Release Date: May 6, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Members of the public are invited to see the results of a University at Buffalo urban design studio engaging residents in reimagining the heart of Buffalo’s Bailey Green neighborhood. The community event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at 66 Zenner St., Buffalo.
UB architecture students and faculty, along with community stakeholders, will be on hand to discuss the studio’s design proposals for “Bailey Commons,” a community-led development that would transform a series of vacant lots between Zenner and Kilhoffer streets into a mix of green open space, play space, and new urban infrastructure and housing.
The studio’s teaching team – Conrad Kickert, PhD, assistant professor of architecture and urban design in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, and Joy Kuebler, a nationally regarded landscape architect – employed a play-centric design process to create an inclusive and fun environment for residents to share their ideas for the future neighborhood hub.
Activities included walking tours of the neighborhood, design-themed card games, collaging, role play, and the use of everyday objects like boxes and buckets to try on design ideas.
“Rather than design and present, students have co-created proposals for neighborhood improvements through an intensively collaborative process called placemaking,” says Kickert. “This process invites us not to jump to conclusions, but to listen, engage, play and iteratively create new ideas with community members.”
The studio is supported by Harmac Medical Products, a longstanding Bailey Green anchor and the neighborhood’s largest employer. For the past decade, under the leadership of John Somers, Harmac has engaged faculty and students at the School of Architecture and Planning in neighborhood planning and design projects that advance a more vibrant, sustainable and healthy Bailey Green. That work has already led to infill and adaptive reuse housing development, green space, and an urban farm.
Bailey Commons will continue to take shape with input from the community, with the potential for several elements to advance as UB-led design-build projects.
“Our ultimate aim is to empower community members to take our designs further after the studio ends, and to make a positive, on-the-ground impact through achievable, championed design interventions,” said Kickert, who will attend Saturday’s session along with Kuebler, Somers, and UB School of Architecture and Planning Dean Robert G. Shibley.
Saturday’s event will include design presentations by students, opportunities to hear from residents who participated in the design process, and a “skills park” where neighborhood children can build imaginative structures with real tools and scrap materials.
Community organizations will host their own tables, with healthy food demonstrations by local retailers, seed planting stations, and a toy and bike raffle by the Stop the Violence Coalition. Free “I am a Bailey Green Champion” T-shirts will also be available.