Neighborhood Plan Part VI - Sowing the City

Urban farming makes sense. Today the economy and food security issues intersect in such a powerful way in a shrinking city that ideas like this should be embraced. Here in Buffalo this is a classic case of existing reality out pacing public policy. Two very interesting and related cases crossed here on the City's east side recently.

First, the ultimate fate of the Stevens family's plan to farm a couple of acres of vacant land near the City's historic Broadway Market hasn't been decided. There's a growing comment stream from a Buffalo News blog post - Down on the Farm - that shouldn't be missed. And Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly has taken the lead and turned the City's decision to deny their request into a larger piece about city planning and the wholesale lack of vision that the Brown Administration has regarding innovate landuse planning. His post shouldn't be missed either - Moratorium: No More New Builds.
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Mark & Janice Stevens
Second, last year Buffalo ReUse established a community garden on two empty lots over on Eaton Street. Here a couple of pics I snapped recently. Make sure to check out the garden's bounty from the Buffalo ReUse flickr stream and slide show of the Eaton Street Community Garden.
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Community Garden - Belmont Building Lots!
While examining the Belmont Shelter's Neighborhood Plan recently - see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V - I noticed that two of Belmont's houses are planned for this little piece of paradise. Buffalo ReUse folks have recently confirmed this. One of the many issues here is that there was zero public input into the site selection process for the Belmont Plan. When there are literally hundreds of empty city owned lots in the their target area. Why these two lots? The garden is contributing on so many levels to the neighborhood and providing food to people in one of Buffalo's poorest neighborhoods. Again - why these two lots?

These issues - involving site selection for new builds - are central to how well Buffalo, a shrinking city, is managing decline. We're actually not doing that well. Public policy has to change. City officials need to address more effective land use policies that reflect the real desires, health and welfare of residents and people, like the Stevens, who want to move here. Is it time for a moratorium on the construction of new builds?
See also: Detroit Arcadia & Getting Smarter about Decline.
ArtspaceBAVPAWoodlawn Row HousesfixBuffalo flickr
Creative ClassShrinking CitiesSaturdays in the neighborhood


Bruce Beyer said...

Byron Brown's plan is "No Plan" except for the one that has him moving into Louise Slaughter's seat upon her retirement. City Economic Development Commissioner Brian Reilly describes this "farm parcel" as a gold mine. Check that out David, the urban prairie is a gold mine. Dust off the shovels, hitch up the mules, get out the pans, the East Side is full of gold and folks are chomping at the bit to partake in the overflowing riches.

cold springer said...

Belmont is totally out of touch.

They are self-serving and selfish. Many of their McVinyl houses have lurched out of the ground, settled uneasily into the urban prairie, and been scuttled foreclosures due to high initial costs and poor fit into the urban fabric.

Susan said...

I like how you have linked these issues, FixBuffalo. They are certainly connected and all reveal an uncoordinated housing plan in the city.

I slapped my forehead in exasperation when Mayor Brown goofed in suggesting the Queen City Hub Plan, the City's award-winning plan for DOWNTOWN, had something to say about housing on an alley off Broadway-Fillmore. Anyone who has read the Queen City Hub Plan knows it has nothing to do with this neighborhood and no city planning document, to my knowledge, has anything to say about Wilson Street.

The mayor should consider getting a new press team. They are giving him bad advice, which is unfortunate.