“A Blueprint for Re-renewal” focuses on the human costs of urban renewal.  In the late 1930s,  leafy-green residential streets in Syracuse, New York, the neighborhood just to the south of the now infamous 15th Ward, was razed to make room for public housing intended mostly for white families.  In the late 1960s, the actual 15th Ward, a thriving, predominantly Black and Jewish community of local businesses and small-scale residential fabric, was demolished to make room for elevated highway I-81. Current plans are to demolish Pioneer Homes, one of the oldest public housing developments in the state (and in the U.S.) and at least two other public housing neighborhoods, and to replace them with a “mixed-income” development.  The renewal plan is supported by the Syracuse Housing Authority and the City of Syracuse with backing from the Allyn Family Foundation, a private family philanthropy, and Purpose Built Communities, an organization that is supported by one of the wealthiest men in the world.  “A Blueprint for Re-renewal” asks questions about the goals of contemporary urban renewal efforts, who renewal is actually for, who will benefit, and who is part of the conversation to protect the social networks and rich culture of several public housing neighborhoods.


  • Maggie Sardino, Writer
  • Mehak Saroha, Editor


  • Reverend H. Bernard Alex, Bishop & Senior Pastor, Victory Temple Fellowship Church
  • Madeleine Hamlin, Ph. D., Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
  • Vincent Love, Center for Community Alternatives
  • Asst. Prof. Patrick Oberle,  Ph.D., Dept. of Geography, Sacramento State
  • Dana Olesch, Ph.D. candidate, Dept. of Anthropology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
  • Prof. Lawrence Vale, Associate Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT

“A Blueprint for Re-Renewal” is a production of City Scripts

A documentary about Pioneer Homes and its planned demolition