I have a vision of Syracuse, a ‘Greener’ downtown Syracuse. Green in more ways than one. My firm, Open Atelier Architects, a firm that focuses on energy efficient building technologies and sustainable building practices has engaged in a visionary project based on urban planning ideas that support healthy urban density and vibrant dynamic social, cultural and economic structure. The vision encompasses a blend of pedestrian friendly accessible green zones, economically vibrant centers and culturally rich arts objectives melded into a multi layered complex urban structure. Studies such as the 2006 Syracuse New York Communities report conducted by the AIA Central New York Chapter and the Sustainable Design Assessment Team from Washington DC, and initiatives such as the Connective Corridor and the Near West Side presently address similar objectives. The Connective Corridor has potential that stretches in a linear path between Armory Square and the University Campus. As an extension, or complement, to this vision, the potential to develop ‘hubs’ at key points along this path can become the dynamic factors that will generate the viable potential sought after by the program. The momentum to rejuvenate downtown Syracuse as a Green Corridor has great potential.
Greening Cities: Not a New Concept
Urban planners engaged in revitalization of dense urban centers are quickly recognizing the benefits for adequate green zones and energy efficient building designs. Green is now common place, doing business contrary to Green practices is viewed so incorrect that the survival of a business in some sectors can be at stake without it. The idea of Greening a city however is not a new concept. In 18th century Bath England, visionary John Wood the Younger built the now famous Royal Crescent in 1769, an example of town planning that literally embraced the vast natural landscape as part of the plan by “the blending together of residences with their natural surroundings” . Green incorporated into the town plan attracted aristocracy, affluence and wealth to the natural and healthy lifestyle offered by taking in ‘baths’ in the warm springs while engrossing in a natural setting. Proposing green urban zones in city centers only serves to reinforce our natural instinct towards the melding of urban density and the natural world.