Text It Forward is a new engagement campaign launched by One Region Forward that seeks to further broaden community engagement. The campaign utilizes a SMS-based survey tool that allows citizens to text their responses to questions that will inform One Region Forward’s planning.
May 2014: Making Great Places May’s survey questions focus on making great places. Where and what we build impacts the quality of our communities for years to come. Citizens were asked a series of questions about what they thought makes great communities and where we should invest as a region in future homes, jobs, and retail.
Question #1: Do you think Buffalo Niagara is moving in the right direction?
The majority of citizens responded that Buffalo Niagara is moving in the right direction.
Question #2: What is the most important focus for future development of communities?
A. Revitalize older communities
B. Develop around newer communities
C. Build brand new communities
Citizens overwhelmingly (81%) think that the most important focus for future development of communities is the revitalization of older communities in our region. Others mentioned that the region should focus on retrofitting newer communities to make them more walkable.
Question #3: How important is living in a walkable, mixed-use community to you?
A. Most important
B. Very important
C. Somewhat important
D. Not important
Living in a walkable, mixed use community is important for most survey respondents. A large majority of citizens (88%) responded that living in a walkable, mixed-use community is most or very important to them. Less than 5% think it is not important at all.
Question #4: Where should our region focus new residential development?
A. City neighborhoods
B. Town/village centers
D. Rural areas
A majority of citizens (74%) think that the majority of new residential development should occur in city neighborhoods. Many mentioned the importance of locating homes near employment centers and services. Others want to see infill housing in urban neighborhoods where older housing has already been demolished.
Question #5: Where should our region focus new jobs?
B. Former industrial sites
C. New office parks
A slight majority of citizens (54%) responded that they would like to see future jobs focused in our region’s downtowns. Almost a third of citizens (30%) think that new employment centers, such as business and industrial parks, could be leveraged to clean up former industrial sites. Many mentioned that jobs should be located close to transit and where people live.
Question #6: Where should the region prioritize future retail?
B. City neighborhoods
C. Town/village centers
E. Rural areas
While none of the responses to this question were selected by the majority (over 50%) of citizens, over 82% of citizens want to see future retail prioritized in urban locations (downtowns and city neighborhoods).
Question #7: What great place in our region do you think serves as a good template for how we can build and invest in the future?
This is an open ended question that citizens were asked to respond to by naming a specific neighborhood or community that they think serves as a good template for how to build and invest in our region’s communities.
A word cloud was then generated from the responses. The size of the words are dependent on how often they appeared as a response. Words that are the largest appeared most often. Citizens stressed the importance of walkable, mixed-use communities, selecting places like Elmwood, Williamsville, and Hamburg as examples.