Scenarios tell a story of how choices we make today will impact our region in the future. How we choose to use our land, invest in our resources and communities will shape what Buffalo Niagara will look like in 40 years.
By looking at alternative scenarios, we can learn the different impacts of the choices we make and then use this knowledge to help define a new way to move One Region Forward.
The Three Alternative Scenarios
Three alternative scenarios were created directly from citizen input at the Mapping Workshops where participants from across the region worked together to map out a future vision for Buffalo Niagara. Take a look at the 115 maps citizens created.
Each citizen-created map was unique, but many showed similar tendencies and were used to form these three alternative scenarios.
Here’s how the 115 maps were grouped into the three scenarios:
- Some maps made some reinvestment in existing communities, but also spread out future development to new places. Most new development was built to be compact and walkable, but many of these new places would remain disconnected from the urban cores of our region. We’ll call this the “Sprawling Smarter” scenario.
- Another group of maps focused new development around a network of compact communities in cities, villages and town centers throughout the region. Since this would develop a regional network of village-style places, we’ll call it the “Region of Villages” scenario.
- The final set of maps concentrated more intensely on the urban cores of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, revitalizing virtually all the region’s urban neighborhoods. Since this scenario focuses on the cities more than any other, we’ll call it the “Back to the City” scenario.
This scenario assumes an unaltered projection of the region’s development patterns from 1990 to 2010 out to the year 2050 in order to place the additional jobs and homes the region could hold by 2050. This is the unlikely “do-nothing” approach we can use a starting point to measure the progress made in the alternative scenarios.
The One Region Forward scenario planning process gave citizens from across the two-county region an opportunity to show where and how they think Buffalo Niagara should grow between now and the mid-21st century through a hands-on mapping activity.
The chips and markers that citizens used on the maps represented real world changes to communities across Buffalo Niagara.
The four scenarios aren’t meant to be either-or choices. Our future will likely be some combination of all of them. These scenarios are meant to help us understand how the decisions we make today about how to use our land and invest our resources will affect our economy, environment and community in the future.
To outline a vision for the future of development in Buffalo Niagara, citizens at the Scenario Planning Open Houses set some “big picture” targets for the future of development in Buffalo Niagara. They also gave more pointed feedback on the moves they would want to see made in the region in order to meet the targets they set.
One Region Forward will use the feedback gathered at the open house meetings and online to set targets for how the region should develop in the future and the moves that should be made to help meet those targets.