Melon University Pittsburgh, PA

A City for All: Redefining Gentrification (November 7, 2019) Sabiyha Prince, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Coppin State University, Artist, Activist Washington, D.C.

The Greenest City: Climate Change as Opportunity (January 21, 2020) Oscar Edmundo Díaz, Special Advisor to Mayor, Bogotá, Colombia, expert in bus rapid transit systems Bogotá, Colombia

A Living Capital: Cultivating Community in Downtown Albany (March 12, 2020) Dan Douglas, Director of Urban Design, Benchmark Planning Raleigh, NC *Discussion to be held at Bull Moose Club in Albany

The Artist is the City: Public Art and Urban Identity (April 20, 2020) Jared Hueter, Passageways Co-curator Chattanooga, TN; Molly Hunker and Greg Corso, Designers, Cofounders of Sports Collaborative, Syracuse, NY

For more information on “The Future of Small Cities” and the Garage Talks season, visit


About Aurelius Coworks

Aurelius Coworks is a socially responsible company that develops, owns, and operates coworking communities and startup ecosystems in middle markets and downtowns undergoing revitalization. Aurelius Coworks connects its members to the surrounding ecosystem and contributes to the regional economy where its properties are located. The company’s spaces are meticulously built, the communities carefully cultivated, and a focus is placed on infusing the right mix of business and social programming in each community. Current properties include Troy Innovation Garage in Troy, NY, and Bull Moose Club in Albany, NY.



Tom Nardacci

Creative firm entrepreneur I Coworking community developer I Believer in small cities & middle markets