Promoting economies and environments.

Sustainability means creating communities, economies, and environments that allow current and future generations to thrive. The practice of sustainability creates resiliency so that communities can more effectively rebound from economic downturns, public health crises, natural disasters, and other critical events. Sustainability follows three core principles: environmental sustainability that fosters the conservation of resources and promotes public health; social well-being that encourages equitable access to opportunities, reduces disparities, and empowers communities; and economic wellness that achieves shared prosperity for all.

Big thinking meets long-term planning.

In an effort that began in 2012, One Region Forward is the centerpiece of UBRI’s sustainability planning endeavors and continues to guide regional sustainability thinking. Supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, One Region Forward, a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, was a three-year, collaborative, broad-based effort to guide and promote sustainable development, land use, transportation, housing, energy and climate, access to food, and more for Buffalo Niagara. It is a reaction to the serious challenges the Buffalo Niagara region was facing—stagnant population, a long-struggling economy, urban sprawl without growth, costly and inefficient infrastructure, and a burdensome legacy of environmental degradation. It combines data-driven research and public engagement with planning and action to help us meet the environmental, social and economic challenges of the 21st century.

Providing tools and aligning resources.

One Region Forward was a major step forward for the sustainability of the region, but the positive trajectory could be halted or reversed without a way to keep the community informed and engaged. One Region Forward as a plan and an initiative is not designed to be prescriptive, but rather, is a series of tools to support local decision-making. In fact, UBRI collaborated with UB faculty on two technical strategy documents (a climate change strategy document and a food access and justice strategy document) as part of One Region Forward. Our focus today is to help the community (citizen champions, nonprofits, and local governments) create and utilize compelling data in their work to influence positive change in our region. We support collaborative partnerships, community learning and capacity building that better align local planning efforts and public/private investments with our region’s shared sustainability agenda.