CoPed Case Study #1: Near Westside Neighborhood Plan


Project Lead: Marc Norman

Affiliation: Syracuse University

Dates of ProjectMay 2012 – Present

Partners: Near Westside Initiative, Syracuse University School of Architecture

Goal or Aim:  Conceived as an alternative to the conventional master plan, The Plan proposes contemporary solutions grounded in the local assets of a post-industrial, economically devastated neighborhood on the edge of downtown Syracuse.

Public Art on a bridge welcoming citizens to the Near Westside
Public Art on a bridge welcoming citizens to the Near Westside

Why Pursue this?:  The erosion of public school systems, the loss of industry, increasing amounts of tax delinquent and vacant land, and crumbling infrastructure, all have a direct impact on public health, safety, and the environment. New design strategies foreground the cultural, human, and infrastructural

assets of place. Proposals combine design and planning moves at different physical and economic scales, to be implemented as resources allow.

LEED-Certified Proliteracy Headquarters
LEED-Certified Proliteracy Headquarters

Where does it stand today?: After six years of work, the NWSI has made significant strides in bringing its vision to fruition. The NWSI has leveraged $70 million in new capital investment and attracted 337 full time jobs to a neighborhood that had seen no new investment for decades. In addition 60 homes have been built or rehabilitated and 45 Syracuse University faculty members and 808 students have been engaged in the effort. $3.3 million in green infrastructure has been invested in the neighborhood including some of the first “green” basketball courts in Upstate NY, residential street reconstruction and green roofs. The neighborhood is now home to four LEED Platinum structures including three green homes built as a result of a national design competition and featured in DWELL magazine.

Sustainable home in the Near Westside Featured in Dwell Magazine
Sustainable home in the Near Westside Featured in Dwell Magazine

The NWSI’s first warehouse renovation, the Lincoln Building, is now home to La Casita, the city’s first Latino Cultural Center and ten, fully occupied artist work/live lofts. ProLiteracy International, the largest literacy organization in the world recently moved their headquarters to a portion of the NWSI’s second warehouse reconstruction project, the 100 year old Case Supply Building. WCNY, the regions public broadcasting station will

LEED-Certified WCNY offices in the Near Westside
LEED-Certified WCNY offices in the Near Westside

occupy its new 55,000 square foot, state-of-the-art multi-state broadcast center and education facility in the Case warehouse in May, 2013. A community of artists and innovators are becoming property owners within a cluster of renovated warehouses and new structures centering in-and-around West and Wyoming Streets, creating a link between the Near La Casita Latino Cultural CenterWestside and downtown Syracuse, New York. The NWSI, through all of this community engagement and economic development, is creating jobs, home ownership opportunities, and beautiful public spaces for the people who live in the neighborhood.

Sources: Saltquarters, Dwell Magazine,

Please start and join a discussion of this exemplar of publicly-engaged design below!

30 thoughts on “CoPed Case Study #1: Near Westside Neighborhood Plan”

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