UB's Plans for Buffalo's City Center, Waterfront, Olmsted Parks Receive More Awards

Shibley, UB School of Architecture and Planning put Buffalo's changing face on the map

Release Date: November 25, 2008 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Urban Design Project (UDP) headed by urban and regional planner Robert Shibley in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, has received four new awards for its work in developing plans for Buffalo's urban center, waterfront and Olmsted Parks system.

The International Economic Development Council awarded it an Honorable Mention for Neighborhood Development for Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo, developed on behalf of the City of Buffalo. It was presented at the council's annual meeting in Atlanta on Oct. 31.

The plan was based on more than 10 years of community outreach, planning and implementation, and more than 1,000 Buffalonians and 20 projects played a role in developing it. The plan also received the American Planning Association's Outstanding Planning Award in 2005.

Shibley, professor of architecture and planning and senior advisor to UB President John B. Simpson for campus planning and design, is also helping to head development of UB's comprehensive physical plan, "Building UB."

UB's Urban Design Project also received two Planning Excellence for a Best Practice Awards, one from the Upstate Chapter of the New York State American Planning Association on Oct. 9, and in July, one from the Western New York Section of the chapter for Queen City Waterfront -- Buffalo Waterfront Corridor Initiative: A Strategic Plan for Transportation Improvements.

The waterfront plan is based on a clear and simple vision that Buffalo, once a waterfront city, will be a waterfront city once again.

Shibley says, "As a community, Buffalo is committed to making its waterfronts more accessible and environmentally healthy, to reconnecting neighborhoods to our waterfronts and getting best possible economic use from them, and to improving the efficiency of our waterfront transportation corridor and making sure it serves all our other goals."

The plan is based on what he calls "a great legacy of more than 120 plans on more than 80 sites, all aimed at achieving the great potential of our waterfronts. It incorporates detailed analytical and creative effort, the work of thousands of citizens active in planning, and dozens and dozens of durable proposals for action to improve our waterfronts developed over the past 30 years. The vision is grounded in a methodical assessment of three important bodies of work: what we have done, plans we have made and policies we have set."

The UDP received a fourth award, The Planning and Analysis Honor of Excellence Award from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture, for The Olmsted City -- The Buffalo Olmsted Park System: Plan for the 21st Century, edited by Shibley and Lynda Schneekloth, professor of architecture and planning. The award was given at the annual meeting of the chapter on Nov. 7 in Utica, N.Y.

More than five years ago, Buffalo's Olmsted Conservancy began to research and write the guiding principles for the restoration and management of the 1,200 acres of Olmsted-designed parkland in Buffalo, which includes six large parks and their adjacent parkways and circles.

Shibley says, "The outcome is the Plan for the 21st Century, a 20-year, project-by-project operations plan for rebuilding the parks, which in turn will help to rebuild neighborhoods and the entire community."

The plan, developed under the direction of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the City of Buffalo and the County of Erie, includes a blueprint for the future of Olmsted's cultural landscape; guiding principles for restoration and management such as protecting and rehabilitating the Olmsted system to restore its historic integrity, brand the system as a unique historic landscape, promote safe, secure diverse and equitable use of the park system, work with partners to ensure meaningful community participation, promote sustainable strategies, ecological diversity, green design and best management practices, expand the system to connect the parks throughout the city and to connect to the Niagara River Greenway, use the parks and parkways as a community and economic development strategy for adjacent neighborhoods, and manage and maintain the system through daily best practices to achieve the historic integrity, public use and sustainable practices.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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