This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

’Re-mapping Buffalo’

Conference to focus on issues of city’s urban spaces

Published: March 27, 2008

Contributing Editor

Issues of space, identity, urban planning, cultural geography, greening and other topics relevant to Buffalo’s urban spaces will be subjects of a public community symposium to be held April 4 and 5 in two city architectural venues adapted for reuse.

The symposium, "SURVEY: Re-Mapping Buffalo's Urban Space,” is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Graduate Group for Social Engagement at UB.

It will feature more than a dozen presenters from several UB professional schools and humanities departments; community organizations active in the restoration of, and innovative planning for, the City of Buffalo; notable members of the Buffalo community known for their ongoing work in urban documentation and revitalization; and representatives of three Syracuse University community-based redevelopment projects.

The program will begin at 10 a.m. on April 4 in the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (formerly the First Church of Christ, Scientist, built in 1911) at 220 North St.

On April 5, it will begin at 10 a.m. in the King Urban Life Center (originally St. Mary of Sorrows Church—also known as the Church of the Seven Dolors—built in 1887) at 938 Genesee St.

The symposium will be free and open to the public.

Conference topics will include the comprehensive plan being developed for the 40 percent growth of UB, including in downtown Buffalo; design, use and reuse of Buffalo’s urban spaces; space and identity; virtual city space; green spaces and the social and ecological effects of modes of transportation; Buffalo as an arts and historical preservation site; industrial heritage and postindustrial economies; the socio-political impact of architecture and city-planning; gentrification; and theories of space and culture.

Presenters also will look at aspects of development and gentrification, equity and access to city resources, the historical development of Buffalo, urban pollution and conservation.

The program will include a series of 20-minute presentations in the form of scholarly papers, reports, art installations, audio and visual productions, and videos, each followed by discussion.

“Spaces originally are designed with a particular intention in mind,” says symposium coordinator Crystal Hickerson. “Those intentions are often subverted, however, by the way people actually use and move through them. These issues, as they relate to Buffalo, past and present, are what we will consider here.”

Event co-sponsors are the UB Humanities Institute, the departments of English and Comparative Literature, the Eugenio Donato Chair (Rodolphe Gasché) in the Department of Comparative Literature and Imagining America, a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities and design.

Buffalo community organizations and agencies will be represented by speakers from the Massachusetts Avenue Project, the King Life Center, Squeaky Wheel and Youth Media Institute, the Subversive Theater, the Web site “Buffalo Architecture and History,” PUSH Buffalo, Buffalo First, Queen City Farm, Buffalo Blue Bicycle and the Buffalo Micro Parks Project, and by author and community activist Mark Goldman, among others.