Community Design Center News                                                          December 2020

From our Executive Director, Maria Furgiuele 

The CDCR, like many other businesses and organizations, is striving to find creative ways to support the community through these challenging times.  2020 was to be a celebratory year for us as we marked the 15th anniversary of our Reshaping Rochester Lecture Series and the 10th Anniversary of the Reshaping Rochester Awards Program. Though it looked a little different than anticipated, we are grateful to have been able to continue our programming by transitioning to a virtual platform. Additionally, we appreciated the opportunity to launch PLACEMAKING 101: Shaping the Places We Share, a virtual series designed to share information and inspire dialogue about issues relevant to our community and region, in response to the pandemic.
As an organization, we continue to explore the intersection of Race, Place and Poverty. It is critical that our residents and community members understand the history, policies, and strategies that have brought us here, in order to start intentionally dismantling these structures and build a more inclusive and equitable community. The CDCR is committed to working together with our community partners to achieve this goal.  With this in mind, the theme for the 2021 16th Annual Lecture Series is Building a Just Community. Our Series will kick off virtually in January; we invite you to come along on the journey as we work together to make the communities where we live better for everyone!
We extend our best wishes for a peaceful, healthy, and safe holiday season - BE WELL!

Annual Give

At a time when we are all experiencing the pandemic, generosity is what brings us together.
We understand that many are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, but ask that those who are able to consider supporting the Community Design Center Rochester as we work toward equity and inclusion through the design of our built environment.

The past several months have revealed the many ways in which our local and national communities are not what we would hope, with marginalized individuals disproportionately impacted by the effects of the pandemic and social inequity. The work we do attempts to eradicate this and improve the Greater Rochester region, with placemaking as a critical tool for accomplishing such. 

Here are a few examples of how you can help:

$100 - Will share our story
$250 - Will build a better block
$500 - Will build a better village
$1,000 - Will build a better city

IT'S EASY TO GIVE! Just click here or send a check to:

Community Design Center Rochester
1115 E Main Street, Box 61
Rochester, NY 14609

Virtual Event Recap

Each year, the CDCR presents a special event to honor the winners of the Reshaping Rochester Awards. The awards recognize exemplary regional initiatives and projects that positively impact people, neighborhoods, and the community. This year we celebrated virtually on November 19th.

Before we get too far into the event recap, know that you are able to relive the whole event for free via recording! Sound like something you'd like to do? Click the button below.


Our Urban Observations speaker this year was Danielle Ponder Esq., a Rochester-based musician, activist, and lawyer. Attendees have called her talk inspiring, real, and eye-opening - we have to agree! Her presentation begins at 29:32 in the recording linked above.

Congratulations to all of this year's finalists! There was such an impeccable selection, but ultimately three winners needed to be chosen. Please review our award honorees below and consider reaching out to congratulate them on their accomplishments!
Award for Design in recognition of projects that demonstrate design excellence and contribute to enriching the public realm.
Photo: Town of Brighton DPW
Highland Crossing Trail
Town of Brighton & City of Rochester

The Highland Crossing Trail was recognized for being a pedestrian and bike-friendly connection between Brighton Town Park and the Genesee Riverway Trail. It provides an active transportation route for short commutes to work and to recreational destinations, all while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other environmental degradation.
Award for Activism in recognition of civic spirit, persistence, and determination in turning a vision into reality.
Photo: Quajay Donnell
Shawn Dunwoody
"Artivist" & Co-founder, Hinge Neighbors

Shawn Dunwoody was recognized for his use of public space to enact placemaking and community care.

Dunwoody is a co-founder of Hinge Neighbors and the integrative artist, designer, and visual consultant of DUNWOODÄ’ Visual Consulting. A widely-recognized and multi-disciplinary creative force for change, he has been integral in many dynamic Rochester projects, including: painting COVID infographics on sidewalks, "Black Lives Matter" on Court Street, and Composers Crossing at the intersection of Gibbs Street and E Main Street; as well as the Sanitation Station project with Hinge Neighbors, which utilized abandoned Pace kiosks throughout the community for free hand sanitizer units.
Directors' Award in recognition of long-range efforts that have enhanced the public realm and contributed to its vibrancy.
Photo: Daytripping ROC
City of Rochester
for Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park

The City of Rochester was recognized for Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park's role over the years as a space for community gathering, engagement, and mobilization.

This park has gone through a number of lives in our city. Often ignored in the years after its construction, and not often the site for active programming in the city, the area has now come to new life, both as a site for a variety of programs ranging from concerts to a Winter and Christmas Village, to more recently being reincarnated as a blackboard on which Rochesterians can record their anger and hopes.

We could not celebrate this very important anniversary of the Awards without recognizing the tremendous contributions made by a founding member of the Awards Committee and dear friend of the CDCR, Amy HeckerAmy's generosity of time, talent, and treasure have been instrumental in the success not only of the Awards program, but also of our organization. Thank you!

In addition to the work of staff members Maria Furgiuele and Monika Reifenstein, the Awards Program could not have been pulled off without the assistance of three wonderful volunteers.
Germania Garzon

Germania Garzon (GG) is an Architectural Designer and dog mom of three beautiful pit-bull pups. She is a big home improvement and graphic design enthusiast, and she loves to sketch and share her creativity outside of work. GG received both her bachelor's in Urban Design & Public Policy and master's in Architecture at the University at Buffalo. She serves on the AIA Rochester Board of Directors as Social Media Director, and hopes to continue being involved in the Rochester design community.

GG designed the digital program.
Stacey Veolette Waxtan

A New York City native with Minnesota roots, Stacey Veolette Waxtan, Owner of Veolette Design, has always loved building a visual brand. A degree in Organizational Studies from the University of Michigan set her on a fast-paced path of television production, graphic design, and finally interior design, where she combines her love of a tight schedule, luxe materials, and construction. Stacey builds joyful, balanced spaces reflective of her client's personality, and she prides herself on designing intuitively, with critical attention to function and flow. Stacey believes great design has the power to help communities thrive, and is grateful to join the CDCR in this time of growth and reinvention.

Stacey created the award feature videos (Design, Activism, & Directors').
Mariam Yaqub

Mariam Yaqub is a Project Manager with CJS and longtime volunteer with the CDCR. She completed her B.Sc. Arch and M.Arch degrees from Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI during which she was a recipient of two architecture scholarships: AIA Rhode Island and Raj Saksena. Her Graduate Thesis "Open Source Architecture: Redefining Residential Architecture in Islamabad" won the RWU Thesis Award.

As an architect, Mariam appreciates that volunteering with CDCR allows her the unique opportunity to hear what the residents of the city she builds in really want and need from their built environment. She believes the CDCR creates a safe space that allows dialogue and empowers its residents through knowledge and discussions, and that it is essential as a design professional to be engaged in such dialogues to help create a city for its people.

Mariam designed the award plaques for all our finalists and winners.
Neighbor Updates

In addition to sharing some core values, the CDCR and Reconnect Rochester also share a wall! Here are a couple updates from our neighbor:

In November, Reconnect Rochester held a virtual screening of original film "Think Transit First" for all citizens and community leaders who care about making Rochester a more just and equitable place. The event also featured a highlights reel of their 2017 "Transportation and Poverty" film and a panel discussion about improving transportation and access in the community. Watch here!

Saturday, Dec. 12 | 1:00PM-2:00PM | Zoom

Are you curious whether biking is a viable transportation option year-round? Are you interested in extending your riding season? What kind of bike do you need to ride once the snow arrives? Get your questions answered in this free 45-minute class brought to you by Reconnect Rochester and the Central Library. Register here!