This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.


Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » City of Schenectady » Shovel Ready Home » Abstract

Shovel Ready: Razing Hopes, History, and a Sense of Place:

Go back to: Shovel Ready Home | ahead to: Acknowledgements

[This information is from p. 3 of Shovel Ready: Razing Hopes, History, and a Sense of Place: Rethinking Schenectady's Downtown Strategies, a master's thesis in city planning by Christopher Patrick Spencer (MIT, 2001), and is reproduced with his permission. It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 711 Spe.]

American industrial cities, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, have seen a steep decline in manufacturing jobs over the past 30 years. For those cities whose economies were not diversified and relied on one or two major companies for their employment base, the job loss has been particularly crippling. This decline, coupled with the flight of retail, service, and other jobs to the outlying suburbs as well as a loss in upper- and middle-income residents to those same areas, has left many cities decimated. Perhaps nowhere has the effect of this been more apparent than in the downtown areas of these cities.

This thesis will examine the growth and decline of the downtown in American cities as well as the development of one city's downtown in particular, Schenectady, New York. A number of interventions, projects, and proposals that have been part of the struggle to reverse the decline of that city's core will be examined. These will be considered within a problem-solving process to discover where assumptions were faulty or where externalities negatively influenced them — contributing to missed objectives and goals. Where applicable, alternative means of reaching the stated goals will be explored. This thesis will also explore the idea of a community vision and explore the role it plays in determining the direction that downtown revitalization takes.

After outlining the past interventions, this thesis will consider and evaluate the current programs, projects, and organizations that are involved in the latest round of redevelopment efforts in the downtown. It will look at the assets that the city should consider building on as well as the liabilities that are holding it back. This thesis will also make recommendation for future strategies and consider the questions: What makes a lively and healthy downtown, and how can Schenectady direct its efforts toward achieving this goal? and Are the current projects likely to bring the city closer towards that objective, and if not, what other options should be explored?

Thesis Advisor: John de Monchaux

Title: Professor of Architecture and Planning

Go to top of page | back to: Shovel Ready Home | ahead to: Acknowledgements

You are here: Home » City of Schenectady » Shovel Ready Home » Abstract updated April 3, 2015

Copyright 2015 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library