Despite a lot of hype leading into the summer, we haven't seen many streets closed down to car traffic during the pandemic. Many businesses have been allowed to expand their outdoor seating, but there hasn't been a transformation of outdoor spaces like some advocates wanted. Was it a missed opportunity? Or was that unrealistic all along?

We discuss it with our guests:

Will the pandemic convince more Americans to live in the countryside, away from denser cities where the virus has spread more quickly? In the past week there has been a lot of discussion about COVID-19 and population density. New research finds that the disease is spreading through rural areas with significant speed, but of course the biggest caseloads are in cities like New York. So will this change the movement toward cities?

Our guests weigh in:

  • David Riley, planner and senior research associate for the Center for Governmental Research
  • Dr. Andy Aligne, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong
  • Howard Decker, architect and board member for the Community Design Center of Rochester

The Community Design Center's (CDC) Reshaping Rochester series continues with a conversation about multi-modal transportation in urban areas.

Shin-pei Tsay is the director of policy, cities, and transportation at Uber. Previously, she was a commissioner of public design in New York City. She'll be in Rochester next week for the CDC's series, but first, she joins us on Connections to discuss how we can reasonably assess public demand for different forms of transportation in cities, what kind of buy-in is necessary to achieve significant change, and how transportation can be a key component in creating a sustainable urban future.

Our guests:

How can so-called rust belt cities take advantage of the digital economy to revitalize their urban centers? It’s a question planner and developer Jennifer Vey at the Brookings Institution has explored in depth. Her work in transformative placemaking focuses on inclusion, innovation, and job creation.

She’ll be in Rochester next week as a guest of the Community Design Center for its 2020 Reshaping Rochester Series, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

Jacob Walsh / CITY Newspaper

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP & WXXI News)  New York's governor has vetoed a bill to allow electric scooters and bikes statewide, his office said Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's veto message said the bill overwhelmingly passed by lawmakers this year didn't include enough safety measures, such as a helmet requirement.

"Failure to include these basic measures renders this legislation fatally flawed," he said.

Lawmakers may try to pass a bill with more safety measures next year. Cuomo said electric bikes and scooters must be regulated to protect public safety and said he looks forward to working with lawmakers on the issue in 2020.

Does urbanism die in the winter? After the first major snowstorm of the season, a social media thread about a man who walked through the middle of the street went viral. Some community members said the man was trying to make a point about the sidewalks not being plowed. The thread lead to conversations about urbanism in the cold months.

We sit down with local urbanists who discuss how to develop urban areas that remain multi-modal year round. Our guests:

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

We have a conversation about the New Urbanism design movement. Its goal? To create complete, compact, and connected communities. We discuss the principles of the movement, what makes for a great place, and the barriers that communities face in achieving their visions.

It’s a preview of an upcoming Reshaping Rochester presentation with Lynn Richards, the president and CEO for the Congress for the New Urbanism. Richards is a Rochester native who shares how she sees Rochester fitting into the movement. Our guests:

"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:

In a recent post for the Urban Phoenix, blogger Arian Horbovetz wrote about how the impermanence and flexibility of urban centers are drawing more residents, especially millennials. He says young Americans are seeking out apartments, shared public spaces, food trucks, and mobile tech over homes in the suburbs, traditional restaurants, and office jobs.

What does the data say about the so-called city vs. suburb horse race? A Brookings Institute report shows a trend toward a renewed suburban advantage. But that data is nuanced and there are questions and issues to consider like total population growth vs. urban growth booms within cities, zoning laws, and more.

So, do Americans want to live in cities? Our guests weigh in:

When we talk about urbanism, we often discuss walkability and connected neighborhoods. That movement is not just happening here in the United States; efforts toward developing complete streets are underway in some of the oldest and some of the most congested cities around the world. 

This hour, we talk to two international travelers who share what they've learned by studying urbanism, mobility, and tourism in cities across the globe. In studio: