Setting a High Bar for Buffalo Niagara’s Communities

Buffalo Niagara NeighborhoodsChoice, inclusion, quality, connections and sustainability underlie a region-wide vision for Complete Communities throughout Buffalo Niagara.

In the midst of  major demographic and economic change, a team of regional stakeholders came together as part of the One Region Forward regional planning project to set a vision and a course for Buffalo Niagara’s communities.

As part of an extensive outreach and engagement effort coordinated by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, a series of stakeholder committees were formed to build upon a legacy of planning in the region. Together, these stakeholders examined the trends, current conditions and future projects using the tools of statistical analysis and on-the-ground knowledge amassed through direct daily interaction within neighborhoods across the region.

Complete Communities CommitteeThese stakeholders generously volunteered their time, effort and expertise from a cross-sector perspective, representing local government, non-profits, community groups and private sector representatives. In addition the general public was invited to participate in the conversation both at the periodic Community Congresses as well as on-line where all meeting presentations and minutes were posted along with a series of feedback tools for joining the discussion.

The resulting overarching goals put people first, creating a vision of the region in which all residents are able to obtain quality housing in a neighborhood of their choosing and in which all communities have high-quality amenities while providing access to opportunity. At the same time, the vision created through these goals also sees a community that both respects the unique housing stock and traditional neighborhoods that exist throughout the region and preserves and enhances this legacy for future generations.


Housing Choice and Accessibility.

Goal: Expand choices for distinctive, high quality neighborhood environments in the city, the suburbs, village centers, and rural hamlets

Goal: Provide equal opportunity for all to choose from a full range of housing types, tenures, locations and prices throughout the region.

Goal: Employ inclusive design and supportive housing to accommodate all residents regardless of ability or means.


Vibrant and Connected Communities. 

Goal: Design neighborhoods to be safe, healthy, accessible and walkable appropriate to central city, suburban, or rural contexts

Goal: Create mixed-use neighborhoods where daily needs are accessible on foot, bicycle, or transit as well as by automobile.

Goal: Focus housing investments where residents will have easier access to employment especially by transit and other modes.


Respect for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Goal: Preserve and revitalize our existing housing stock to preserve history, embedded energy, and neighborhood integrity.

Goal: Design new housing and retrofit existing housing for energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy production.


In a later post, the Make Communities blog will outline how we worked with the team to transform these goals into actionable strategies for Buffalo Niagara. In the meantime, the full Complete Communities report is available here.






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