This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Top national planning honors go to UB projects developed for Buffalo community

Published: April 28, 2005

Contributing Editor

Whatever Buffalo's urban development and planning issues, the city has an enormous boon in the work of the faculty members and students in the School of Architecture and Planning and their cohorts in the community.

The American Planning Association honored two recent UB-City of Buffalo projects with its top awards at its annual conference in San Francisco.

Robert Shibley, professor in the School's Department of Architecture and widely recognized for his work in community planning, received the APA's 2005 Outstanding Planning Award for "Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo."

The plan was developed by Shibley and his colleagues in the school's Center for Urban Design on behalf of the City of Buffalo, its client, in collaboration with Buffalo Place Inc. "Queen City Hub" has involved more than 10 years of community outreach, planning and implementation; more than 1,000 Buffalonians and 20 projects have played a role in developing it.

Samina Raja, assistant professor in the school's Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and 11 graduate students in her Fall 2003 graduate planning studio received the APA's 2005 Best Student Project Award for "Food for Growth: A Community Food Program for Buffalo's West Side."

UB students have won the award for an unprecedented two years in a row.

"The West side project was exceptional and deserves the attention it has received over the last year and a half," says Kathryn Foster, associate professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. "It broke new ground in merging research, community action and education in the emerging subdiscipline of community food security."

"Food for Growth" is a food system plan for the City of Buffalo with special focus on West Side neighborhoods. Raja and her students assessed the condition of the existing community food system and its impact on the local economy, land use, transportation and the city environment. They then explored ways to build and strengthen a sustainable, community-based food system that would ensure West side residents access to healthy, fresh and affordable food at all times.

The project previously was honored by the APA at the regional and state level for its quality, innovative design, relevance and high potential for implementation. It has helped leverage an additional $350,000 in funding for its client, the Massachusetts Avenue Project, directed by Diane Picard.

Shibley's project, too, received previous regional and statewide recognition from the APA. It received the 2004 Outstanding Planning Project for Comprehensive Planning from the Western New York Section and the 2004 Award for Comprehensive Planning from the Upstate New York Chapter.