Archives for the month of: October, 2010

The blog, A Town Square, has been extremely valuable in introducing me to some wonderful historical information including the following series of aerial photos of the inner loop taken from 1930 to 2002.  The transformations of the urban fabric was quite drastic, especially between 1951 and 1961.







After seeing the promotional videos, I began to wonder if I’ve been focusing too much on the problems of Rochester. Perhaps I can take a moment to think about some of the good aspects.

Markets seem to bring people together and become a place for exchanges of goods and ideas.  It was also one of the motivations behind [Daphne and] my summer research on markets in Rome and Paris.  From what I can tell remotely, Rochester has a great Public Market that began in 1905.  Could we bring this type of activity back into downtown?

I found a present day promotional video made about Rochester, except I think this one encompasses the “Greater Rochester Region.”  Is this the same Rochester I’ve been researching?

Rochester, NY: Where Smart People Live and Smart Businesses Grow

This film is made by Rochester Gas and Electric in 1963 and sheds a very positive and optimistic light on Rochester.  It is separated into three parts, so here they are:

Rochester’s statistics:

population: 209,000 [2008]

median household income: $29,975 [2008]

New York State median household income:  $56,033 [2008]

building vacancy rate: 9200/96,000 household units = 10% [2009]

total vacancy rate >10%

It’s disheartening to see an entire map of Rochester’s vacancies [black filled = vacant buildings, green fill = vacant land].  Over the next couple of months, I will attempt to make use of this and other information and sort out my scope of intention.

map source:

Below is the PDF presentation I used for my mid-review.  It went well and was very helpful for me.  Next steps include investigating larger infrastructural systems and potential impacts to vacancy rates in Rochester [about 10%], making and testing a proposition for the city and a few other key goals.  There will be a lot to consider and much to investigate/explore, but that’s the fun part!

The full PDF can be downloaded here:  MIDREVIEW-presentation-sm72

As parking areas begin to cluster based on proximity to each other, the shortest distance is mapped to the subway tunnel. This process starts to reveal potential hotspots for interventions.

tunnel intervention locations from Jie Huang on Vimeo.

The underground component of the 1.5 miles of the subway is alluring, but it is just as important to familiarize ourselves with the above ground conditions. Where might potential generative armatures begin? What will they connect?  This animated route took us by at least a few parking lots and garages.  What about the vacant lots or excessively wide streets?

British Director Chris Cunningham directs a train/subway music video of Gil Scot-Heron‘s “New York is Killing Me” remix.  I thought it was very appropriate given the subject of my study.  By using subway recordings and footage, he creates something dark but brilliant.

These animations show further development on the Grasshopper models seen from a previous post.   By using the proximity component [in green], I am able to create an animation mapping distances among the various parking areas to each other.  This allows us to see where clusters begin to appear/form and perhaps become potential opportunities for interventions.

top view

1892 Diagram-Genesee River from Jie Huang on Vimeo.

perspective view

1892 Diagram-Genesee River from Jie Huang on Vimeo.