East-West Divide

East-West Divide.

"East-West Divide," a still from the film, a view up Peckham Street and of St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church on Buffalo's East Side.

While ethnic and neighborhood patterns continue to evolve, Main Street still strikes a dividing line through Buffalo, America's seventh-most segregated city. On the West Side, a recent influx of refugees from Asian and African nations is transforming the demographic, cultural, and spatial composition of neighborhoods once comprised of European and Latin American immigrants. On the East Side, comprised primarily of African American residents, poverty and land vacancy remain major concerns. The leadership of religious institutions and community organizations to improve quality of life in both areas reflects the collaborative perseverance of Buffalo's residents.

Visions and Works

Working hand-in-hand with a community-minded local business, architecture and urban design professor Hiroaki Hata and his students have generated a master plan that is helping to transform a struggling neighborhood on Bu alo’s East Side.
Architecture faculty member Erkin Özay, a native of Turkey and witness to the in ux of Syrian refugees in Istanbul, is now working to position design in support of Bu alo’s burgeoning refugee population. His work was recently featured in a Metropolis magazine piece on legacy city responses — including design — to these new residents (“Refugees Could ‘Save’ America’s Rust Belt — Will We Let Them?”, Nov. 2016).

The issue of affordable housing is a nationwide concern, and University at Buffalo students are making strides to address the problem at home.


When you think of the Rust Belt, glossy neighborhoods with rocketing rents may not be the first images to jump to mind. But gentrification — and concerns about rising prices — are problems even in places like Buffalo and Detroit, says University at Buffalo researcher Robert Silverman.


The Center for Urban Studies has joined itself to a massive effort: a proposal by the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to restructure, redevelop and rehabilitate downtown Buffalo's seriously declining Commodore Perry neighborhood and turn it into the vibrant, sustainable community it once was.


A mural honoring the Fruit Belt that was created by dozens of Buffalo Public School students working with the Center for Urban Studies was recently unveilved as part of the renaming ceremony of Public School No. 37.