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Lynda Schneekloth: Make the Inner Harbor a diverse neighborhood

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UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, offers this advice on development in the Inner Harbor now that Bass Pro has withdrawn: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.


  • Rick

    Amen.

  • Frits Abell

    Agreed. This is spot on-great thoughts.

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi

    Yes! Finally, someone who knows what they’re talking about! Governments can’t build authentic neighborhoods. Markets build authentic neighborhoods. The government should stick to building compelling streetscapes and auctioning off lots. As for uses, architecture, and construction, the market knows best, and a city of anarchy is a city of promise.

    We need to get out of the 1960s mentality of urban renewal, because it makes things worse and never works.

    http://www.changebuffalo.org/inner-harbor

  • stoptheinsanity

    We need to get out of the 1960s mentality of urban renewal, because it makes things worse and never works.

    We need to get self serving, corporate welfare enabling people like Levy, Quinn, Brown and the relocated Rich’s out of the equation and put it back in the hands of the people and honest developers that really have the good intentions of WNY as their priority, and not lining their and Bass Pro’s pockets with public money….

  • linda

    ditto … amen!!!! beautifully said …

  • Rebekah Williams

    Right on! Mixed-use, many doors, people-centered and local business!

  • wny

    how much do we bet byron brown has NO INTENTION of using public input, more games, staging, BS from the clown we have running this dog and pony show. How much you want to bet he didn’t read tis, and has no idea what this smart person is suggesting, it invloves things byron has no clue about : people, brainstorming, ,local talents, people who care, people with brains, people that went to college. people who don;t kiss his ring or any other part of him.

  • chrisrus

    Do you have a Wikipedia account with an anonymous username? I’m USER:chrisrus

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