Defining, Promoting and Helping to Implement Design Excellence

The Community Design Center of Rochester (CDCR) is a non-profit organization of design professionals promoting healthy, sustainable communities by encouraging quality design of the built environment and thoughtful use of built and natural resources. We do this by providing technical assistance and access to educational and training opportunities that increase awareness about the built environment, the impact of design and the importance of good urban planning. By actively engaging through partnerships in city and regional initiatives that include guiding communities in creating vision plans and encouraging community involvement in planning and developing processes, CDCR plays a critical role as an advocate for good design in the Greater Rochester Region.


Planned Densification is a process for implementation of locally-appropriate levels of density over time, in key locations, allowing market supply and demand to coevolve. Density is increasingly desired by municipalities and urban betterment programs–but it is becoming harder to accomplish. Does density belong everywhere? No. It is best designed into key locations, such as near large transportation investments and other infrastructure investments wherein density increases ROA and ROI. Indeed, density in these key locations can sustain lower density elsewhere in a municipality.

Community Design

RPA’s community design work focuses on promoting sustainable and equitable development patterns by directing as much of the region’s growth as possible to established villages, towns and cities.

RPA works with individual communities throughout the region to demonstrate how both public investment and private development can help them achieve their local objectives for community development and quality of life. The community design program engages this challenge in several ways: by creating vision plans and land use regulations for individual communities, through training programs that build local capacity and by providing resources such as model codes and guidelines. In addition, we have developed an extensive Community Design Manual that aids civic groups and residents in shaping their communities in the absence of professional planning staff.

In recent years, RPA has developed growth and sustainability plans for Bridgeport, Conn., Somerville N.J., and Orange County, N.Y.

Red Fields to Green Fields is a research effort

Red Fields to Green Fields is a research effort analyzing the effects of acquiring financially distressed properties (real estate “in the red”) in major U.S. cities, converting them into green space, public parks and adjacent land “banked” for future sustainable development.

CATS Publications

Publications sponsored or supported by the Center for Applied Transect Studies. These publications cover a range of topics concerning traditional urban design, and the repair of sprawl.

Sprawl Repair Module for the SmartCode

A SmartCode module addressing strategies for the infill of sprawl, including a transect of sprawl types. Repair strategies include overall patterns, street retrofits, and retrofit at the lot and block scale.