Syracuse Comprehensive Plan

Syracuse is creating a new Comprehensive Plan that will guide the city's development during the next 10 to 20 years.  The plan's purpose is to " consensus on a future vision, establish City policies to guide official actions toward that vision and to inform the public and investors about the City’s future direction."



  • Official Syracuse Comprehensive Plan website. Here you can download the City of Syracuse Comprehensive Plan and its appendices.

  • The Preservation Component, Syracuse Comprehensive Plan. The first element completed for the new Comprehensive Plan was the "Preservation Component." This extensively documented and illustrated 91 page report was completed in 2003 by the Urban Design Studio at SUNY ESF. It summarizes the history and development of Syracuse, then recommends several steps that the city could take to better preserve the region's historic assets and incorporate these into the fabric of the evolving city.

  • The Downtown Master Plan Component, Syracuse Comprehensive Plan. This master plan for downtown Syracuse was the second component completed for the comprehensive plan. Like the Preservation Component, it was developed by the Urban Design Studio at SUNY ESF.

  • The Housing Component, Syracuse Comprehensive Plan. This report by the Urban Design Studio at SUNY ESF, the third produced for the Comprehensive Plan, addresses the financial, physical and social issues related to the city's residential neighborhoods, as well as related citywide issues.

  • The Commercial Component, Syracuse Comprehensive Plan. This section addresses the financial, physical and social issues related to business district and commercial corridor development, as well as related citywide issues. It is the fourth section of the Comprehensive Plan to be completed by the Urban Design Studio at SUNY ESF.

    • Part 1:  Preface; Introduction; Inventory and Analysis; Goals, Objectives and Recommended Actions (2 meg).

    • Part 2:  Detailed Recommendations; Conclusion; Bibliography; Appendices (5 meg).

    • Presentation Slideshow (6 meg).

  • Hawley-Green Neighborhood Component. The Hawley-Green Neighborhood is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. This neighborhood component was the first to be completed under the city's comprehensive plan.

  • South East Gateway Plan. A plan to revitalize the South Salina Street business corridor, just south of downtown. A 2005 market research study showed that this low-income neighborhood has a higher concentration of buying power than the average suburban town and residents spend more than $45.2 million a year in stores outside their neighborhood.

Past Syracuse Plans

  • 1919 Syracuse Comprehensive Plan.  The city's last Comprehensive Plan was completed in 1919.  Among its recommendations: the city's first aerodrome (airport) to be located on the western shore of Onondaga Lake, plans to interconnect the city's major parks so they encircle the city center, and a new World War I memorial to be located near the Civil War "Soldiers' and Sailors'" monument in Clinton Square.

  • 1964-65 Central Syracuse: A General Neighborhood Renewal Plan. This plan is from the "urban renewal" period when cities across the nation were leveling older parts of town to make way for the future. If implemented, this plan would have wiped away almost all of Hanover Square, Armory Square, the Amos Building and City Hall. A remodeled Clinton Square would have had a high-rise office building where the Jerry Rescue statue now stands.

Onondaga Creek

  • Visions for Onondaga Creek  “The Onondaga Creek corridor is the most intact natural system in the City of Syracuse.  Although channeled, mostly hidden and badly maligned for more than a century, this corridor has the potential to be THE civic and ecological highway of the City! ” Results of a forum, held April 4th at SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, to create a future vision for Onondaga Creek.

  • Discovering Onondaga Creek. Take a photographic canoe trip down Onondaga Creek, starting under Dorwin Avenue and ending in Clinton Square.

Other Plans for Syracuse

  • West Street Corridor Report. The West Street arterial divides Syracuse neighborhoods and is unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. This proposed master plan would redesign the corridor to make West Street safe for all users and reconnect communities separated by the arterial.

Comprehensive Plans from Other Cities

  • 'Rochester 2010, The Renaissance'. In updating their 1964 comprehensive master plan, Rochester adopted the theme, "Neighbors Building Neighborhoods."  The city was divided into ten planning sectors and citizen-run planning committees were formed in each sector. Ultimately, over four hundred citizens became involved in a two-year long process.

  • Binghamton. The City of Binghamton passed a new Comprehensive Plan in late 2002 (this is a 30 meg pdf file). In conclusion, the report say, "The challenge to Binghamton City leaders today is to create an environment that is appealing to new business and industry, as well as new and returning residents."

  • Schoharie, Town and Village. A visual image survey was conducted with residents to determine design style preferences. The results were clear. "The lowest preference was given to modern subdivisions, large apartments and contemporary attached housing, highway strip malls, commercial buildings and shopping plazas with large parking lots, flat roofs, and wide intersections and streets."

  • A “Sustainable” Burlington. The City of Burlington, Vermont produced a Comprehensive Plan focused on creating a "sustainable" community. "A sustainable city is one that meets its current needs without reducing its capacity to meet its needs in the future."

  • Providence 2020. "In the future, Providence will be a waterfront city, where the water, continuous parks, and transit link the Valley to the Bay."

  • Columbia, Maryland. "Downtown Columbia will be a diverse, mixed-use, livable, physically distinctive and humanscaled place with a range of housing choices and recreational, civic and cultural amenities."

  • Waukegan, Illinois. "Downtown Waukegan will become a vibrant city center, a place for jobs, shopping, entertainment and urban living. The South Lakefront and the Harbor will become home to new waterfront neighborhoods. The North Lakefront will become an international model for environmental and ecological restoration."

  • Charlottesville, SC. "We visualize our community as one that balances the natural and built environments and that has a vital urban core surrounded by a rural area that remains predominantly green and open."

  • Portland Oregon.  This is perhaps the most ambitious "smart growth" comprehensive plan in the nation.

  • Mississippi Renewal Forum. Following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Governor Haley Barbour formed the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal. Their formidable task: develop plans for the rebuilding of 11 coastal cities and 120 miles of coastal region. Architect Andres Duany consulted with the Congress for the New Urbanism to assemble, in Mississippi, more than 200 of the best new urban professionals in the country. The resulting plan, comprised of 22 separate team reports,  is the most extensive New Urbanist planning effort ever undertaken in this country.

To view PDF files you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader


Be sure to also take a look at Onondaga County's
"New Urbanist" Settlement Plan

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