Saturday, March 29, 2008

Urban News Vol. 10

Swinging my focus back to Rochester, I apologize for the gap in posting. I've been working on the Rochester New Urbanist Meetup a lot lately and getting ready for another open house tomorrow as well as playing hockey.

Enough excuses. This entry falls under the Urban News banner because of its first order of business, but it could also be considered a Saturday Soliloquy much like the one produced at the library a couple weeks ago. I am again inside city limits for this one as I had to finish up some work I was unable to complete yesterday. The nice thing is there are no distractions at work on a Saturday.

First, the D&C has decided to shine the light on the efforts of a man who truly understands and cares about community building from the private end of the development spectrum despite repeated vehicles crashing into his primary place of business.

Boulder Blends Coffee with its Community
by Patrick Flanigan, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Article Key Points:
  • Developer Wilton's original focus was on real estate. First coffeehouse was a unifying device
  • Purchased Java Joe's coffee shop at the Public Market
  • Opening a 3rd location at Brooks and Genesee in the 19th Ward in September
  • Owns 47 properties containing 104 housing units
  • Partnering with Sector 4 CDC on 3rd location

I had read about this in an edition of City Newspaper, but there was not as much detail on the 3rd location. I was instantly drawn to it as a fundamentally good development for that neighborhood. Corner stores and other businesses in general demand can have an anchoring effect on neighborhood stability. Boulder itself is a virtual presence at Alexander and Clinton. It's the time honored neighborhood improvement method of 'eyes in the windows and on the street' at work. I wish Mr. Wilton the best of luck and I hope to frequent his newest location once my city life and it are up and running.

Up next is an event that I hadn't planned on going into great detail on (I was really more interested in the announcement of the spring Clean Sweeps), but I've decided has a lot of merit on its own.

Bike Tour to Help Clean Up City
by Brian Sharp, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Article Key Points:

  • 'Adore Your City' bike ride on June 1 will cover 53 miles and benefit the city's volunteer cleanup effort
  • Full Moon Vista Bike & Sport is organizing the event to promote city beautification
  • First Clean Sweep (South Side) meeting April 26th at Genesee Valley Park
  • Riders must raise $180 to register as well as volunteering at least 4 hours at a Clean Sweep
  • 4 different 10-19 mile routes allow for selective riding for the less ambitious

The Clean Sweep is an incredibly worthwhile event for both city-dwellers and suburbanites alike to help improve the visual aspects of the public realm. In addition to trash cleanup, this year the city has added something that would be #1 on my agenda for any beautification program: graffiti removal. DPZ and Speck characterize graffiti and litter as "potential signs of danger." This could not be more accurate. Not debating whether graffiti is art, the reality is that graffiti is unsolicited and usual on private property. Generally difficult to remove, it increases the perception of moral decay in a neighborhood.

Finishing today, I'd like to refer people to something I just found out about this morning. A trip to the immensely popular search engine Google turns up a black page today with an exhortation, "We've turned the lights out. Now it's your turn - Earth Hour." Closer inspection reveals a worldwide movement from 8PM-9PM tonight to turn of all non-essential lights and appliances in a show of solidarity and sacrifice against climate change. I plan to make a small fire out on the back patio. Will be interesting to see how much I can slow down the power meter. I'd encourage everyone to make an effort tonight to do the same.

On the horizon for the blog is a case study of Scranton complete with my architecture video in addition to a rare movie review, one that takes a huge swing at the effects of suburban development on the environment starring a turtle voiced by Garry Shandling. Also, the meetup is now in full swing. We are up to five members with 3 RSVP'd for the meeting at the Public Library on the 17th. If urban revitalization and sustainable development/economies are of interest to you and you live in the Rochester area, please join the discussion using the graphic in the sidebar or follow the link at the top of this entry.


Anonymous said...

Well, I blew it on Earth Hour b/c I'm watching my boys secure a spot in the Frozen Four.

I'm thinking of going on the Rochester Hiking Group Meetup prerides for their charity event. We'll see...

Bob and Tia said...

Man I thought we did everything right, then 40 minutes in, we discover we left the hottub plugged in and it kicked on for a heat should have seen how slow the power meter crawled after we killed it.

We even made an illegal fire on the back patio. Oh well.