2 Policies, Priorities and Programs

The vision and goal

The Buffalo Comprehensive Plan lays out a clear set of policies, development priorities and action programs aimed at achieving the community’s overarching goal for the city: to reverse Buffalo’s decline in population and employment and rebuild it for the 21st century. The plan is based on a powerful vision, clear principles and ordered priorities for taking action.

The community’s vision for the city, as discussed in the introduction, is for Buffalo to be “the way it is, only better.” In this future, Buffalo will be respected for its regional leadership; diverse, modern economy and transportation infrastructure; educated and skilled work force, fully employed; inclusive community life and harmonious social relations; comfortable and safe neighborhoods; and a unique natural, cultural, and built heritage that has been lovingly preserved, restored and enhanced. As Queen City of the Great Lakes, Buffalo will 
have also earned recognition for its leadership in ensuring the clean-up and restoration of the Great Lakes ecosystem and protecting the integrity and wise use of this immense water resource. 

Buffalo has many assets on which to build: the character, strength, knowledge and creativity of its people; great institutions of education, medicine and science; a rich cultural life; a great legacy in the physical city of streets, parks, buildings and homes; the city’s position on the Great Lakes and its fresh water resources; its location in the bi-national Golden Horseshoe; its border with Canada and its relation to the rest of the world. 

The result will be a city that still looks much like it looks today – only greener and fresher, fuller and more vibrant. Much of its urban fabric and many of its buildings will have been refurbished, but with many new and different uses. Nevertheless, there will still be room and opportunity for the Ellicotts, Olmsteds, Sullivans and Wrights of the 21st century to make their contributions to Buffalo’s tradition of excellence. 

Figure 40 As the City of Buffalo goes so goes the region. Each ring adds 25 miles of distance from downtown Buffalo (Source: Queen City Centre, 1999 and The Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo, 2003).

Figure 40 As the City of Buffalo goes so goes the region. Each ring adds 25 miles of distance from downtown Buffalo (Source: Queen City Centre, 1999 and The Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo, 2003). (Popup full image) 

The Comprehensive Plan promises to help Buffalo achieve this vision and meet its goal. It is a plan to transform Buffalo as the urban center of the Buffalo Niagara region through application of smart growth principles, targeted investments, and managed physical change to restore the economic well being, environmental health and sustainability of the city and promote an increase in population and employment. 

The plan follows the common sense principles that Buffalo should “fix the basics” of municipal service delivery and maintenance of the urban environment and “build on the assets” of the community and its great urban heritage. It identifies a clear set of development priorities for restoring the physical heritage of the city, transforming the economy, rebuilding neighborhoods and creating a greener, healthier city. Likewise, it sets out the land use concept, planning and zoning regulations, and in Part Three of the plan, the strategies and mechanisms for implementing the plan.