Thursday, July 23, 2009

Newsletter July 2009

The Rochester Regional Community Design Center rrcdc_logo.gif
July 2009

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Membership dollars support programs and projects at the Design Center that contribute to the spirit of community vision.

RRCDC is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.




Excerpts from Association for Community Design (ACD Conference)
Reshaping Rochester

Project Green

Marketview Heights
Susan B. Anthony
Association for Community Design
Rocket 175
"Landscapes and Monuments" Exhibit

George Eastman House

The National Endowment for the Arts
The New York State Council on the Arts
The Community Foundation
The Greater Rochester Health Foundation City of Rochester Monroe County Planning Board

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 volunteers 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| ACD Annual Conference: "Shrinking Cities, Growing Communities."

On June 4-7th The Association for Community Design held its annual conference in Rochester, New York. The Rochester Regional Community Design Center (RRCDC) was proud to host a diverse and talented group of architects, urban designers, and planners who came together to take part in lecture sessions and guided tours. The conference, "Shrinking Cities, Growing Communities," showcased the work of talented design professionals with different academic backgrounds. The event attracted both national and international guests.

Alan Greenberger, the Executive Director for the Philadelphia City Planning Commission gave the keynote address. Greenberger, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, addressed issues surrounding post-industrial cities. He illustrated methods with which cities in the Northeast and Midwest can move forward from their industrial past and implement redevelopment initiatives. Mr. Greenberger's reputation in the urban planning community is said to be "thoughtful, steady and considerate" by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who appointed him to his current position on August 14th, 2008.

The conference focused on ways in which community design can address improvements to safety, food access, walkable communities, and public access. In light of the recent economic recession, the creative ideas in the practice of community design will be a vital component in renewing hope, reshaping civic engagement, and building stronger communities. Creative urban design and planning are essential to the future of healthy and sustainable communities.

A panel discussion on Community Food Supply and Environmental Justice featured lectures by Matthew Potteiger, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the College of Environmental Design at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY, Diane Picard, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Avenue Project in Buffalo, NY and Elizabeth Miller, the Executive Director of The Community Design Collaborative in Philadelphia. Each speaker addressed the issues around these topics and provided strategies they are using to deal with the relationship between the built environment and public health.

Conference guests were also invited on guided tours of the Marketview Heights and Susan B. Anthony areas given by longtime neighborhood residents who were able to provide valuable insight into their communities' challenges. Both these Rochester districts have experienced housing abandonment and crime, following long periods of economic decline. Many organizations in Rochester, including the RRCDC, are working to improve this degradation that faces so many communities.

Audio from Mr. Greenberger's keynote address and other speakers from the conference are available online at the RRCDC website at

LOOKING FORWARD| Reshaping Rochester 2009-2010

This year the RRCDC will be embarking on its fifth annual Reshaping Rochester Lecture Series. The event brings nationally respected experts, well versed in community revitalization, to the greater Rochester region. The lectures are open to the public, and are eligible for required continuing education credits for architects and design professionals through partnership with the Rochester Chapter of the AIA. This year, the RRCDC will be partnering with WXXI through a Blueprint America Grant, a national community outreach initiative, which allows public television stations across the country to fund community events, have localized programming, and create promotional campaigns. The events will be streamed live and can be downloaded as a podcasts. Geoff Anderson of Smart Growth America will be the first lecturer in the 2009-2010 series.

The RRCDC will also be collaborating with the George Eastman House to host a lecture at the Dryden Theater as part of the "Rochester at 175: Where We Live" exhibit, celebrating Rochester's 175th birthday.

RRCDC Design Gallery| Current and Future Exhibits

The two current exhibits on display are "Food Is Landscape" and "Healthy Happy Cities: Urban Design with Nature." "Food Is Landscape" is an installation that reveals the connection between the food we eat and the landscape we make. It is the work of Landscape Architecture students at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. The installation identifies critical issues in the Central New York food system and offers a series of design proposals aimed at creating sustainable and socially just food systems.

"Healthy Happy Cities: Urban Design with Nature" highlights successful examples of sustainable urbanism including high performance architecture, walkable communities, and transit oriented development in eight communities in the United States and Mexico. The exhibit opened in conjunction with Douglas Farr, Principal of the successful Chicago based architecture & design firm, Farr Associates. His lecture, as part of Reshaping Rochester 2008-2009, directly related to his book, Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature, winner of Winner of the 2008 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence.

This fall, the RRCDC gallery will open an exhibit celebrating the 175th anniversary of the founding of Rochester. The exhibit, "Landscapes and Monuments," will showcase contemporary photos of the city, celebrating and showcasing its unique urban form, its vast public art and its important public landmarks. In addition to seeing this exhibit, the RRCDC encourage all visitors in Rochester to view these subjects in their actual environment. Please visit the RRCDC gallery on the first Friday of every month as part of Rochester's First Friday, a monthly event, which "...encourages collaboration between non-profit, university, and commercial art venues in Rochester, NY." The design gallery is open from 6-9 P.M. Transportation is provided by the City of Rochester. The gallery is also open Monday through Friday 9 to 5 and available by appointment.

For more information please visit

RRCDC ON THE ROAD| Massachusetts Avenue Project

On July 2nd the RRCDC and the Marketview Heights Community Action Group drove to Buffalo to explore the Massachusetts Avenue Project. MAP is "Growing a New Buffalo through Food, Entrepreneurship, and Urban Farms." While in Buffalo, we met with Diane Picard, Executive Director of MAP and coodinator of their Growing Green initiative. Growing Green is a youth enterprise program that encourages community sustainability, peer education, and children's engagement through urban agriculture. MAP employs about 50 children year round in an urban agriculture education program, and works closely with other community groups in order to develop community advocacy for urban agriculture in the city of Buffalo. Similar enterprises are being developed in Rochester, with the Grow Green and Rochester Roots programs.

The Massachusetts Avenue Project also features its own "Buffalo Grown Mobile Market." A newly customized van carrying fresh organic produce makes it way around the city providing healthy foods at a very low cost. The mobile market made its debut visit to Santa Marina Towers, a senior housing complex in the city of Buffalo.

More information about the Massachusetts Avenue Project can be found at

PROJECT GREEN| City of Rochester

Recently the RRCDC worked with the City of Rochester's Department of Planning and of Neighborhood and Business Development to complete "Project Green," a detailed report outlining ways in which Rochester can become a more environmentally sustainable, green city. Recommendations outlined in the report involve creative use of underutilized buildings and sites, strategies for rejuvenating brown-fields, facilitating waterfront development, and greening the city through planting trees and providing more public green space.

"Project Green" helps to identify Rochester's green assets in order to use them in a more effective way. The City hopes to engage multiple municipal departments and community action groups in a collaborative partnership for neighborhood development.

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