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Elements of Urbanism: Buffalo

I just stumbled across this Metro Jacksonville piece titled, Elements of Urbanism: Buffalo. Ironically, its target readership is so distant (in so many ways) from Buffalo. Or is it? I’m sure that there are a good many expats living in northeast Florida – many who have mixed feelings about their hometown. I found it interesting that the article, posted in September, leads readers on a journey through the city’s darkest of times. All in all I came away with the feeling that we are not alone in our struggles. The post points out the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to avoiding the planning pitfalls that many cities have made in the past (and continue to make to this day). Of course the Convention Center and the Main Place Mall both get highest of points in the category of destructive ‘plop’ architecture.

The piece does not glorify Metro Jacksonville, as it does shed light on similar problems that both cities share. Problems like the overabundance of parking lots make it on both city’s ‘need to fix’ checklist. Buffalo eaks it out as a more walkable downtown – that’s certainly a plus. I was happy to see that the grain elevators and mills made it in the article as a plus, though many BRO readers have been arguing that point for years. Most of the photos shown are decent except the shots of the Chip Strip. The party district fared much better in the written comparison:

Downtown Nightlife:

Buffalo: West Chippewa Street,
located between Main Street and South Elmwood Avenue. This three block
stretch is home to high-energy dance clubs, crowded bars, trendy
coffeehouses, and restaurants.

Jacksonville: East Bay Street,
located between Main Street and Liberty Street.  This four block
stretch is home to four bars and clubs.

As usual, the comments at the end of the post were more interesting than the article. It’s funny to read about your hometown in the form of a thread when the discussion bandies about in all directions. The commentors range from the Buffalo novice to a commentor who uploaded detailed photos of City Hall. Be sure to read the discussion surrounding City Hall – some of the readers talk about a missed opportunity where Jacksonville almost scored a comparable art deco structure. And onto the next topic… I loved this comment:

Who wouldnt trade our Skyway for their light rail line?

… I bet you know exactly where that discussion led. Ultimately a BRO affiliate chimes in with (of course) a strong sentiment painting Buffalo as a city that is unfortunately misunderstood throughout the country:

Buffalo is one of America’s most under rated cities.  It has a
poor reputation around the country if it has one at all.   That
reputation is not entirely undeserved.  50 years of economic decline
and the collapse of American industry have left a lot of problems for
the city.  In the US we like to start fresh, throw out the old and
used up leaving all the problems behind for someone else to clean up. 
Buffalo has been left behind to clean up the mess.

Even so
Buffalo is an amazing city that needs to be cherished.  It is an
important part of our American heritage that can never be replaced. 
The streets are packed with incredible architecture and dense and
attractive neighborhoods are plentiful.  The images at the start of
this thread do not do the city justice.  If you love cities don’t write
off Buffalo!”

Incredibly, the photos provided by LEETS pretty much put an end to the Buffalo mystery on the Metro Jacksonville post. The images provided by LEETS left the remaining commentors in awe of Buffalo – way to go LEETS!

Photo: queenseyes

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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