Buffalo: Where the Urban Dream is Going Cheap


From tiny apartment to big front porch

Buffalo has everything going for it; green hydropower, water, railways, canals, a temperate climate; it should be a hot spot. Instead it has a smaller population than it did in 1907 and acres of empty houses. Adam Sternbergh writes in New York magazine about how New Yorkers are taking notice and moving there- mostly the creative types that can work anywhere (and don't have a lot of money)

It is "a story about choices. It's a story about reaching that pivotal moment when the dream life you imagined for yourself in New York no longer seems attainable or attractive, or simply no longer seems worth the wearying chase."

I hope it is the first of many stories about the revival of the American rust belt, where there is so much infrastructure already in place, so much opportunity to rebuild green, sustainable, walkable towns and cities.Choice paragraph:

Buffalo has seen hard times for a long time, but as a city, it has reason for new hope. The popularity of the book The Rise of the Creative Class, by Richard Florida, released in 2002—the first of four books by Florida on the imperative for cities to attract a certain kind of young creative professional—has given places like Buffalo a blueprint for economic revival. When I interviewed Buffalo's mayor, Byron Brown, he quoted directly from the Florida playbook. The city is striving to be more bike friendly. It's supporting co-op housing for artists as a way to draw people back downtown. "We have all the amenities to attract the creative class, and to build on the creative class that already exists here," said Brown. The good news is that Buffalo has qualities that tend to attract creative people: cheap rents, derelict industrial buildings, the romantic aura of a faded empire. The bad news is that a lot of other Rust Belt cities do, too, so Buffalo competes with every Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and Toledo on the map. In The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida ranked the attractiveness of American cities using both a "Tolerance Index" and a "Creativity Index." Out of 49 cities, Buffalo ranked 47th in tolerance and 48th in creativity. ::New York

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Tags: Urban Life | Urban Planning

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