Rearranging Deck Chairs

Downtown Rochester in 2005. Have a parking space. Like most American cities, our city has been very badly damaged by the car. Not only do we have a wickedly unhelpful transit system, but we have the Inner Loop, half of downtown is used for parking lots, we have expressways all over the place throughout the region, … Continue reading Rearranging Deck Chairs

The Price

Rochester from the air, 1930. Dense, textured, crackling with life. Cities are living things, changing with each passing day. Each old city passes away, constantly replaced by the next city, in layer after layer. Each of these cities tells us who we were and what we cared about. Each layer foreshadows what will come next. This is … Continue reading The Price

Rochester: What Happened?

A reader here has just asked me a good question about Rochester urbanism and the character and order of this region: what happened? He noted that Rochester was once a dense, compact city, surrounded by neighborhoods of tree-lined streets and lovely homes, in a region rich with all kinds of natural resources - lake, river, countryside. … Continue reading Rochester: What Happened?

Sowing the Seeds of Sprawl

In response to my recent post about 20th century urbanism here in Rochester, fellow Rochester urbanist Tim Raymond suggested that I find a report from the 20s authored by planner Harland Bartholomew. With the help of the Rochester Regional Community Design Center (RRCDC), I found it, and have it in hand. Entitled "A Major Street Plan … Continue reading Sowing the Seeds of Sprawl

The Arc of Urban Change: Rochester in the 20th Century

It's impossible to begin to imagine a next Rochester, or any next city, without understanding its history. In particular, it is imperative to understand how this city got as screwed up as it is during the course of the 20th century. And I do mean screwed up. Oh, Rochester wasn't alone - the arc of change … Continue reading The Arc of Urban Change: Rochester in the 20th Century