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Cross-sector Collaboration and Urban Revitalization in Buffalo, NY

By Madeleine R. Hamlin and Jesse Lecy, Syracuse University Maxwell School 

Summary

This case study summarizes recent efforts to revitalize downtown Buffalo and its neighboring waterfront. Like many Rust Belt cities, Buffalo suffered significant economic downturn and population loss in the latter decades of the twentieth century. Now, policymakers are attempting to bring new life to their historic downtown and waterfront. This case describes how public and private organizations have collaborated to undertake redevelopment, highlighting the specific strategies these organizations have pursued as well as the financing mechanisms that have made these initiatives possible. Although the revitalization process has achieved some success, many implementation challenges have emerged. The case study invites discussion about the migration of city planning and economic development processes from public agencies to the public-private partnership realm, the sustainability of these programs, and the transferability of Buffalo’s lessons to other cities.  

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