A workshop next month at the University at Buffalo will focus on how to keep Buffalo’s renaissance going and set the region up for a successful future.
That workshop, according to UB, will ask, “What’s next for the Buffalo Niagara region?”
It will bring local urban planners together with planners from across the county along with local leaders and community members to draft a plan for the future.
“What we do now will have consequences way down the road,” said Bradshaw Hovey, an urban planner, historian, and research associate with UB’s Schoold of Architecture and Planning.
He and others in the world of urban planning recognize Buffalo’s comeback; now they need to determine how to make it last and withstand inevitable changes of the future. Hovey says collaborators will discuss how to improve things like housing, governance, civic culture, land use and transportation.
“If we don’t come to grips with all of those things on a broad basis, I think we’re going to be behind the curve,” Hovey said.
Hovey says changes discussed now should consider future shifts in climate, demographics, and technological advancements.
“We’re not a big city. We don’t have the advantages of the great, big metropolitan areas, and so we’re going to have to be smart, we’re going to have to be ahead of the game,” he said.
For Buffalo’s lead economic development agency, future success needs to consider improving the region’s infrastructure. For example, Tom Kucharski of Invest Buffalo Niagara says Buffalo’s housing is among the oldest in the country.
“We need to start planning better as a region and getting all of our communities to start acting like a region if we’re to plan commercial corridors, places where industry can go, and most importantly where people want to live,” Kucharski said.
Kucharski believes Buffalo is “back on the map,” but like Hovey, agrees now is not the time to settle. He says it’s also key to meet the needs of what industries will be looking for.
“They’re looking for mid-level managers, they’re looking for mid to advanced IT professionals, programmers, coders, We need welders, we need nurses,” Kucharski said.
That’s why Kucharski hopes to bring Buffalo millennials home, keep the college students here, and get high schoolers into vocational programs.
“Momentum, just like in sports, it’s hard to get, and once you get it, it’s hard to maintain,” Kucharski said.
The workshop is scheduled for October 24 with a free presentation of its results on October 26. Learn more or sign up by clicking here.