Community Design Center News                                                             February 2021
January's Lecture Series Prequel with Former Mayor Johnson

PLACEMAKING 101 - Lecture Series Prequel with Former Mayor Johnson (Live Webinar, 1/19/21)

Thank you to all who attended our virtual conversation with former Rochester Mayor William "Bill" Johnson last month! The Former Mayor helped nearly 100 lives attendees to explore how Rochester can be transformed into a community of equity and justice. This event serves as an introduction to this year's Lecture Series. Did you miss it? Do you want to experience it again? Click on the image above to watch the recording!
Although our January lecture was unfortunately cancelled, we still plan to bring you FIVE virtual lectures February through June, with accompanying community conversations (Zoom-meeting style) one week later. Together, we will unpack our 2021 theme: Building a Just Community.

Join us for the upcoming Reshaping Rochester lecture with Sara Bronin!

Zoning for Equity

Sara Bronin
Architect, Attorney, and Founder of DesegregateCT | Hartford, CT

February 24, 12:00pm
Zoom Webinar


February is Black History Month

Image Credit: SOM

10 Black Architects Whose Work Has Shaped America

"This is a time to observe and celebrate the achievements of blacks and the central role that African Americans have played in the United States. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on America's past as a nation built upon the institution of slavery and racial tyranny that has and continues to disenfranchise African Americans to this day."


The first featured speaker of the series, Verdis L. Robinson, alongside his book.

Embracing Rochester's Black History: A Three-Part Virtual Series

The Spiritus Christi Anti-racism Coalition, the First Unitarian Church, and the First Universalist Initiative for Racial Equality will present a three-part virtual series entitled "Embracing Rochester's Black History" throughout February. The series kicks off on February 13th with Local Historian Verdis L. Robinson, who will share an inside view of his book, Beyond These Gates: Mountains of Hope in Rochester's African American History. This is followed by "A Soulful Night of Gospel" on February 20th and "Racist Policy and Resistance in Rochester" on February 27th. There is a suggested donation of $25 per event, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Black Community Focus Fund to support a Rochester Civil Rights Heritage Site.

Check this out:

Image Credit: Brant Ward/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

How the Federal Government Could Help Kill the Highways It Built

Our Executive Director was interviewed for this article, which explores a new $10 billion federal program aimed at cities considering removing urban freeways and repairing the damage these projects inflicted - something Rochester is tackling via the Inner Loop transformation projects.

"In 1956, the U.S. Congress passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, the $25 billion program that launched the Interstate Highway System. The law, which encouraged highway construction across the country by offering 90% of the funding needed to build them, left behind a 'horrific legacy' in scores of U.S. cities...As cities embraced the benefits of high-speed thoroughfares for suburban commuters, they razed swaths of downtowns and waterfronts - often targeting low-income areas and neighborhoods of color - to make room for the roadways."


Image Credit: Terra Fondriest/Bloomberg

The 5 Cities Ready to Build with Remote Workers in Mind
(spoiler alert: Rochester is one of them)

"In August, the co-living company Common released a request for proposals from U.S. cities that wanted to host a 'Remote Work Hub' - a kind of office-plus-apartment complex aimed at young digital nomads. [Last] week the company announced five winners of this quasi-competition, who will now move on to the workshop phase: Developers in New Orleans; Bentonville, Arkansas; Ogden, Utah; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; and Rochester, New York. Their prize is design expertise and a marketing boost from the Common team."

See what our friends are doing:

Monday, Mar. 1

A collaboration between AIA Rochester and The Emerging Rochester Architects (ERA), the Designers Unleashed Competition challenges participants to take an actual design problem in Rochester and unleash their ideas upon it! This competition is intended to showcase the talents of young designers in our community, test the limits of what is achievable in our built environment, and inspire new solutions to the design and development issues we currently face.

Friday, Jun. 11

Before being declared "essential" at the start of the pandemic, Rochester's architectural community knew that the important task of building communities could not come to a standstill. It is in tribute to their spirit of perseverance that AIA Rochester adopted this year's theme, "Keep Calm & Design On." Though the registration deadline has passed, we suggest that you save the date for the Virtual Awards Show on 6/11/21, which will recognize design excellence in our region.


Seeking grantees! The Landmark Society's Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization (GVRR) Grant application is officially open. GVRR supports historic restoration and rehabilitation projects throughout rural communities in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions. Specifically, the grant program offers $5,000-$50,000 reimbursable, unmatched sub-grants for eligible historic buildings to preserve the historic places that have shaped rural communities, their social fabric, and economy.

Wednesday, Feb. 10 | 7:00PM-7:30PM | WROC-TV & Streamed Online

In a break with tradition, the Anthony Museum has made plans to safely share Susan B. Anthony's birthday celebration with their biggest audience ever through a televised broadcast. The "Gala" will be a 1/2 hour program on WROC-TV and streamed online. An inspiring program is planned with keynote speaker and broadcast media icon, Susan Zirinsky. As in other years, it will also serve as the major fundraising event for the Anthony Museum.