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Designing Rochester

April 13th, 2009

The RRCDC office at the Hungerford Complex, East Main Street. This building features a design gallery and resource library free and open to the public. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being introduced to the Rochester Regional Community Design Center external link. The RRCDC is a group of design professionals, planners, and citizens who donate their time to the purpose of designing Rochester’s public spaces. They offer their design guidance and recommendations to the city through public lectures, design charrettes external link, and an open-to-the-public design gallery/resource library at their studio on East Main Street. For anyone remotely interested in how cities are planned or issues surrounding urban renewal as they apply to the city of Rochester, the RRCDC is a must-see.

Hard at work at the January 2007 Downtown Design CharretteIn January 2007, the RRCDC coordinated and facilitated a three-day design charrette for Center City Rochester. Held at Midtown Plaza, 138 local design professionals, along with community leaders and citizens shared their ideas in an unprecedented volunteer-based think-tank. The purpose was: 1) to generate ideas for the development of strategic sites in 5 geographic focus areas in the downtown, 2) to identify guiding principles as a design approach to revitalization of the built environment in the downtown, 3) to create a Center City Vision Plan to help guide future projects in the downtown, 4) to create an environment for economic rejuvenation and sustainable development in the downtown.

The Rochester Center City Master Plan. This map highlights areas throughout downtown Rochester which were the focus of RRCDC's 2007 Downtown Charrette ReportDuring the course of the year following, five design teams and approximately 55 design professionals, worked to refine plans and design schemes for sites in their focus areas. The RRCDC team worked on the overall issues related to items like circulation, connectivity, public realm improvements and green space and assembled a brilliant, comprehensive document entitled, “Rochester, NY, A Vision for the Future” external link. The report and the drawings it contains will no doubt serve as a basis for the City’s strategic plan moving foward.

If a design charrette sounds a little too intense for you, the RRCDC also offers an exciting schedule of lectures, exhibits, and discussions centering on how Rochester can revitalize itself through urban design.

Upcoming Lectures:

The New Green Cities:
A Model for Municipal Stewardship

Mayor George Heartwell & Suzanne Schulz, AICP
Mayor & Director of Planning, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Thursday, April 16, 7:00–9:00 pm
At Salem United Church of Christ, 60 Bittner St. (map it external link)

Visit www.rrcdc.org external link for ticket info.

Neighborhood Revitalization &
the Importance of Transit-Oriented Development

Jacky Grimshaw
Vice President, Policy, Transportation, and Community Development Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, May 13, 7:00–9:00 pm
At Coptic Monastery of St. Shenouda (formerly Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church), 270 W. Main St. (map it external link)

Visit www.rrcdc.org external link for ticket info.

Current Exhibit:

Healthy and Happy Cities: Urban Design with Nature

Exhibit on view now through June 12, 2009
At The Design Gallery @ RRCDC (map it external link)

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 13th, 2009 at 9:53 pm and is filed under Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Designing Rochester”

  1. Carlos Mercado says:

    RRCDC is one of our “hidden treasurers” that provides creative thinking.

  2. admin says:

    The RRDC was mentioned in a great article in this week’s issue of City Newspaper. As part of the feature article entitled Rochester at 175, Joanne Arany discusses the preservation of our cities architectural gems as we move into the future.

  3. Bob Williams says:

    Hey Mike,

    Great post. Through the summer last year I started looking at chapters in the Charrette Report as a series of blog entries. I just got back to that this past week with my River South – East Bank proposal review.

    P.S. Good to see another traditional urbanist blog in Rochester. Not sure if we’ve talked before, but I’ll be E-mailing you and Roger a neat gas station design concept (if there is such a thing).


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