BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo East Side
Neighborhood Transformation Partnership (ESNTP), a 2-year-old,
university-assisted approach to the regeneration of Buffalo's Fruit
Belt and Martin Luther King, Jr., Park communities, has received
the 2008 Outstanding Program Award from the international Community
The society provides leadership to professionals and citizens in
several countries across the spectrum of community development and
UB won the award for an "outstanding program utilizing the
principles of good practice as adopted by the society."
The award will be presented in June at the Awards Banquet of the
2008 Community Development Society Conference in Saskatoon,
Members of the winning team are from the Center for Urban
Studies in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the UB
School of Architecture and Planning.
They are Henry L. Taylor, Ph.D., center director and professor;
Robert Silverman, Ph.D., associate professor; Kelly Patterson,
Ph.D., assistant professor; Jacqueline Hall, ESNTP project
administrative officer; Jeff Kujawa, assistant director, and Frida
Ferrer, program coordinator.
"This award is an important milestone for the ESNTP and UB,"
says Silverman. "It puts us on the international stage as an
incubator for models to revitalize distressed inner-city
The ESNTP was created in 2006 with a Community Outreach
Partnership Center grant from the United States Department of
Housing and Urban Development and represents a significant
partnership between UB and two of the most disadvantaged
communities in Buffalo's inner-city.
The goal of the three-year project is to halt the decline of
these neighborhoods and to transform them into desirable places to
live, work and raise a family. Its second goal is to construct a
model of neighborhood regeneration that can be applied to
neighborhoods locally and across the nation.
The ESNTP encourages community development initiatives in the
target neighborhoods in the areas of: housing, economic development
and education. It also advocates for sustained, campus-wide
engagement in Buffalo's African-American community.
The partnership has three principal interactive projects that
link K-8 education with housing rehabilitation and commercial
First, it partners with the Fruit Belt's Futures Academy (School
37); the King Urban Life Center, which houses a charter school in
the Martin Luther King, Jr., Park neighborhood, and the Locust
Street Art School. Together they involve students in neighborhood
planning and improvement through the Futures Cities Computer
Modeling program, the Fruit Belt Community Garden, the Annual Fruit
Belt Neighborhood Clean-A-Thon and the Community Public Art
Second, ESNTP housing activities, headed by Silverman and
Patterson, build the capacity of local community-based
organizations, from block clubs to faith-based organizations and
advocacy groups and assist them in their efforts to address the
affordable housing needs of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and
Fruit Belt neighborhoods.
For instance, the ESNTP offers important technical assistance
and consulting services to the Urban Community Corporation (UCC), a
501C-3 community-based organization that trains at-risk youth and
low-income workers in the construction trades and works on the
rehabilitation of abandoned houses in the target neighborhoods. It
also provides technical assistance to St. John Baptist Church,
which has long been involved in the successful planning,
development and management of high-quality, low-income housing in
the Fruit Belt community.
In partnership with community businesses, ESNTP also has helped
establish a Fillmore Avenue Merchants Association and works with
businesses on a range of activities designed to improve the
corridor's physical environment, bolster safety and security and
provide owners with access to capital, training, and technical
Taylor says, "We believe that participation in a range of
activities in these neighborhoods is critical to developing a deep
understanding of the constellation and interaction of projects,
programs and activities that are required to bring about
significant change in neighborhoods experiencing distress.
"With this in mind," he says, "we also established a mini-grant
program with the UB Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy in the
UB Law School to encourage our faculty members to engage in
theoretical and applied research in urban education, housing and
neighborhood development, as well as in community economic