At any given time within the last decade in downtown Syracuse, over ¼ of spaces have sat and still remain vacant. Vacancies in the downtown area equates for over 1.5 million square feet of space. For a sense of scale, the combined amount of vacant space can fill a 100-story tower, or cover a ground surface area of 8 downtown blocks. With such high and sustained vacancy rates, property owners and stakeholders lack the revenue stream to re-invest in their spaces, limiting new use scenarios and potential. This also largely contributes to a deteriorating and marginal tax base. However, given the trend of renewed interest and actions taken towards the revitalization of the downtown core, we are now at a turning point -- Never before has there been such an opportunity to create a vibrant, dynamic, and urban environment, but the critical question remains: How?
The current and dominant model of adaptive reuse of buildings in the urban core is to convert vacant commercial and retail space, of which there are many, into above market rate residential. Although this provides short term economic gain, it prompts fundamental concerns in the long term of inflated costs. We must become more imaginative and introduce new, inclusive, and diverse use scenarios and services.
The solution: Densify. We all know this to be true. If just 10% of the population of Syracuse moves into the urban core, we can achieve a higher population density (per square mile) than New York City. A populated urban core will rejuvenate the current marginal tax base and generate the critical mass needed for urban vibrancy. In order to do so, AUDTT proposes a set of scenarios and visualized potential through an urban development framework. This framework provides a set of architectural- and urban-scale design strategies for deployment, and identifies a range of archetypes with the aim of accommodating a diverse and ever-changing range of people, needs, and demographic preferences.
Location Syracuse, New York
Type Competition, Urban Design, Research
Status Finalist (IMPACT Prize)
Team Akhil Arun, Bonnie Cheung, Sou Fang, Justin Jackson, Katharina Korber, Bharat Krishnan Mahan Navabi, Justine Paul, Erick Sanchez