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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The removal of New York Interstate- 81’s (I-81) 1.4 mile stretch of raised, four-lane highway in Syracuse will highlight the critical role of socioeconomics, accessibility, and community building in urban neighborhood reclamation. The removal of what had been previously deemed an urban renewal project, presents Syracuse with new opportunities for space restoration and place-making efforts, atoning for careless and traumatic historic divisions, all the while exploring more substantive design responses tailored to the realities of the City. This thesis explores these fundamental planning considerations through a design lens; by proposing a comprehensive and integrated vision of physical and spatial opportunities provided by the removal of the Viaduct.

Through a series of demographic, socioeconomic and spatial analyses, this thesis begins by working to understand the effect of these proposed changes on the communities most directly affected both by I-81’s construction and now its destruction. Then, the thesis examines what it means to be a Sanctuary City in the United States and explores methods in which the vacancy of this land can be found to serve Syracuse’s most disadvantaged and at-risk populations. If Syracuse deems itself a home for everyone, what types of facilities could exist to serve that designation, both built and imagined? In this thesis I propose my own theories about the role of architecture in helping to create a true sense of sanctuary. Finally, the thesis explores the design and programming of a series of buildings, spaces, and urban interventions which serve as a means to this end. In so doing, the thesis critically examines the role of socially integrated urban renewal in Syracuse, NY, and offers design explorations that might mediate social inequities.


First Advisor

Stephen Schreiber