The other day I was talking to and East Side resident/activist who said that she was hopeful that more of the “city-wide” development would start to creep eastward. There have been signs of hope, with Sinatra looking at a property on East Ferry, these projects coming online, and a couple of political-driven economic initiatives, but when you consider the vast size of the East Side, there is still a lot of work ahead.
This morning a BRO reader sent along “The Racial Dot Map” that depicts our racial state of affairs, according to 2010 Census Block Data. You can visit the map by clicking here and zooming in on Buffalo.
“Buffalo is very segregated, aside from the West Side, which seems to be a melting pot,” said the BRO reader. “Also, looking at most other northeast cities, the groups that are most concentrated are whites and blacks compared to Hispanics and Asians which are more “sprinkled” throughout.”
As many of us our aware, Buffalo was once a model for integration (see CityLab article). Today it’s a completely different story. Of course if we’re going to figure out the base issues with segregation, we need to look closer at the same issue within the school system.
In past years, many people have said that once the West Side begins to work itself out (clearly happening), investors will begin to look at the East Side (starting to happen). But what will the future of the East Side look like? Will investors start at the Main Street dividing line and go street to street (much the way it happened on the West Side, starting at Richmond). Will it be sensitive and inclusive in nature? (see The Mayor’s City of Buffalo Opportunity Pledge) Will there be roadblocks due to the fear of gentrification (yes, I said it). When the West Side began to take off, fear of gentrification was rampant… now look at the map above and see that it is the most diverse area of the city.
Looking at the vast potential of the East Side, and a number of stronghold neighborhoods that anchor the various districts, what would be the most prudent plan of action to bring services, amenities, residential opportunities, jobs, and the like, to a part of the city that could use an economic boost?