Dream .. For a moment
“Humanity needs dreams to be able to survive the miseries of daily existence” … “even if only for an instant”. – Nicolai Ouroussoff.
To paraphrase a quote by Nicolai Ouroussoff in the New York Times, One can relate this line of thinking to our own experience in Syracuse as we establish new paradigms for our urban condition. Across the country urban centers are being reborn and reimagined after years of urban flight. While China builds new cities from scratch on a regular basis, America is re-energizing new life into older cities that had fallen to disrepair over the years. From Albany to Buffalo and all along the rust belt corridor, new initiatives are presently under way to re-establish vitality and trade in once thriving centers.
New Urbanists and urban design trends suggest that we shed dependence on automobiles, consider the values in architecture that bring coherency to our cities, and envision how a walkable and multi modal infrastructure within our urban centers can enrich our daily experience. Jane Jacobs famously noted that for a city to thrive with vitality there needs to be a balance of density and activity that entices people, establishes boundaries for commerce and other activities and enhances the urban quality of life.
Think no further than projects in Syracuse that have changed the experience of being in a place. Simple gestures such as the Creek Walk which starts just behind Destiny at the foot of the lake and winds its way to the heart of Armory Square exemplify design initiatives that begin to change the face and character of a city. The Connective Corridor is yet another prominent example of how a gestural infrastructure can begin to revive multiple nodes throughout the city.
Our city is now faced with a new/old paradigm, that of the urban infrastructure condition. Developers and architects that built out suburban sprawl over the past fifty years now must find a new challenge – reimagining the condition of the inner city. As we go down this path, let us be imaginative and creative in redeveloping and redesigning our urban environment. With grand gestures towards human integrity, amenities and characteristics suited to a pleasant urban experience, let us all dream, even for a moment.