Re-Imagining Downtown Rochester

Type: Urban Planning (RIT Master of Architecture Thesis)
 
Location: Rochester, New York
 
Task:
To generate an urban master plan for the western half of
downtown Rochester, New York focused around issues of
equitability.  Conducting interviews with key stakeholders, a set of guiding principles was developed bthat provided the framework for the project.  A comprehensive overall plan was created and dealt with issues of urban mobility, affordability, walkability, and urban infill projects.
Creation of an Equitable Urban Master Plan
Abstract:

Downtown Rochester, New York has seen a renewed interest in the past decade. However, most of that interest and reinvestment has occurred within the eastern half of the downtown area. The western half, which is roughly bordered by the Genesee River to the east and Interstate 490 and the Inner Loop to the west, has only been lightly touched by developers. Most new building projects tend to center around creating residential apartments, many of which have price points that may exclude many populations in Rochester.

Additionally, street networks and connections tend to reinforce usage of private automobiles and dissuade the potential of walking, biking, taking public transit, or other methods of transportation. In western downtown, a lively streetscape at lunch time turns completely desolate by the close of business. Vacant office spaces are surrounded by asphalt parking lots. Through a design-based approach, this thesis looks to propose a balance of new development and reinvestment in order to create not only an active and vibrant downtown, but one that is socially equitable and considers Rochester’s populations as a whole. Background, history, and previous studies and plans of the area were researched. Community members and local organizations were consulted in order to address concerns and determine overall concepts to be proposed. These interactions shaped the project’s guiding principles and goals, which serve as a fundamental starting point for the concept. A completed master plan is proposed which aims to strike a balance of building uses and transportation options, stitch neighborhoods back together by reducing barriers, and improve walkability. By proposing new street designs, infill projects, and identifying building adaptations, this final design is a comprehensive concept that aims to create a successful and socially equitable urban plan for Rochester’s western half.

Selection of Images
Proposed West Main Street Adjustments

Focus Area Two of Five (Typical detail image)

Proposed Thomas Boyde Park

Main Street & Plymouth Avenue, looking Southwest

Proposed BeeBee Flats Area

High Falls - Secondary entrance to Genesee River & recreation facilities.

© 2021 by Douglas J. Templeton