The Surprising Architectural Legacy of Buffalo, New York

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Buffalo isn't just part of the Rust Belt. As this video tribute to the city shows, it's filled with striking examples of urban design.

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I've been thinking about Buffalo, New York lately. Part of it is that the National Trust is holding (and promoting the heck out of) its next annual preservation conference there. And another part is that my friend Barbara Campagna, a preservationist and green architect of some significance, just set up shop there. Barbara believes that "reusing what we have—buildings, landscapes, communities—is the best way to make the biggest impact in controlling climate change," and I couldn't agree more. (BTW, go here for a nice personal essay about Barbara's evolution as an architect.)

Buffalo is a fine place to be thinking about such values—indeed, such imperatives—in part because of its extraordinary architectural legacy. As regular readers know, few things tick me off as much as those who write off our older industrial cities as relics of the past, as if they had no future. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and this wonderfully produced video explains why. Enjoy and learn:



This post also appears on NRDC's Switchboard.
Image: Seth Tisue/flickr

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Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More

Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.
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