Under The Radar - Operation Rebuild Buffalo



By Francis White


One of my favorite FaceBook bloggers from Buffalo NY put up an interesting metaphor the other day about Buffalo being like the old board game "Operation".

 "Living in ‪#‎BuffaloNY‬ (or I should say trying to put the town back together again, whatever that means) is like playing that old school board game "Operation". It's a body or patient whose had some of its insides removed. Some of the organs are still there, but many of the others have to be put back in. Here's the deep part - when putting an organ back in its proper place (you can't put the liver where the stomach goes etc) it has to be done the right way. It has to be done with a steady hand and care. If you're not careful you'll hurt the body (the patient). ‪#‎BuffaloForRealForReal‬" - Lonnie Barlow

There are so many movements to try to bring Buffalo back, that anyone who's not been watching or participating in the the redevelopment game on any level in this city won't even know where to start if they wanted to get familiar with it. It's with this in mind that I share with you what One Region Forward has been doing. It may not be the cure all, but it's a good start (besides the work the that community based groups are doing) to get to know what's been going on in this town and to see what people living around the area think. They've been having a series of community planning congresses in different parts of Buffalo (Western New York) for a little over a year now. PUSH Buffalo took some members to one planning meeting back in the winter. They are having an Idea Summit this Saturday. This Idea Summit is a culmination of the work and the info they've been able to gather from the community through these congresses in this span of time.

This is from a recent press release they've published on the event:

"Please join One Region Forward and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning as it celebrates the inaugural year of its Citizen Planning School through a multimedia event called the “Idea

Launched in the spring of 2014, the One Region Forward Citizen Planning School is an innovative citizen-based academy designed to empower residents of Erie and Niagara counties to become catalysts for change in their local communities. The program includes a series of learning sessions hosted by the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, and an accompanying service learning program called “Champions for Change” through which a select group of citizens receive training and technical assistance to advance specific community-level projects. These projects will contribute to the quality of life of our communities and the overall sustainability of Buffalo Niagara.

The Idea Summit will be a fun, celebratory event that will feature the work of the first class of Citizen Planners and
Champions for Change, explore what it means to translate ideas to action, and provide opportunities for community
members to network with local experts, the citizen planners, funders and other attendees to generate more ideas for action.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 4th, from 10 AM to 12 noon at the historic North Park Theatre on 1428, Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, NY 14216. Features include:

  • Keynote address from Megan McNally, founder of Rusted Grain Woodworker's Collaborative and Co-Founder of
    The Foundry about how one person can have an idea, bring it into action and make a difference in the community.
  • Multimedia forum of videos and presentations on the individual champions and their Ideas for Change.
  • Panel of community leaders who will offer insight and suggestions on turning ideas into action. Panelists include
    Franchelle Hart of Open Buffalo, Cara Matteliano of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Mike Clarke f LISC Buffalo, and others yet to confirm.
  • Ideas Expo and networking session where attendees will have the opportunity to meet the Citizen Planners,
    Champions, and guest panelists to learn more about their projects and explore forging partnerships.
  • Announcement of Year Two of the Citizen Planning School to be offered in the spring of 2015 and supported by
    a graduate-level course at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Attendees will learn
    how to register for the school and apply to be considered for the “Champion for Change” track.

    Contact: Bart Roberts 878-2433, bjr8@buffalo.edu
    For more information, please visit www.oneregionforward.org"                                                                                                                            -