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Report outlines strategies for reviving state's 'legacy cities'

Ashley Hassett

An advisory group looking at strategies for rejuvenating the state’s ‘legacy cities’ says collaboration and coordination with the governor's Regional Economic Development Councils are crucial for upstate cities dealing with declining populations and job opportunities.

The University at Buffalo school of architecture, Syracuse University, CenterState CEO and the non-partisan American Assembly met last month and generated five main strategies in a report released by the Public Affairs Institute.

UB dean of architecture and planning Robert Shibley said the group quickly identified advanced manufacturing, medical education and cultural projects as critical to the viability of the region’s post-industrial cities.

“So those three sectors are supported then by other kinds of projects that then deal with workforce development, entrepreneurship and neighborhood revitalization and stabilization. Within each of those buckets there are dozens of projects that could advance our region,” said Shibley.

Shibley said there are a number of projects underway in Buffalo that match the group’s criteria. He cited the overhaul of the Larkin district, the outer harbor development, a student-led sculpture project (elevator B/hive city), and the ongoing construction at the Buffalo Niagara Medical campus.

“I think it’s very innovative to have the University at Buffalo move the school of medicine and biomedical sciences to the downtown campus. What that does is put a school of medicine in direct relationship to hospitals and healthcare, it also increases the population demographics downtown,” said Shibley.

The advisory group’s report also calls for additional clean energy production and several new small business incubators.