October 28, 2011

Recommended Reading

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.

October 26, 2011

Gritty Syracuse

I love Gritty Syracuse. This is an alley off of N Clinton St near the corner of W Genesee St. Some see blight, I see character.

It's too bad alleys have gotten such a bad rap on TV and in movies. Putting waste, recycling, and service vehicles here helps the public side of the street function easier. Though, the picture above is probably a bad example of that.

Below is Robert R. Haggart Memorial Park at the corner of Genesee and Clinton Streets.

So glad the city finally put this thing up to block it. After a sinkhole was discovered, it was roped off and barricaded. Soon after, people ignored the signage, garbage was tossed all over the place, the tape was ripped down, and the barricades were all scattered about. This gray wall quickly deterred it all.

I'm curious to see what kind of park improvements the city makes with this. I live nearby and haven't heard any construction equipment going on so I'm assuming this will stay boarded up until Spring '12.

Let the record show that I generally despise the term and entire idea of a "pocket park". I'd much rather see a thin, 2 or 3 story building constructed here over a tiny corner park that merely heightens the idiocy of putting two "green" areas kiddy-corner to one another. I'll dive more into this area at another time.

To be continued...

October 25, 2011

Opening Day: Onondaga Creekwalk

The Onondaga Creekwalk official opened today, so I took it thought I'd walk a small portion of it to see how it looked.

I've been waiting for the Downtown portion of the creekwalk to be completed since I moved into the neighborhood in the Spring of '07. I managed to snap a few pictures of the Franklin Square creekwalk in October of that same year. That section was fairly short, but it was an enjoyable walk none the less. And looking towards the 690 overpasses, it was a path just begging to be lead south into Downtown.

Starting today, the new sections have been unveiled and the creekwalk now runs from Walton St, up through the city streets on the west side of Downtown, then underneath several 690 overpasses, on into Franklin Square, up through the Inner Harbor, and heads toward Carousel Mall.

I began the walk near the steel serpent section off of Walton Street (FYI the serpent has his own Twitter now). I didn't get a picture, but I should have. That sculpture is so awesome.

Mission Statement

Just a personal blog to showcase the ups and downs of Syracuse as it progresses and regresses over time.