1,000 urban and regional planning academics coming to Buffalo for national conference this fall

View of downtown Buffalo with city landmarks such as Shea's Buffalo visible.

Downtown Buffalo will be a significant feature of this year's ACSP national conference, being hosted Oct. 25-28 by UB's Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Photo: Douglas Levere

Scholar activist Rosa Clemente will serve as keynote speaker

Release Date: May 11, 2018 This content is archived.

Portrait of UB Architecture and Planning Dean Robert Shibley.
“The Buffalo-Niagara region has turned a corner since the planning academy last gathered here in Buffalo. ”
Robert G. Shibley, dean, School of Architecture and Planning
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — One-thousand urban planners from across North America, Europe and Asia will be coming to Buffalo in October for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) national conference, being hosted by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning.

The conference runs from Oct. 25-28, and will take place primarily in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center downtown. Other conference-related events, including in-depth tours that will share some of the region’s unique stories with visitors, will take place around the area.

This year’s event is titled “The Continuing City: People, Planning, and the Long-Haul to Urban Resurgence.” Participants will explore stories of long-term planning and action, along with questions about equity on topics including economic development, waterfront redevelopment, parks planning, education, employment and transportation.

Rosa Clemente will serve as the keynote speaker. A native of South Bronx, Clemente is one of the most raw and honest political, social and cultural voices in the country. She was recently part of bringing #MeToo, #TimesUp and #PRontheMap to the 2018 Golden Globes.

Buffalo last hosted the ACSP conference in 1988, and much has changed in the city over the past 30 years. Faculty and students from UB, as well as community leaders from across Buffalo, will share lessons learned from Buffalo’s dogged, continually evolving comeback, while inviting the exchange of stories of city-making, and remaking, across all urban scales.

The conference also provides an opportunity for UB’s School of Architecture and Planning to showcase its recently renovated home in Hayes Hall, and to share with prospective students and urban planning scholars alike its city-as-laboratory approach to Buffalo and Western New York.

“The Buffalo-Niagara region has turned a corner since the planning academy last gathered here in Buffalo,” said Robert G. Shibley, dean of UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. “The Department of Urban and Regional Planning, likewise, has grown and matured over those three decades, in large part through the role it has played in that resurgence. We’re eager to share those stories.”

A series of mobile workshops will give conference participants a chance to learn more about the region through tours centered around affordable housing and social justice; Buffalo’s West Side; Niagara Falls; Buffalo’s many architectural treasures, which include the Louis Sullivan-designed Guaranty Building and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House; innovations in transportation; and the historic grain elevators that add a rustic beauty to the city’s waterfront.

In addition to the conference itself, UB is hosting two other key events around it:

  • A Predoctoral Workshop for Students from Underrepresented Groups. ACSP has conducted four similar workshops since 2013, but this will be the first happening near the East Coast. The workshop is intended to help boost the diversity of faculty in urban planning schools by reaching students from underrepresented groups. “We are delighted to host this event, since it can be a critical part of changing the diversity of faculty members who teach urban planning at U.S. colleges and universities,” said Daniel B. Hess, chair of UB’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning. “A larger aim is to attract a more diverse student body to study urban planning and then join the profession.”
  • A “What’s Next for Buffalo-Niagara?” workshop that will bring local subject matter experts and stakeholders together with planning scholars from around the nation to consider what the region needs to do – now and over the next 50 years – to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Participants will examine the legacy of recent planning, ongoing work, and looming “mega-trends” to suggest what the region should look like by 2068.

ACSP is a consortium of more than 100 university departments and programs offering urban planning degrees in North America, as well as programs that offer degrees affiliated with planning. The organization also includes students and individual and retired faculty.

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