School & University Connections


Studio Project for Sustainable Development

Collaboration with Faculty and Students on Sustainable Development in South Korea: The Compact Renaissance of Yangpyeong

A Studio Project Planning and Designing a Compact, Eco-Friendly Suburb of Seoul, South Korea

Jin Young Song, award-winning architect and assistant professor at UB’s Department of Architecture, led a team of architecture and planning students in a studio project that generated a plan for sustainable development in Yangpyeong, South Korea. The team was advised by Brian Conley from the UB Regional Institute who assisted in the application of sustainable planning strategies, and modeling of environmental impacts of proposed developments.

Yangpyeong, a sprawling suburb of Seoul, boasts vital natural assets and is connected to the Seoul Metro system as well as a new national bike path. The pristine nature and bucolic scenery of Yangpyeong have made it a growing attraction for Seoul residents seeking a retreat from the congested megacity. To support this burgeoning tourism and attract new residents from broader Seoul, the government of Yangpyeong plans for a targeted compact renaissance, spurring sustained economic growth with limited environmental impacts. Working alongside Yangpyeong-based Minimax Architects, civil engineers and faculty of Yonsei University, Song and his students spent the semester generating master planning strategies and architectural designs for compact and sustainable development. The studio focused its research around three strategically located sites in the city, proposing a series of ecologically-sensitive residential and mixed-used developments with integrated greenspace.

Read about the studio’s visit to Yangpyeong

View the work: The Compact Renaissance of Yangpyeong Master Plan

Faculty Profile Jin Young Song Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Faculty Research informing work that drives change in Buffalo Niagara through HUD Grant

Coordination with UB faculty and departments on elements of One Region Forward

How Food Systems Planning informs One Region Forward’s work

Dr. Samina Raja’s research program focuses on understanding the role of planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities. She partnered with UB Regional Institute on One Region Forward, advancing her research and adding significant value to the Regional Plan for Sustainability.

A region’s sustainability is intricately connected to the sustainability of its food system. A sustainable regional food system has several features, including: a) Residents are food secure, i.e. they have access to healthful, affordable, and culturally-appropriate foods, b) Environmentally-friendly practices are used to minimize any negative impact on natural resources, and c) food system businesses, especially farming, remains an economically viable enterprise. This sustainability initiative will be one of a handful of regional planning efforts in the United States that will address food access. As part of the technical planning analysis for regional food access, Professor Samina Raja, PhD, Associate Professor at UB School of Architecture and Planning, and her team at the Food Systems and Healthy Communities Lab will document disparities in food access in the Buffalo-Niagara region, and identify strategies for minimizing these disparities through the regional plan.

Visit the Food Systems and Healthy Communities Lab

Faculty Profile Samina Raja, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning


Climate Change Research and its intersection with One Region Forward’s work

Dr. Himanshu Grover examines the inter-linkages between physical development, socio-economic concerns, and the natural environment. He joined the research team for One Region Forward to bring his unique approach to the subject of climate change.

A strategy for climate change adaptation will prepare the region to respond to the impacts of climate change, both proactively and reactively. Our regional strategy will be based on the anticipated environmental and socio-economic impacts of climate change. Policy and planning implications for the various stakeholders, identified through the participatory process, will be analyzed in detail. The specific project sub-components will include; i) a visioning process, ii) local climate change impact analysis, iii)policy analysis, iv) system vulnerability analysis, v) social vulnerability analysis, vi) risk assessment, and viii) recommendations along with a prioritization matrix. This effort will be led by Himanshu Grover, PhD., Assistant Professor in the UB Department of Urban and Regional Planning, whose practice focuses on planning policies of resilient and sustainable communities and the use of web-based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a strategic tool for communicating planning information.


Learn more about A New Way to Plan and the regional strategy documents informed by faculty research, including:

Growing Together
Food Access and Justice Strategy Document

Resilient Buffalo Niagara
Climate Change Strategy Document


Coordinated Research, Analysis and Production

Collaboration with Faculty Research on Transportation: Connections Beyond Campus

A Research Project Evaluating the Pilot Transit Pass Program between the NFTA and UB

Dr. Daniel B. Hess is a national leader in research about sustainable transport systems and infrastructure. His research and publications examine how urban policies influence travel behavior and how urban spatial dynamics can best be analyzed and used to shape policy.  Dr. Hess partnered with the UB Regional Institute on his research to evaluate the NFTA-UB Transit Pass Program.

This research project, sponsored by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration / USDOT (RITA) through the University Transportation Research Center  – Region 2, evaluates a pilot transit pass program. The transit pass program provided students, faculty, and staff of the University at Buffalo with pre-paid unlimited rides between 2011 and 2012 on Metro Rail (operated by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority). The evaluation is intended to assist stakeholders in understanding the costs and benefits of the transit pass program and to further sustainability goals at the University at Buffalo, throughout the region, and beyond. Findings are intended to be useful for better understanding how pre-paid transit passes can influence travel behavior decisions and re-align financing of urban transportation systems.

View the Work:  Connections Beyond Campus- An Evaluation of the NFTA-UB Pilot Transit Pass Program

Faculty Profile Daniel B. Hess, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning