Spring 2021 Welcome from Dean Robert Shibley

View of Hayes Hall and UB South Campus.

Published February 1, 2021

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Dear Colleaguess,

As we open the spring 2021 semester, we embrace signs of hope – the deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine, the prospect of relief from the pandemic, and UB's plans to return to campus more fully in fall 2021. Still, we continue to adapt with creativity and optimism to the changing circumstances of this historic moment. The School of Architecture and Planning is stronger than ever thanks to your determination to persist.

Whether physical or virtual, our learning environments remain welcoming, safe, and inclusive spaces for critical thinking, experimentation and innovation. This semester first-year architecture students dive into design-build while graduate architecture students will design a permanent installation for Buffalo’s Utica Street metro station in honor of its designer, trailblazing Buffalo architect Robert Traynham Coles. Urban planning and environmental design students explore the potential for electric micromobility devices in Buffalo, the "next normal" for Rust Belt cities, and post-retail futures for vacant storefronts on Buffalo's East Side. A studio in urban design will work with People United for Sustainable Housing to develop a plan for its Green Development Zone on Buffalo's West Side. And a unique collaboration with the collective Dark Matter University brings us a seminar on design justice.  

We also invite you to join us for the second half of our Toward Racial Justice lecture series featuring powerful conversations on the legacies of Whiteness in planning, the impact of racism on Rust Belt cities, the social and cultural shifts of gay neighborhoods, and the power of community organizing. Our visiting scholars programs bring us the Jammal International Lecture with Ben Davy (University of Johannesburg/TU Dortmund University), the Clarkson Chair in Architecture (Sierra Bainbridge, MASS Design Group), and an exciting commemoration of the 20th anniversary of our Peter Reyner Banham Fellowship. Stay tuned for a formal lecture series launch with full event details.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of the university and surrounding community are our first priorities. Please remain vigilant to the persistent threat of the virus by following UB’s health and safety protocols. Remember to check UB’s COVID-19 website for updates on UB’s planning and response, including recent announcements on weekly testing requirements for our on-campus population and new daily health check requirements for students and employees

We continue to find shared purpose and inspiration around our ambition to create just, resilient and enriching environments for all. I am deeply grateful for your contributions to our School, community and profession and wish you the best for the semester ahead.

Going forward please look for regular email updates from the School, our Departments and academic leadership, as well as your faculty. We aim to keep the lines of communication open as fall 2020 startup progresses. Please feel free to reach out ap-info@buffalo.edu with any questions or feedback.

My thanks to the many faculty, staff and students for your contributions to our planning efforts as well as your continued patience an adaptability amidst constant change. We are looking forward to our return to campus and a new year of intellectual growth and curiosity as a community in place.

Sincerely,

Bob Shibley
Professor and Dean