path for a sustainable future

Traditional Neighborhoods

Traditional Neighborhoods reflect design characteristics prevalent in our earliest settlement patterns up until the time when automobiles became prevalent, in many instances, representing over 100 years of architectural heritage. These neighborhoods were developed around the pedestrian and provide a distinct sense of place.

Traditional Neighborhoods generally include those residential areas located within the City of Syracuse, incorporated villages and first ring suburban neighborhoods.


Within the County’s Traditional Neighborhoods, public streets are laid out in a tree-lined grid or modified grid format with sidewalks almost uniformly present and serving as connections to the core of the community. Architectural characteristics vary by age and represent a broad palette of styles and periods. Residential densities range from four to eight dwelling units per acre and often include a mix of single- and two-family structures within each block and provide the critical mass necessary to support Village Core areas and neighborhood retail. Front yard setbacks are minimal with the front door or porch playing a prominent role in residential architecture. Parking is typically located behind buildings and homes.


An entire industry – New Urbanism – has established itself around the belief that traditional neighborhoods are critical for maintaining a sustainable land use pattern. Central New York is fortunate to have highly functional and sought after traditional neighborhoods across our landscape and the preservation and enhancement of these areas is critical to the success of Onondaga County. Communities should promote their Traditional Neighborhoods and ensure that these areas continue to provide a wide range of housing options for all incomes and ages, maintain densities necessary to support transit and offer accessible safe and connective pedestrian and bicycle systems that encourage a more healthy lifestyle.

Sample Strategies

  • Develop design guidelines and zoning review recommendations to protect the characteristics and qualities of Traditional Neighborhoods.
  • Identify opportunities for infill development that is consistent with the desired neighborhood form. This should include both residential and commercial opportunities.
  • Repair aging sewer and water infrastructure typically characteristic of these neighborhoods.
  • Encourage the inclusion of neighborhood-scale retail and service providers in walkable communities.