Lynda Schneekloth: Make the Inner Harbor a diverse neighborhood
by Geoff Kelly - posted 3:08 pm, August 5, 2010
Lynda Schneekloth, professor at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, offers this advice on development in the Inner Harbor now that Bass Pro has withdrawn:
We need to build resilient cities and the Inner Harbor can play a great role for that in Buffalo if it is thought about as a diverse, connected, adaptable place. The Inner Harbor should be a new neighborhood—not a “shopping” district nor a “residential” district nor an “office” park. Seriously, it should be mixed use.
The historic street pattern is fantastic—perfect for people. The development should be ground-floor retail, perhaps some commercial on the second, and upper floors should be apartments. There should be lots of “doors” as a measure of diversity. Think about it, when you walk down Elmwood, count the number of doors you pass, each indicating that people are moving in and out and along. Contrast that with Main Place Mall or the Convention Center. The public spaces should also be diverse—one grand space for large public gatherings, some in-between spaces for smaller groups, and some smaller, wind protected sunny areas that can be used long into the winter and in the early spring.
This is not a complicated vision—it is not hard to do if one thinks of local and regional attractions, and designs for scale. But if you put a big box down there, or if you put only offices down there, people will only come for events—it won’t be a vibrant part of the city.