Reconnecting Buffalo with the water
Conley, Joshua David
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Statement of Issue/Problem. Over the years the City of Buffalo has lost its historic connections to Lake Erie, the Buffalo River and the Erie Canal: the very sources which powered the city to its early economic prominence. The growing city as well as the advancement in transportation and technology has lead to a disconnect between the city and this once prominent component, the waterfront. Currently, there are several barriers preventing the citizens from accessing the water's edge to enjoy the wonder of the water. What is the best way for the City of Buffalo to reconnect to the waterfront, and once it is connected, what development should occur? Should obstructing barriers like the Interstate 190 be altered, removed or relocated to allow visual accessibility and a direct connection to the waterfront? Statement of Significance of Issue. This study of the waterfront between the Buffalo River Basin and Vulcan Street (the northern city boundary) will provide the City of Buffalo with an adequate assessment of view corridors and access points to it. Once the assessment is completed, an analysis will determine where and which type of development should occur based upon studying similar precedents. Thanks to the acts of the public, who represents the client for this project, citizens and visitors will once again realize the importance of access to the waterfront which was once responsible for invigorating the Queen City. Method of Inquiry. I will begin with a literature review of previously attempted design strategies for Buffalo's waterfront and of the history behind the existing development. I will then analyze the view corridors and access points to Buffalo's waterfront which will help me to determine which nodes are appropriate to develop. By looking at various precedents I will be able to generate a set of strategies for developing these Waterfront nodes. As a result, a combined strategy will result in the final product which would include historical research, precedents, modeling, and logical argumentation. Expected Outcome. Based upon the research and observations, I will propose a development scheme along Buffalo's waterfront. This proposal will set a stage for future waterfront development based upon the explored strategies. People would be able to visually and directly reconnect with the waterfront which is what the City of Buffalo was built upon. This interaction is possible due to a shift in the value of the waterfront property from an industrial and infrastructure perspective to an open, public land which promotes health, wellness and recreation for the public.