Tools & Resources

Buffalo Olmsted Park System: Plan for the 21st Century

Screenshot of the first page of Buffalo Olmsted Park System: Plan for the 21st CenturyDownload PDF or View Online

City of Buffalo

The Olmsted City – Buffalo Olmsted Park System: Plan for the 21st Century (January 2008)

Author:  Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy; City of Buffalo; County of Erie; The Urban Design Project.

Date:  Adopted January 2008

The Olmsted Parks System Plan was created to plan for the restoration and enhancement of the parks, places, and parkways that comprise the Olmsted system.  The plan details the historic, cultural, environmental, public health, and social significance of the Olmsted system.  It lists the following overarching guiding principles for restoring and managing the park:

  1. Protect and rehabilitate the Olmsted Park System to preserve and restore the historic integrity of Olmsted’s vision.  “Brand” the system as a unique and historic landscape.
  2. Promote safe, secure, diverse and equitable use of the park system.
  3. Involve partners and ensure meaningful participation by the community.
  4. Promote sustainable strategies:  ecological diversity, green design, and best management practices.
  5. Expand the system to connect to parks throughout the city and to connect to the Niagara River Greenway.
  6. Use the parks and parkways as a community and economic development strategy for adjacent neighborhoods.
  7. Manage and maintain the system through daily best practices to achieve historic integrity, public use, and sustainable practice.

Each principle relates to multiple implementation projects in each part of the Olmsted park system.  The implementation projects span from improving the design and aesthetics of access points to moving tennis courts and improving views.  The plan separates the implementation into phases and describes the multiple funding sources (public, corporate, foundation, in-kind) expected to be used to complete the $482 million restoration.  The plan relates to several Livability Principles and the themes of the HUD Working Groups, including: supporting existing communities, and valuing communities and neighborhoods, by investing in urban parks and relocating park amenities closer to residential areas; transportation and infrastructure, as well as providing more transportation choices, by considering road diets for underused expressways; and climate and energy by pressing the importance of green landscapes to runoff reduction.