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|Annual Conference Local Host|
Local Host Committee
About Our Local Host
UB's two-year MUP is built on a foundation of planning concepts, research methods, and applied learning through studios, culminating in a professional project or thesis. Six specializations provide options for in-depth, focused study of emergent fields:
Community Health & Food Systems
Economic Development Planning
Environmental & Land Use Planning
Neighborhood Planning & Community Development
Urban Design & Physical Planning
Local Host Theme
The Continuing City: People, Planning, and the Long Haul to Urban Resurgence
Buffalo has been the subject of a recent spate of “urban comeback” stories in the national press. Typically, these stories leave an impression that Buffalo’s recovery from long-term economic, physical, and social decline has somehow been a sudden thing. Like most planners, many of our citizens understand that improvements in the quality of urban life are the result of persistent and recursive planning and action across decades. Local conversations, like contemporary academic discourses, also acknowledge that these improvements are ongoing, partial, incomplete, and unevenly distributed.
Buffalo is currently enjoying an apparent explosion of new housing in and around our downtown. It seems sudden but center city housing has been a continuing focus of discussion, planning, and action for the past 40 years. And that’s only one example of how we can better understand the dynamics of planning and action when we look at them over “the long haul.”
The theme of The Continuing City will provide us with an opportunity to tell our stories while it invites others to share theirs, all within the longer temporal frame the theme suggests. This can be as appropriate to growing cities like Houston, Washington, or San Francisco as it is to our kindred “rust-belt” cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland or disaster-battered cities like New Orleans. All have been made and remade in an ongoing way. In any of these cases planning plays a crucial role as governments, citizens, developers, and others strive to shape the future of their cities, year after year and decade after decade.
The temporal frame of “the long haul” also encourages participants to look at the development and propagation over time of ideas about the city, the role of embedded professionals and activists (Jane Jacobs’ “people who stay put”), the growth of specific (and local) knowledges in city-making, the long term development of advocacy organizations, the construction of procedures and protocols of participation and planning, the development of the institutional bases for planning, and the evolution of the physical and social city itself.
At the same time, The Continuing City theme urges participants to look forward, not just by years, but by decades, even centuries. If we got to where we are today through sustained action, long struggle, and continuous development we can imagine more distant futures by projecting the same kinds of step-wise processes forward.