The above video is of the late activist and writer Jane Jacobs speaking about urban life and planning. You can find any number of videos about Jacobs on YouTube, but this one stuck out for me as I think a lot of it can be applied to Syracuse fairly accurately.
Rest assured that on this blog I'll be quoting Jacobs from her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, as well as excerpts from James Howard Kunstler's, Home From Nowhere and his other related work. Jacobs' book is a heavy read, but full of a seemingly endless amount of poignantly worded statements about urban renewal in the mid-20th century and its negative effects on a neighborhood's quality of life. Kunstler's book on the other hand, written in 1996, deals with suburban sprawl, urban design and charm, America's car-centric outlook, and proper land use. His elegant sarcasm cannot be understated and makes for a very entertaining read with hilariously worded observations at times.
The two books may be out-dated in certain areas, but are timeless in most other parts and very oriented on the human-scale of things as oppose to the automobiles. Both books I highly recommend reading if you're at all interested in urban life and design.