Rochester, New York has long experienced population loss in step with the upstate New York region. The City of Rochester determined that a comprehensive housing analysis was necessary to maximize their funds and fuel new growth in targeted neighborhoods. We were retained as the lead firm to undertake the study which included evaluating the state of the City and developing a new housing policy for the next ten years.
To render the findings legible for City officials and residents alike, we created a GIS database that resulted in over 80 maps and diagrams illustrating housing condition, sales, demographic data, crime and investment patterns. This data-driven analysis fueled the basis for the housing policy that was coordinated with City Council and the Mayor’s office.
The City-Wide Rochester Housing Strategy was completed in 2007 and included a detailed set of policies and actions tailored to the needs of different parts of the City. Since that time the City reorganized their staff, changed their housing programs and reevaluated their investment strategy. A portion of housing dollars are now spent in accordance with a Focused Investment Strategy (FIS) that targets four areas across the City.
Since completion of that City-Wide strategy, we had been asked to test that policy on different neighborhoods. This includes the development of a comprehensive neighborhood plan for the JOSANA community in 2010 - one of the most challenged areas in Rochester - and completion of a redevelopment plan for Marketview Heights between Downtown and the Public Market in 2014. Although close to Downtown and the Public Market, Marketview Heights suffers from sigificant issues with regard to blight and drug dealing. The strategy worked with residents, who have worked hard to green and improve their community, to develop a strategy for targeted redevelopment of empty lots and buildings.
In 2016, we completed important research on the City's Focused Investment Strategy (FIS) that emerged from our city-wide plan. The research is looking at 7 years of FIS investments and comparing data in FIS target areas to other “control” neighborhoods. The results demonstrate marked improvements in these target areas and the data will be used to inform the next stage of FIS investments in the City.