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Paper fibers as the basis of habitable structures? Architects and planners paired with epidemiologists for global health equity? Building robots for safer, smarter construction sites? Mobilizing sustainable development through a citizen planning academy? Through a pedagogy of research-based practice in the studio and community, we ask the questions that push boundaries, cross disciplines and create connections. 


Architects and planners are accustomed to working across disciplines, but a new research initiative at UB takes it up a notch, joining School of Architecture and Planning faculty and students with epidemiologists, anthropologists, engineers and economists to advance paradigm-shifting research in global health, manufacturing and construction.


For Samina Raja and members of the Food Lab at UB, food systems planning is a pursuit of equity and social justice for the people who have long been disenfranchised by traditional planning—the poor, people of color, immigrants and refugees.

Our pursuit of research as core curriculum is situated with a broad inter-disciplinary approach that reaches across the University at Buffalo, a flagship campus of The State University of New York and one of 34 public research universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Specializations in planning and graduate research groups in architecture infuse studios and seminars with inquiry into topics as diverse as historic preservation, urban design, ecological practices and the relationship of the built environment to computational technologies. Five research centers, including the internationally renowned Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, reinforce the school’s research enterprise. In 2015, the School of Architecture and Planning generated over $5 million in research expenditures, placing us among the top 3 of all schools of architecture and planning in the prestigious AAU.

The School of Architecture and Planning approaches design and planning research in relation to its socioeconomic, environmental, cultural, and technological contexts. From collaborative research projects to dual degrees, our planning and architecture programs ally with fields including engineering, fine arts, public health, law and business administration. A research-based curriculum also opens our programs to hands-on engagement with partners in the profession and community.

For our students, this culture of inquiry inculcates reflective practice and enterprise and paves a more seamless transition into the profession. For practitioners, it creates inlets to the academy and forums for in situ research. Together, the School of Architecture and Planning and its research partners are developing widely cited design and planning standards and speculative studies that push the limits of our disciplines.


The same dimpled surface that allows a golf ball to slice through the air is applied to the exterior of a high-rise building to reduce wind load. The design by Jin Young Song and an engineer with SOM was a finalist in an international competition.


The School of Architecture and Planning’s Resilient Buildings Lab is at the helm of new research on how buildings in New York State will need to adapt to the changing climate.