Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)




Jamie Winders

Second Advisor

Amardo Rodriguez




On October 3rd, 1929, at nine o’clock in the morning, the national retail giant Sears-Roebuck & Company opened the doors to a new facility strategically located on Syracuse’s South Salina Street and what was formerly known as West Raynor Avenue. This was 1 of 319 store locations opened by Sears that year alone. In 1964 and 1965, the S-R & Co. continued to grow in Central New York with expansion of the Automobile Center at the Salina location and opening of another new store in the Fairmount Fair Shopping Center North of Syracuse. This expansion of Sears’ presence in Syracuse hardly foreshadowed the disinvestment that would occur 19 years later in 1979. Now, approaching 94 years since inception, the original facility still stands in the South Side of Syracuse as a hollowed-out vault used for storing medical archives. The building’s physical existence is a derelict ode to a neighborhood that was once a stable component of a rising local economy here in Syracuse. This intersection of the South Side at South Salina and Mr. Luther King Jr. East/West is a transitional place; the spaces of which stand stagnantly, perpetually arrested by decline after decades of emigration and disinvestment. Urban development processes are the primary vehicles through which the consequential geographies of cityspaces are created. This project is designed to scale down the wider debates of spatial and social justices by examining how cityspace is reshaped here in Syracuse. Beyond looking at the power of space and place, I am hoping to explore the power of perceptions of space, the goal being to sharpen understandings of what factors both drive and stunt urban development processes. The ultimate purpose of this project would be in re-implementing that power of perception to engage stakeholders in re-claiming the lost spaces within cityspace, like those along Syracuse’s South Side. Leveraging the discourses of urban geography, culture, and justice as channels for community empowerment, this project is set to amplify both the historic and contemporary narratives of strategic spatial transformations found in the inner-city neighborhoods of Syracuse. This project explores how certain inner-city spaces in Syracuse are reshaped through urban development, while processes of spatial isolation and injustices seemingly usurp other areas of similar reshaping. I draw on findings from a number of disciplines including urban theory, social & cultural sciences, landscape design and architecture. In depth archival analysis is used to present this former Sears-Roebuck and Company department store as a central research site for the project. Core perception data is further substantiated by qualitative research, conducted in the South Side and surrounding areas of Central New York in order to best develop this argument.


Open Access



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