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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

ESF Students Present Plan for Far Westside

Landscape Architecture


Developing ways to improve the economic, social and cultural future of the city’s far westside was the impetus behind a months-long study by students from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

These findings and recommendations will be presented by landscape architecture students from ESF who spent three months studying the area. Residents, merchants and city officials interested in learning about the plan can do so at a meeting 7 p.m., Thursday, May 9, at Porter Magnet School auditorium, 512 Emerson Ave., Syracuse.

Thirteen students who are finishing ESF’s five-year professional program in landscape architecture undertook the study as a studio project in urban design. They worked in cooperation with the Syracuse Department of Economic and Community Development, Tomorrows Neighborhoods Today (TNT), housing experts, and area residents.

This is the 30th time a design studio has focused its attentions on the city. The class is run like a landscape architecture firm with weekly meetings, individual assignments, meetings with clients and presentations.

The students examined the areas bounded by West Genesee Street on the north, the railroad tracks on the south, Geddes Street and Grand Avenue on the east and the city’s border (including Westcott Reservoir) on the west.

Professor George W. Curry, who teaches the studio course with Professor Christine Capella Peters, said the students focused on several areas:

  • improving the West Genesee Street corridor
  • utilization of area parks including Burnett and Lewis parks and the Pass Arboretum
  • enhancing “nodes” — small corner commercial areas in the study area — on Milton Avenue; Burnett Park Drive and the corner of Avery Avenue and Chemung Street.

Among the students’ suggestions are a comprehensive treatment of the West Genesee Street corridor including trees, signage and lighting and a coordinated plan for the redevelopment of the Erie Blvd. / Fayette Street commercial/industrial corridor.

The urban design studio is part of ESF’s service learning initiative, which combines classroom teaching with hands-on application in the community. This year ESF students have contributed 15,000 hours of service to the Syracuse/Onondaga County community as part of the initiative.

Other service learning projects include ESF students mentoring pupils at Shea Middle School, working with the Oneida Indian Nation regarding land use for 400 acres in the Town of Verona; and formulating a plan for a proposed trail linking the Finger Lakes Trail with the Erie Canal.