WXXI AM News

urban design

How are race, culture, and architecture connected? The question is the focus of an upcoming presentation at the University of Rochester led by Bryan C. Lee, Jr. Lee is a design justice advocate whose work focuses on creating spaces that are equitable and accessible to people of all backgrounds.

He’s in Rochester to speak about the policies and practices he thinks will be most effective in creating those spaces. He joins us to explore his ideas, and we discuss how they can be applied to our community. In studio:

  • Bryan C. Lee, Jr., design justice advocate and the director of the New Orleans-based design-justice nonprofit Colloqate
  • Kathryn Mariner, assistant professor in the University of Rochester’s Anthropology Department and Visual and Cultural Studies program
  • Nana-Yaw Andoh, assistant professor of architecture at RIT, and board member for the Community Design Center Rochester

The suburbs are often left out of conversations about modernizing transportation systems and environmental goals. But as City Lab recently pointed out, more than half of all Americans live in suburbs, and the burbs are here to stay.

So what are the options for making suburbs more suitable to multimodal options and green goals? Our guests debate it. In studio:

"What if everything we did in our cities had to be great for an eight year old and an 80 year old?" That's a question urbanist Gil Penalosa regularly asks. He's the founder and chair of 8 80 Cities, an non-profit organization in Canada with a mission of creating safe and happy cities for all ages.

Penalosa advises city leaders around the word. He's in Rochester as a guest of the Reshaping Rochester series at the Community Design Center Rochester. We talk about what Rochester can learn from communities across the globe. In studio:

Will the plan to move RBTL’s proposed performing arts center to Main Street help revitalize Rochester’s downtown? It’s a question local urbanists are exploring. The new plan for the $250 million project would include a Broadway theater, a smaller theater, a hotel, and restaurant, retail, and residential development at the site currently occupied by the Riverside Hotel, which would be razed. The new project would be tied to the city’s ROC the Riverway initiative.

Has urbanism become too mean? That's exactly what some local urbanists feel, and they're looking for ways to improve their tactics. Mocking someone for driving a car? Lampooning golfers? Is that effective?

Our guests debate what works and what doesn’t:

  • David Riley, urbanist and former newspaper reporter
  • Marlana Zink, Rochester resident with a background in planning
  • Jason Partyka, member of Reconnect Rochester
  • Phil Kehres, urban planner in Vancouver, Canada

As city leaders and community members continue to debate the future of downtown development, some are looking to Rochester’s waterways as an asset in that revitalization. This hour, we discuss urban waterfront development with Mark Johnson, president and leading designer for Civitas. The landscape architecture firm is internationally known for its nature-in-the-city projects — designs that merge waterfronts, green spaces, and city living.

What could Rochester learn from Civitas’ success? Johnson is in Rochester as a guest of Greentopia. We hear from him and discuss Rochester’s potential as an urban waterfront. In studio:

We talk about urban rebirth in upstate cities. Arian Horbovetz is a photographer and writer who has been traveling across the state to highlight the positive aspects of cities that may get a bad rap. He writes about his visits in his blog, The Urban Phoenix.

We talk to Horbovetz about what he learned from his travels to Utica, Troy, Rome, Binghamton, and more.

Sam Schwartz is probably the leading expert on traffic in the country, and he happens to be the guy who coined the term "gridlock."

Schwartz has a new book out that attempts to move the discussion of traffic, cars, and multi-modal approaches into the future. He is in Rochester for a Wednesday night event at The Little Theatre, but first he's our guest on Connections. In studio:

The Community Design Center of Rochester continues its "Reshaping Rochester Series" with a look at "Re-Greening the Living City." But how? They're bringing in Lee Quill to explain. Quill is an architect from Washington, DC who specializes in urban design, master planning, and green space. He was heavily involved in DC's big urban transit-oriented development plan, and is our guest this hour along with Joni Monroe and Roger Brown from tthe center.