The Plan

The Sprawling Smarter Scenario

What if the region grew, and we continued to sprawl outward, only in a more condensed way?

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 40 of the 115 maps citizens created showed similar tendencies and were used to form the Sprawling Smarter scenario.

These 40 maps made some reinvestment in existing communities, but also spread out future development to outer suburbs and rural towns. 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.


The “Sprawling Smarter” scenario would see some outward growth of new jobs and homes, however, these would take on a much denser, mixed-use form. Abandonment would still be an issue for central cities and older suburbs. Less farmland and open space would be lost to development.

  • 7 out of 10 new homes would be built in mixed-use, walkable communities
  • 79% of new jobs would go in areas that are already built up
  • Residents of Buffalo Niagara would drive about the same number of miles each day as today
  • 1 out of 3 new homes would be go on previously undeveloped, “greenfield” sites
  • Nearly 80% of the region’s current open space would be preserved from development
  • The costs for governments to maintain services and infrastructure and would exceed revenue

Measuring the Sprawling Smarter 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_SmartSprawlAbout 75% of development would go in urbanized areas. Most development would be compact, limiting new infrastructure and curbing abandonment in a piecemeal way.

LivableCommunties_SprawlSmarterMost development would be built with walkability in mind, but many new homes and jobs would be disconnected from places that are already walkable.

Connect_SmartSprawlNew suburban development would be more walkable, but since access to jobs would mostly be by private automobile we would drive about as much as we do today.

FarmLand_SprawlSmarter“Smart growth” development in the suburbs would protect a great deal of undeveloped land even as it provided suburban housing choices on “greenfield” sites.

FiscalImpacts_SprawlSmarterThough development would apply “smart growth” principles, new revenues would still not cover the costs of extending infrastructure to new developments, but it would come close.

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