Boston as a Blueprint

The new Planning news feed at the right of this page is already reaping interesting rewards—among the interesting links, an article that discusses Boston and it’s neighborhoods. Mayor Menino has made neighborhood-based commercial development a priority over the past decade or so, and it’s just the kind of thing that makes economic sense. In awarding grants to individual small business owners, (most of which is federal money anyway), for little improvements such as new store facades, Boston has cultivated a neighborhood approach to development. Occasionally, big “urban-renewal” projects, such as the new Ritz-Carlton monstrosity in Chinatown, do get built, but usually they include some kind of mixed-use, (even if that mixed-use is upscale in this very working-class neighborhood).

It’s never been a very sexy thing to talk about, but the successes of this program can’t be ignored, and many cities are starting to emulate Menino. Buffalo is trying to cultivate this, through the creation and encouragement of city neighborhoods such as the “Pan-Am District” around Elmwood Ave in North Buffalo. Even private college campuses such as Canisius are contributing to the quality of their surrounding neighborhoods by providing low-interest mortgages to professors and staff, to encourage them to live near the schools. Now, answer me this: Why is the major state school, SUNY at Buffalo, located in Amherst (not buffalo)?

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