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Aspirations and Inspirations: Imagining the Buffalo Waterfront

Next weekend, the City Honors School will welcome two urban visionaries to their auditorium to open up dialogue on how to improve the Buffalo Waterfront.

Aspirations and Inspirations: Imagining the Buffalo Waterfront will take place on Saturday, November 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. and will feature an in-depth discussion about how land use decisions and creativity can transform the waterfront into a more appealing and sustainable aspect of the city.  Leading this discussion will be Fred Kent, the founder and director of Project for Public Spaces (PPS) and Tony Goldman, the founder and CEO of The Goldman Properties Company.

Kent can be described as “a thinker” who works to transform public spaces and build stronger communities through his work with PPS.  PPS is a nonprofit group that provides resources, tools and ideas about placemaking and how to use local assets to create spaces that revitalize the community while simultaneously reflecting its historical value. PPS has worked in over 2500 different communities in each of the U.S. and 40 different countries.  Their projects include improving parks, transportation, markets, downtowns, civic centers, multi-use spaces, campuses, squares and waterfronts.  PPS works with public and private organizations, federal, state and municipal agencies, business improvement districts, neighborhood associations and other civic groups to help create spaces within the community that will help strengthen it.

Goldman also brings plenty of urban development experience to the discussion. His company has worked to transform neighborhoods in the Upper West Side, Wall Street Financial District and Soho in New York City, as wells as areas in Philadelphia, Miami and Boston.  In October 2010, Goldman earned the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his work.  Goldman’s appreciation for art has made him a leader in the public art movement and has contributed to his work in designing and preserving urban spaces.  Goldman created a 3,000 square foot public canvas on Houston Street in SoHo which has brought artistic inspiration to the neighborhood.  He has created a similar concept in his “Walls of Wynwood” by commissioning the walls of several buildings in Miami’s old wholesale district to various artists to showcase their work.  His company works to use creative approaches to designing and developing undervalued land and buildings to revitalize the communities they lie within.

In addition to hearing the ideas of Kent and Goldman, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a waterfront soundscape by Bryan Wanzer, a metaphorical mime and puppet show by Michele Costa and sculptural designs by Dennis Maher.

The City Honors School is located at 186 E. North Street.  For more information on the event, visit the Facebook page
or visit the Buffalo Waterfront website.

Written by Sarah Maurer

Sarah Maurer

I moved to Buffalo to attend Canisius College in 2007 and began writing for Buffalo Rising as a journalism intern in 2010. Working with Newell and meeting numerous entrepreneurs, activists and everyday folks who were working to make their city better made a huge impact on my decision to stay here. After witnessing all the positive development and grassroots initiatives happening in neighborhoods throughout the city, I was inspired to pursue a term of service in AmeriCorps and a career in Buffalo’s non-profit sector. I currently work in the housing department at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY and am excited to be a part of their ongoing efforts to revitalize the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood. I also volunteer as the project coordinator for Artfarms Buffalo. I continue to write for Buffalo Rising because I love having the opportunity to stay connected to those working toward positive changes for the Queen City.

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  • St Jimmy

    It is NEXT weekend (this weekend is the 30th-31st)

  • queenseyes

    Just updated the post – the event is next weekend, Saturday Nov 6, 2010 – 2:00 – 4:00 pm.

  • Chris

    Hopefully these guys will provide more than talk. These are the type of people that should have been brought in in the first place. Pay them the extra money.
    Does anyone know why Benderson was chosen in the first place? Is it because they have been so good at getting WalMarts to infest our region?

  • suburban_hillbilly

    Ah yes, more talk…exactly what the waterfront needs. Lots and lots of talk and NO ACTION.

  • gail42

    My God, more talk. Do something for goodness sake.

  • Chris

    None of these people are in a position to do anything.
    If you remember Bass Pro backed out as the center piece of harbor development. This action requires everyone to step back and look at what is being done. This is a part of that.
    Just doing something is what got us main place mall, the rainbow mall, etc. It appears that these individuals have good track records on quality developments that retain the fabric of the community.

  • KeepItSimple

    Incidently, Tony Goldman is Mark Goldman’s brother. (Mark rescued the Calumet Building in the ’80s and wrote the Buffalo History book “City on the Edge”.)

  • LouisTully

    I’ve bad-mouthed Benderson in the past and got thumbs down. Not sure why; and not sure why, in response to your question.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Why has the ECHDC been left untouched? Why is Toadstool Levy still in charge? Why? I don’t understand why a fire hasn’t been lit to their ass. There has been no developments since…? I agree, people like these men should be leading this.
    Time to put Jordan Levy in the growing garbage bin of trash that needs to be sent out of town, see: Quinn, Brown, Collins, et al.

  • jumpingbuffalo

    If they can create something along the lines of the Toronto islands. A small residential community and a great place to bring the family for the day, a park-like trail, a mini-theme park, an amphitheater, a seasonal shopping area open to local vendors only.
    Make this a less commercial portion of the waterfront.

  • bobbycat

    I don’t care what they decide, let’s get something done!

  • townline

    I think that must have been what they said when UB was built in Amherst.

  • sho’nuff

    We should be focusing on the future, not decisions that were made almost 50 years ago.

  • townline


  • sho’nuff

    Get over it! UB Amherst isn’t going away. They made the decision to build there in the 60s. Water under the bridge, move on!

  • townline

    Wasn’t really my point. I was alluding to the idea not caring what happens as long as something happens – that’s a great way to end up with a shitty end product..

  • Dan

    > Does anyone know why Benderson was chosen in the first place? Is it because they have been so good at getting WalMarts to infest our region?
    My guess: historic ties to the area, they’ve got connections in the retail community, and they’ve done lifestyle centers in Florida.

  • suburban_hillbilly

    They probably did. It seems to have been a solid decision considering the growth UB has enjoyed over the past 30 years.

  • Greg

    yea but the original plan was to build it downtown at some empty parcel near the waterfront. They persisted with the Amherst property even when the public found out the whole place was swamp land.
    But hey, who would have liked downtown campus anyway? Just build something already, right?