Thursday, November 12, 2009

Newsletter November 2009

The Rochester Regional Community Design Center
Newsletter November 2009


Click HERE to make a donation.
Your contributions support programs and projects at the Design Center that enrich the spirit of community vision.

RRCDC is a 501c3 non-profit organization, making all donations tax deductible.






National Endowment For The Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
The Community Foundation
Greater Rochester Health Foundation
City of Rochester
Monroe County Planning Board
The Lovenheim Trust
Louis S. & Molly B. Wolk Foundation
George Eastman House



The RRCDC is Rochester’s only citizen-driven, professionally directed non-profit organization committed to revitalizing our region by advocating design excellence for our built environment.

We have numerous opportunities for volunteer work, ranging from helping out at our lecture series or conferences to assisting with projects at the office. Feel free to call or stop in with questions.




NEWS NOW| Reshaping Rochester Lecture Series 2009-2010

On October 21st the RRCDC began hosting the 5th annual Reshaping Rochester Lecture Series, which features six accomplished speakers of diverse backgrounds who will address sustainability issues and the future well being of our built environment.

Our first lecturer, Geoff Anderson, CEO of Smart Growth America, is an energetic P1040655.JPGproponent of thoughtful strategies that lead to positive economic development and beneficial social outcomes. In November, Dr. Emily Talen will discuss the importance and power of diversity within a community. She will emphasize how cultural and social differences make for an enriched living environment.
Christopher Leinberger then takes the stage in February to introduce the “New American Dream,” in which he seeks to dismantle America’s ‘white-picket-fence’ mentality by showing how Americans’ aspirations for their built environment change with economic and demographic conditions. Building on this new dream, Ellen Dunham-Jones will speak in March about transforming suburbs into walkable communities to better serve future needs and improve quality of life for all.
Problems of urban sprawl and its effects on health will be addressed by Dr. Lawrence Frank, a native Rochestarian.  Dr. Frank will reveal how poor use of land negatively affects behavior, travel patterns, and health. In the final lecture, the former Mayor of Meridian, John Robert Smith, will offer transportation alternatives and explore how these choices can be a driving force in promoting development, economics, and a healthier living environment.
These speakers will offer great lessons on real issues of sustainability that are applicable to our community. The Reshaping Rochester Lectures reach out to the Rochester area, strengthening the connection between the community and its planners.

PURCHASE LECTURE TICKETS and full-series packages for Reshaping Rochester Lecture Series.
VIEW IMAGES of Reshaping Rochester lecture by Geoff Anderson.
LISTEN ONLINE to select lectures online.

REACHING OUT| Including the Community

The lecture series has given us a new way to reach out to the general community, as well as include college campuses and local student groups.  RRCDC has worked with U of R, MCC, RIT, Nazareth, University of Buffalo, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry School, and St. John Fisher College to promote the Reshaping Rochester Lectures, and continually expand RRCDC internships. Student groups from these campuses will be participating in the Reshaping Rochester lectures and other RRCDC projects, bringing a fresh, youthful passion to the challenging issues of sustainability and community development. Our interns from these schools work directly on community development projects. This experiential learning opportunity engages student interns in a variety of critical tasks such as writing publications, research, mapping for vision plans and guidelines, gallery preparation, and media design.
During the summer, the RRCDC reached out to a program from the U of R called Rochester Urban Fellowship. We hosted an ‘urban fellow’ as an intern for the summer for her education and increased experience in cultural, societal, and community based issues.  This collaboration brought Dr. Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester, to the Design Center to speak to all the Urban Fellows. The RRCDC also works with interns, during the school year, from the University of Rochester to help sculpt the vision of sustainable communities. We are happy to welcome four interns for this academic year. Pathstones Youth InvolvementUncovering Assets in Marketview Heights, sponsored by PathStone Corporation, nine young people from Rochester created asset maps for their community and presented their work at the RRCDC to community members, political officials, and planning and design professionals. This PathStone Project-Based Work Experience Program engaged these young participants in evaluating their community’s resources and finding ways to most efficiently utilize the local assets they identified. The RRCDC is happy to see young people actively involved in advancing the built environment, enthusiastic about engaging with the community, and successful at accomplishing these goals.

VIEW IMAGES of Uncovering Assets in Marketview Heights.
VIEW IMAGES of Dr. Seligman's visit with the Urban Fellows at the RRCDC.

HEALTHY & HAPPY CITIES| Exhibition Travels to the West Coast

Earlier in the year the RRCDC collaborated with Douglas Farr to create “Healthy and Happy Cities,” an exhibit focusing on the importance of a sustainable lifestyle. Based on Farr’s book, Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature, this presentation visualizes and describes the implementation of Doug Farr's Sustainable Urbanismsmart growth, green buildings, and healthier environments.
Recently on display in Seattle’s American Institute of Architecture, this successful exhibit will travel throughout the year to other design centers around the country. The display is fashioned to educate the public in sustainable development and community well-being using means of architecture and design. RRCDC looks forward to creating more of these travelling exhibits including a display based on Retrofitting Suburbia by Ellen Dunham-Jones.

For more information on the Healthy and Happy Cities exhibition please visit our DESIGN GALLERY.
VIEW IMAGES from Healthy & Happy Cities.

PROJECTS| Design Guidelines

Most recently, the RRCDC is creating a set of design guidelines and overlay district zoning requirements for the Main Street commercial district for the village of Macedon. This project follows design guidelines we created for the Hamlet of Williamson and Rochester’s Upper Monroe neighborhood. We strive to promote further use of these design guidelines in the Rochester region.

These practical, efficient guidelines will help communities formulate vision plans that return the built environment to its historic roots. The community, therefore, will be aesthetically pleasing and sustainable. In this project, we also plan to apply ideas from Ellen Dunham-Jones’s book, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Guide for Redesigning Suburbs. The goal is to rediscover the ‘urban’ in ‘suburbia’ the suburban sprawl developed over this past century into a mixed-use, urban environment for everyone to enjoy.


A special THANK YOU to those organizations and people that donated time and money to support our work; we couldn’t have done it without you!

These events that you have read about in this newsletter and on our website have all sprouted from the generosity of our supporters. If you wish to support the projects, work, and mission of the RRCDC, your gift will be greatly appreciated. On behalf of your Rochester region’s community we encourage you to contribute.

Thank you again to all the givers that have made the RRCDC step ever closer to our goals.

Donations can now be made online now, click here to contribute.

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