Architects and designers often publish work with a smattering of some mention of products or methods that nod towards sustainability; products that are either considered healthier for humans or that minimize the use of fossil fuels.. What does that mean and how far does an architect or designer need to go in order to claim progress in slowing down or reversing the adverse affects perpetrated on our planet since the advent of the Industrial Revolution? Some consider our attempts too ineffective. In William McDonough’s book ” Cradle to Cradle“, ‘doing less bad is not good enough’ permeates his desire to eradicate ineffective green solutions. Here is a perspective that we just don’t go far enough.
New York City’s High Line
Can Syracuse benefit from an I-81 Transformation?
All the controversy surrounding the future of the I-81 corridor as it passes through the city of Syracuse seems to be divisive between those who believe the highway is a necessity of travel through the state and the success of their suburban businesses, and on the other hand, city business and urban community that saw first hand that by dividing the city into quadrants, the overhead highway made an urban eyesore that only divided the city, but more than likely was at the very least a contributing factor to the economic stagnation of the past 30 years.
The ‘real’ options are simple, tear it down in favor of a knitted city grid and new developemnt, rebuild it larger, or dig under. The last two ultimately condemn several developable acres and require many buildings be torn down. Does that sound like responsible urban and regional growth? Studies have shown that thriving cities support their subburbs, so why condemn the city to further stagnation?
Urban and regional planners have weighed in along with the DOT. The limited size of the city and the small regional population would do well to take it down and knit the city back together. DOT also needs to consider the potential to develop the land around it with new buildings that would create a new vibrant neighborhood with commerce, living and entertainment features. Fact is, that most thriving cities around the world route traffic around their city’s core and thrive for this very reason. Is Syracuse any different?
Here’s another idea, would a version of New York City’s High Line make sense for Syracuse? Can urban growth and pleasant parkland mix like they do in Seattle’s Freeway Park? If I-81 comes down Syracuse has the potential of 20 acres of downtown developable land, could the highway become a mix of development and urban park instead and become a factor to knit the city back together while also allowing for several acres of new neighborhood?
Resilient Corners Progress
Resilient Corners, a sustainable community project.
Open Atelier Architects in partnership with Home Headquarters is close to finalizing permits for an 8 unit housing and community center project in the Near West Side. Unique to this project is the unprecedented technology being implemented for an affordable housing project all supported by NYSERDA grants, and all for an affordable housing project. With a neighborhood distributed geothermal system, above average energy efficient wall and roof technology and a host of other energy savings features, this project will save homeowners money on energy bills and will nod towards sustainable design.
Stay tuned for more news as Resilient Corners progresses.