Lessons From Buffalo

Like so many days in this job, yesterday was both fun and educational. I spent it in Buffalo touring a number of sites that reinforced both the promise and the problems facing this struggling but beautiful Rustbelt city. My co-pilot for the trip was Graham Crawford, who shares my love of cities and is a thoughtful and passionate believer in Hamilton. Check out Kathy Renwald’s excellent piece on Graham’s “curating” of his gracious south-west Hamilton home in today’s Spec ( https://www.thespec.com/living/style/article/583439–stately-home-in-the-right-hands).

Our host and tour guide for the day was my old friend Bruce Fisher. Bruce is now a professor at Buffalo State and widely published and respected author,  but previously served as Deputy County Executive (City Manager) in Erie County. (look for Bruce’s soon to be released book Borderland https://www.sunypress.edu/p-5347-borderland.aspx,  a fascinating series of essays on the challenges of Great Lakes Cities on both sides of the border including Hamilton)

Among the many sites we visited yesterday, the high point may well have been the Fontana Boathouse, a remarkable Frank Lloyd Wright designed structure that now serves as a home for the West Side Rowing Club, welcoming the public and capitalizing upon Buffalo’s extraordinary architectural history (check it out herehttps://www.wrightsboathouse.org/building.html) .

We had a great discussion about some of the common challenges facing Buffalo and Hamilton and particularly lessons that we can take-both good and bad-from some public policy decisions that have shaped Buffalo’s recent history (here are some thoughts on that subject from an old Spec column of mine)

April 11 2009 Lesson our politicians can learn from Buffalo.