American City X: Syracuse After the Master Plan by Mark Robbins

By Mark Robbins

In American urban X, editor Mark Robbins, former dean of Syracuse University's institution of structure, argues that cutting edge and compelling structure cannot basically increase the way in which a urban is perceived, but additionally switch how it works. trying to Syracuse, new york, because the archetypal "American urban X," the publication showcases tasks that exhibit power confident futures for publish commercial towns around the nation. that includes renovations and ground-up constructions—ranging from landscapes to constructions and infrastructure—at either residential and institutional scales, the winning fresh paintings in Syracuse addresses sustainability, fabric and formal experimentation, and artistic use of house for evolving group wishes.

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Landlords and home owners are encouraged to acquire adjacent lots for use as side yards, further reducing the number of dwellings per block. The character and density of the walkable neighborhood of 33-by-100-foot lots have been eroded in favor of a suburban model, which is considered more marketable. Of the seven finalists, three new houses—by Architecture Research Office/Della Valle Bernheimer, Cook + Fox Architects, and Onion Flats—have been built and sold. They sit amid preexisting houses on lots of original size and feature a varied massing typical of the neighborhood.

Syracuse University, as an economic force and as a draw for population, provides one of the anchors. In an era in which many local governments have been divested of professional expertise, the university has an increasing role to play and can be the interlocutor between private market interests and civic goals. It can influence longer-range thinking, beyond political agendas and immediate economic gain. Several hundred million dollars have been leveraged through the projects spearheaded by Syracuse University, which are decidedly smaller in scale than mall development or major infrastructure projects.

1 The UPSTATE: team affiliated with this work includes Julia Czerniak, inaugural director; Joseph Sisko, Jacob Brown, and Trevor Lee; and Brett Seamans and Stephen Klimek (summer). The institute, founded in 2004 by Mark Robbins, former dean of the School of Architecture, initiates, facilitates, and showcases projects that apply innovative design research to economic, environmental, political, and social challenges faced by urban communities. The Metropolitan Development Foundation hired a collaborative team consisting of Julia Czerniak and Mark Linder of CLEAR, Ted Brown of Munly Brown Studio, Joseph Sisko of CELL, and Meredith Perreault and Ed Michelanko of the Onondaga Environmental Institute to pursue a four-stage project that culminated in the report Onondaga Creek Communities: Projecting Futures for Urban Life (2009).

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