Sunday, November 3, 2013
Love Note #3: Brownfields as Opportunity
Name: Laura Fox
I Am: urban planner, secret farmer, food truck enthusiast
Years in Rochester: on and off all my life, officially in Rochester as an “adult” for the past 5 months
Current Home: 14618
You’re rusty and I love you for it. Signs of your former shine are all over town, but I’m more interested in the messes you’ve made. My daily drive to work downtown takes me on the inner loop, which tells the story of the divorce between your downtown and your neighborhoods, then past parking lots that stay empty and abandoned properties that appear to be long forgotten. On the surface you look pretty strung out, but you have a way of demanding a second glance. I’m increasingly looking around the corner and finding something worth exploring and fewer reasons to make a disparaging comment about you not being a “real city.” Better yet, your admirers are committed to righting past wrongs by cleaning up your brownfields, developing parking lots and filling in the inner loop. You aren’t imagining that you’re staging a comeback, it’s happening.
Rochester, you’ve made me a staunch defender of cities and have made me want to make cities better. I unwittingly became an urban planner so that I could move back here to help connect the dots of all that is promising and true and lovable about you. I see opportunity in your blighted lands and abandoned buildings and thankfully so do many of your other admirers.