A sustainable development plan for the Buffalo Niagara region led by the UB Regional Institute was awarded a 2016 APA National Planning Achievement Award for Public Outreach.
Perhaps its most significant outreach component is the One Region Forward Citizen Planning School, which has already trained more than 350 citizens to advance neighborhood-level sustainability initiatives. The program is now integrated into UB’s Master of Urban Planning curriculum to advance teaching and practice in community- based planning. Other public outreach highlights included text message surveys on public transportation, land use, vacancy and food access; online forums on the same issues; and games and interactive activities at community events throughout the region.
Noting that the "Traditional public meeting is dead," Bart Roberts, project director for One Region Forward and Ubri's associate director of research, said public engagement has been a focal point of the effort. "We tested, adapted and invented all sorts of techniques designed to involve people who typically don't show up to community meetings," said Roberts.