The Plan

The Back to the City Scenario

What if the region grew and virtually all urban neighborhoods were revitalized while outward growth stopped almost completely?

This alternative scenario was 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.

Each citizen-created map was unique, but 31 of the 115 maps citizens created showed similar tendencies and were used to form the Sprawling Smarter scenario.

These 31 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.

250_CityThe “Back to the City” scenario would see nearly all new jobs and homes concentrated in our core cities. Transit would serve this denser development much better. More existing homes would be rehabbed than abandoned and our former industrial sites would be reused as employment centers.

  • 75% decrease in abandonment compared to business-as-usual
  • Nearly 22,000 jobs brought back to former industrial sites
  • 9 out of 10 new homes would go in areas that have already been developed
  • 96% of new jobs would go in areas that are already built up
  • Local governments would collect 48% more in revenue than they would spend to maintain services and infrastructure


Measuring the Back to the City scenario against our priorities

Five distinct priorities for the future of development in Buffalo Niagara were emphasized by citizens at the Scenario Planning Mapping Workshops. Here is how the Sprawling Smarter scenario would meet those priorities.

Grow_CityMost all new development would be focused in cities and older suburbs, drastically reducing the number of abandoned homes and adding a surge of jobs to “brownfields”.

LivableCommunties_CityHomes and jobs are built closely together in cities and older suburbs making these places even more walkable than they are today.

Connect_CityThough new transit stops would be limited, since most new growth would focus around the existing transit network, this scenario would provide the best connections to transit.

ProtectFarmLand_CityConcentrating development in central cities and older suburbs would preserve the lion’s share of rural land for farming and “environmental services”.

FiscalImpact_CityFocusing new development on the revitalization of our central cities and older suburbs would generate the best return on investment of all the scenarios.

Click here to find out how this scenario compares to the three alternatives.