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Buffalo in Philadelphia Kickoff Convenes Alumni Across the Eras

Buffalo School alumni discuss how the new trajectory for cities and regions is playing out in Buffalo and Philadelphia with Alan
Greenberger (left front) and Dean Robert Shibley (right front).

Buffalo School alumni discuss how the new trajectory for cities and regions is playing out in Buffalo and Philadelphia, with Alan Greenberger (left front) and Dean Robert Shibley (right front).

By Rachel Teaman

Published April 28, 2014

The Buffalo in Philadelphia program kicked off on March 19 with a gathering of alumni and friends eager to reconnect, share memories and consider the Buffalo School community’s collective work in rebuilding cities and regions.

Co-hosts Gary Jastrzab (BA ’76) and Kelly Ganczarz (MUP ’10), both leaders in Philadelphia’s development community, welcomed fellow Buffalo School graduates from across the eras to the first in a series of new alumni engagements for the Buffalo School.

The “Buffalo in…” program seeks to connect alumni with the Buffalo School and its story of impact through the innovative practice of architecture and planning: “We’re here to learn from the work you’re doing in the field so that it’s part of our legacy going forward,” said Dean Robert G. Shibley. “We’re just getting started with these conversations, and we aim to keep going.”

Set in the Center for Architecture in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, the program featured a keynote address by Alan Greenberger, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development and director of commerce.

The tone of the evening was one of optimism and energy around the rebirth of cities, including Buffalo and Philadelphia.

Greenberger discussed Philadelphia’s own resurgence over the past decade. Referring to the city’s “changing narrative,” he spoke of the “unkind” years for cities between the 1960s and 1990s; it was a time of urban disinvestment and abandonment. “Today we’re reclaiming and reanimating our public spaces and waterfront, and turning our streets into living rooms,” he said, adding that the city’s population is rising due to an influx of young adults.

“This is the moment for cities in America,” said Greenberger.

Indeed, it was hard not to draw parallels between Philadelphia and Buffalo in their transformations. Shibley noted that Buffalo’s renaissance, including a development surge downtown and on the city’s waterfront, is the result of three decades of tireless planning and consensus-building in the community. “We were a city on the ropes that had to rethink who it was,” he said.

In the case of both cities, the stage has been set by creative planning. Philadelphia recently developed a new zoning code and launched a citywide comprehensive planning effort, both for the first time in 50 years. These planning efforts, overseen by Greenberger and Jastrzab as executive director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, were honored with the American Planning Association’s 2013 National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice.

In Buffalo, the city’s comprehensive plan and compendium plans for its waterfront, downtown and Frederick Law Olmsted park and parkway system are guiding renewed interest in the region’s urban core. Developed under the leadership of Shibley through the Buffalo School’s Urban Design Project, many of these plans were produced in the school’s studios and by its students. “This is your legacy,” said Shibley, who will receive the American Institute of Architect’s 2014 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture in recognition of his contributions to public architecture and urban design in Buffalo.

That legacy of impact continues today in Philadelphia, with this group of Buffalo School graduates at work as architects, urban and transportation planners, community activists, real estate associates and business development specialists.

Learn more about "Buffalo in..."

The “Buffalo in…” program features lectures, networking events, a mentoring program, and opportunities for recruitment of our best and brightest students.


For more information, contact us at ap-alumni@buffalo.edu.