Austin Maitland has been a contributor to Strong Towns since 2017. A native of Rochester, New York, Austin graduated from Rutgers University with a Master of City and Regional Planning degree in 2018. He now works as an urban planner in New Jersey. He is particularly interested in observing how land-use regulations and the built environment impact the social and economic performance of urban neighborhoods. Austin enjoys traveling around the northeast experiencing cities and towns of all shapes and sizes.
In many areas of modern life, the market provides a cornucopia of choices to accommodate people’s diverse needs, wants, and tastes: just visit a supermarket to see this. When it comes to housing options, though, the reality is starkly different.
Typically, the thought of converting an old subway tunnel into parking would send shivers down the spines of urbanists. But this project may be a surprisingly beneficial way to catalyze redevelopment in Rochester, New York’s recovering downtown.
We can find practical examples of great communities far away from San Francisco or Copenhagen.
Flexible regulations and a dose of humility could change this unproductive dynamic.
After years of neglect, downtown Rochester has found an unexpected ally: residents.