Regional planning agencies in the Southern Tier are working toward a goal of cutting 80% of their greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

The plan is called Cleaner Greener Southern Tier and is due by the end of the year. In addition to seeking major cuts from 1990 emissions levels by the middle of this century, it will be used to pursue funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development (NYSERDA).

The projects that would help the region reach 80% cuts are ambitious: an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in the eight participating counties, more energy efficient power generation through wind farms and solar power, the expansion of inter-city mass transit and a region-wide electric vehicle infrastructure, among many others.

Courtesy photo / Bergmann Associates

There's a lot going on in downtown Rochester these days.

A new bus barn is set to open next year, there are plans to fill in a section of the aging Inner Loop, and the redevelopment of the former Midtown Plaza is slowly taking shape.

So to keep up with what may or may not come to pass, the city of Rochester is tapping a local engineering firm to build them a powerful new tool: detailed 3D modeling software that lets planners zoom around a Rochester of the future.

Emma Jacobs / WRVO

From 1998 to 2007, Onondaga County added 7,000 new housing units. Housing unit size went up 40 percent.

The county also added 61 miles of road.

From 2001 to 2008,  the county laid 147 miles of water-moving pipes.

But in all that time, the population of Onondaga County - which includes Syracuse - has remained totally flat.

Meaning: less water is actually being delivered, but the cash-strapped county is spending more on the infrastructure to deliver it.

Oliver Hine / via Flickr

Mid-twentieth century Syracuse was confronted with something new and modern: a plan for an elevated interstate running through the heart of the city. Now, the 'Cuse is trying to imagine what life might be like without it.

"The Viaduct," as the elevated portion of Interstate-81 is known, was completed in the late '60s. It's now nearing its expiration date.

Doug Letterman / via Flickr

Teri Cameron lives in Syracuse's Near West Side neighborhood, and has grown accustomed to watching people tramp through the yards of vacant houses.

"They figure it's a good cross walk," she quips.

Cameron is on a crusade to keep her yard nice - she's just set up a new fence to keep out those looking for a shortcut. But that doesn't solve the problem of the dilapidated houses that checkerboard her neighborhood.

Her solution?

"Knock 'em down," she says.