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Expert analysis: Why college grads are choosing Buffalo, urban areas

Downtown Buffalo. Photo: Douglas Levere

Release Date: October 22, 2014

“We may be seeing a reversal of the suburbanization that gutted many of the city’s stable neighborhoods and nearly its entire East Side starting in the 1950s.”
Daniel Hess, associate professor of urban and regional planning
University at Buffalo
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Downtown Buffalo. Photo: Douglas Levere

BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo researcher Daniel Hess, an associate professor of urban and regional planning, can discuss a new City Observatory report showing that the number of young, college-educated adults in Buffalo rose by 33.5 percent between 2000 and 2012.

Daniel Hess, PhD
Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning
University at Buffalo
dbhess@buffalo.edu
Hess may also be reached by phone through UB media relations representative Charlotte Hsu (chsu22@buffalo.edu, 716-645-4655)

Hess says many factors are drawing this demographic to the city of Buffalo, including:

  • a relatively low cost-of-living;
  • new investments in downtown neighborhoods by the government, private developers and institutions such as UB, which is building a $375 million medical school on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus;
  • and the city’s Green Code process, which looks to build walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods.

In an essay in The Buffalo News this March, Hess wrote, “We may be seeing a reversal of the suburbanization that gutted many of the city’s stable neighborhoods and nearly its entire East Side starting in the 1950s when inner- and outer-ring suburbs prospered.”

He says Buffalo’s changing population is reflective of a nationwide pattern of “demographic inversion,” a concept described by author Alan Ehrenhalt in a 2013 book. It’s a trend that poses both challenges and opportunities for the cities involved.

“At the heart of the matter is an astounding role reversal between central cities and their suburbs,” Hess wrote in the March essay. “As affluent and creative people return in large numbers to cities, low-wage workers and immigrants are consequently priced out and settle in suburbs.”

For a list of UB experts on other topics, visit http://www.buffalo.edu/news/faculty-experts.html.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu
News Content Manager
Sciences, Economic Development
Tel: 716-645-4655
chsu22@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBScience
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