Today’s photo was taken on a summer night in Downtown Rochester in an area dispassionately referred to as “Parcel 5.” This acre-and-change rectangular area of unused land that sits in the center of the city’s core has been a hot topic for years with regard to development. The former site of an urban mall, the area is now covered with rough gravel, sitting empty as an uncomfortable base waiting to be activated.
Luckily, Rochester’s thriving summer festival scene activates this space a few times a year, unveiling the enormously energized potential for Parcel 5 as a center of public space for the city. This Fringe Festival event featured a tremendous visual array of giant orb-like balloons set to music and a story of life on earth. Thousands of people crowded into this flux space with the skyline as a vibrant backdrop to enjoy the spectacle. People who would NEVER visit Rochester’s downtown were there and seeing our city for what it can be.
This image shows the power that public space can have in any city center. The importance of programmable spaces like these cannot be overstated!