Community Design Center News.........................................September 2021
From our Executive Director, Maria Furgiuele
Some of you are aware that I struggled with severe back pain this summer. Further exploration of the pain led to a recent diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma (cancer of the blood). This was completely unexpected and as with so many life defining moments, I had instant clarity about my priorities. It’s funny how we clutter our lives with so many things (e.g. possessions) only to realize how truly unimportant they are in the grand scheme of things. I’ve discovered through this experience that what really matters to me are relationships. I am grateful to be working with a great oncology team at the Wilmot Cancer Center and to have moved very quickly into treatment. So far, am responding well and have seen great improvement in just a few weeks. This is a condition that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life.

I am so very grateful to have an extensive network of support consisting of my family, my friends, and of course my CDCR community. I realized very quickly how they all contribute to my wellbeing and I wondered, “How does someone deal with catastrophic illness if they don’t have this network in place?” We have long been aware of the connection between where people live and health outcomes, as documented by many Health Impact Assessments (HIAs). But as placemakers and community builders, we must do much more than merely allocating space and assigning use to those spaces. Placemaking can be a powerful tool for stabilizing neighborhoods and strengthening communities. When people feel a sense of belonging to a place and a connection to the people that they share that space with, they can then build out the critical social networks that allow them to access services and share resources. Having people stay in a neighborhood and participate in the community requires access to safe, good quality housing; a job that pays a living wage; a neighborhood school; and access to goods and services at a minimum. This should be our goal.

Through my current experience, I have come to fully appreciate how valuable relationships are and how they contribute directly to my sense of wellbeing. You are my VILLAGE, I feel your love and I am grateful!
Awards Nomination Deadline Extended!
We've decided to give you a little more time to get your nominations in for the 11th Annual Reshaping Rochester Awards (you're welcome): we are accepting applications through next Friday, September 17! The awards given will recognize exemplary projects and individuals in the Greater Rochester area that make a positive impact on people, neighborhoods, and communities. Awardees will be announced at the 11th Annual Awards Luncheon in November.

Summer Intern Reflection
From Paolo Blanchi, University at Buffalo

"Interning at CDCR was a first-of-its-kind experience for me. I’m studying Environmental Design at the University at Buffalo, but prior to this summer I hadn’t had a chance to experience the planning work I want to do first-hand. CDCR was able to provide that opportunity for me, and I am grateful for it. It was rewarding to work in Rochester, a city I’ve lived in for a decade now, because I was able to see it through the lens of planning, land use, and most importantly, its potential as a thriving urban center for its people. I was able to attend local planning meetings and learned about various initiatives underway, such as the Zoning Alignment Project, the Inner Loop North project, and the overarching vision plan of Rochester 2034. However, I’m most thrilled about doing my small part in the long-term vision by completing a comprehensive report on the city of Charlotte and its potential as an Urban Village. A fellow intern, and now friend, Mohammed Bah and I performed site visits, met with community leaders, and studied existing reports like the Charlotte Vision Plan, all in an effort to identify the needs of the community and provide recommendations for the Charlotte community. This summer I gained a wealth of experience which I can’t wait to apply to my studies and future work. I’ll always be grateful to CDCR for the opportunity and I look forward to perhaps reconnecting on projects in the future."
Local & Notable:
Image Credit: @dont_make_a_mess
A New Mural

A project commissioned by the Washington Square Community Association was recently completed: a mural homage to the neighborhood, located at South Ave Ext & Capron St! It was completed by Brian K. (@dont_make_a_mess on Instagram) and is part of a larger project called "The Lost Corridor" aimed at placemaking in the area around 490E in that neighborhood, which many city businesses vacated in the past. "The Lost Corridor" project began in 2016 when Shawn Dunwoody painted the "Be Stronger" mural under the 490 overpass.

Check this out:
Image Credit: Deborah Cannon / American-Statesman
Hundreds of US cities adopted climate plans.
Few have met the goals, but it's not too late.

"'Cities make great laboratories for combating climate change because some of the hardest tasks in cutting emissions involve activities such as urban planning and rebuilding transportation infrastructures -- areas where cities are on the front lines,' Victor said. If the nation's cities take action one by one, it could add up to a 'powerful approach to climate mitigation'"


Image Credit: All Together
Why Cities Should Tap Into the Power of "Joyful Interventions"

"But the beautiful thing about joy is that it is in the small, achievable moments. As a result, communities can implement immediate changes that will lift moods; foster social and physical connections; and inspire long-term, positive change. These joyful interventions absolutely can transform communities, one small project at a time."

See what our friends are doing:
Saturday, Sept. 11 | 11:30am-1:00pm |Genesee Gateway Park (14620)

Join the Genesee River Alliance for a guided tour of ROC the Riverway projects, led by the City of Rochester's Erik Frisch & Kevin Kelley. Family-friendly, pet-friendly, and accessible. Light refreshments provided!

Thursday, Sept. 9 | 6:00pm-7:30pm | Pont de Rennes Bridge @ High Falls

Need a stretch? Join breathe yoga and Greentopia's Green Visions for a special fundraising event at the scenic High Falls bridge in downtown Rochester! Participants will engage in a vinyasa yoga class -- no previous experience necessary. All proceeds will go to Green Visions, a local workforce development program that helps foster a healthy community in the Joseph Ave and JOSANA neighborhood.

Friday, Oct. 8-9 | Stone-Tolan House Historic Site (14610)

A celebration of all things autumnal! Check out the inaugural OCTavern Festival, focused on regional agriculture and locally-made products. Reserve tickets to check out the 200-year-old rural Stone-Tolan house (feat. live music, festive beverages, and seasonal fare) OR join the site-wide celebration on the beautiful grounds of the property all day Saturday (feat. local farmers, food vendors, and craftspeople providing demos and items for purchase).

Thursday, Sept. 9 | 6:00pm-8:00pm | Maplewood Neighborhood

The Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs) are at it again! This time they're offering an active walking tour of the Maplewood neighborhood, examining the magnificent architecture of the Olmsted-designed Seneca Parkway.