Our Work

Work by UB Regional Institute and Urban Design Project

An assessment of the regional economy and target industries across the eight counties of Western New York.

An assessment of the regional economy and target industries across the eight counties of Western New York.

Tonawanda Tomorrow

Planning for Tonawanda's economic future

Supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s POWER Initiative, UBRI is working with the Town of Tonawanda on an economic action plan — called Tonawanda Tomorrow — that will re-position the town as a regional center for sustainable job gr …

Strategic economic developing planning and implementation to restructure Western NY’s economy and guide state funding decisions, including Buffalo Billion investment initiatives

How would you invest $1.3 billion to ignite the economy for the good of all in WNY? “A Strategy for Prosperity” is a comprehensive plan to create a more dynamic and sustainable economy for our region and all its citizens.

The Racial Equity Dividend

In partnership with Make Communities, UBRI is working to develop a foundational research study for the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable.

Convened by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable is leading the charge to reduce the disparate outcomes and opportunities experienced by regional residents of different races. The report identifies …

Strengths, barriers and opportunities to improve mobility through planning and policy

In support of the p2 Collaborative of Western New York’s Local Initiatives for Multi-Sector Public Health ACTion (IMPACT) Program, UBRI conducted a regional assessment to reveal how walking and physical activity are promoted by the plans and policies o …

Technical Assistance for Communities

Assisting communities with planning tools to develop strategies and identify projects that will transform their communities.

Every year, regions across the state have the opportunity to decide which projects should be considered for state funding through a process led by the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs). Projects from communities across WNY submit proposals …

Niagara Street Now

Under the direction of Watts Architecture and Engineering, UBRI is overseeing an engagement process to ground the re-design of Niagara Street in community values and priorities.

UBRI is part of a consultant team led by Watts Architecture and Engineering charged with re-designing Niagara Street in the City of Buffalo for enhanced accessibility, safety, and corridor vibrancy for all – residents, visitors, and businesses. Coverin …

Regional Planning for Building a More Sustainable Buffalo Niagara

What does the community want life to look like in Buffalo Niagara in 50 years? Erie and Niagara Counties encompass 64 municipalities. Building a more sustainable region will require making important decisions together.

WNY SustainabilityPlan

Part of a broader commitment of UBRI to promote sustainable action in WNY

As part of a statewide effort to promote actions that can reduce New York State’s contribution to greenhouse gases, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the Cleaner, Greener Communities program under the New York State Energy, Research and Development Author …

Understanding the impact and role of buildings in adapting to climate change

Since the mid-eighteenth century, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased in the atmosphere due to human activities. These anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in the average air temperature, changed prec …

Research Support for Upstate NY Revitalization Initiative

Decision-making Tools and Guidance in Support of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative

How do you identify game-changing investments to transform a regional economy? UBRI is developing a suite of research products to help Upstate New York regions plan for dynamic economic growth.

Global Research

Overcoming barriers, shaping agendas and helping to solve complex problems in binational Buffalo Niagara and beyond

Overcoming barriers, shaping agendas and helping to solve complex problems in binational Buffalo Niagara and beyond

Connections Beyond Campus

An evaluation of the NFTA-UB Pilot Transit Pass Program

The UB-NFTA Pilot Transit Pass Program concluded after 20 months at the end of the summer 2012 session. The program offered rail passes to 1,072 students and 246 faculty and staff during the 2010-2011 academic year, and to 2,813 students and 310 facult …

Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Research Support

Needs Assessment Study and Crime & Safety Reports to the community

How can a neighborhood work together to create a sustainable model for revitalization through education and public safety improvements? UBRI provides research support for a community partnership focused on transforming schools, providing supports for families with a "cradle-to-career" approach, and addressing crime.

Comprehensive Planning and Urban Design for the City of Buffalo.

What is the community’s vision for Buffalo in the 21st Century? The Queen City Planning Series represents a comprehensive plan adopted by the city,and incorporating by reference a strategic plan for downtown, a plan for the waterfront, and a restoration and management plan for the Olmsted park system. Collectively and individually they are a national award winning body of work for the City of Buffalo.

South Buffalo & Riverbend Area Infrastructure Needs assessment

Thinking strategically about building infrastructure to support the redevelopment of Buffalo’s former industrial land.

This study is a comprehensive outreach and infrastructure needs analysis of existing conditions and development potential in the South Buffalo and Buffalo River brownfield areas, surrounding the emerging Solar City development project. Solar City is ex …

Great Lakes Governance

Governance of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin

The institute serves as a key partner in research, scholarship and policy networks related to governance of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence River Basin.  UBRI experts served as US co-lead for The Great Lakes Water Stewardship Project, an initiative undert …

The Larkin District Plan

Developing a strategic plan for the area in the City of Buffalo centered at Exchange and Van Rensselaer Streets, the site of its highly successful Larkin at Exchange commercial redevelopment project

CityView Properties commissioned the Urban Design Project at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, working with Kevin Connors & Associates, to assist the company in developing a strategic plan for the area in the City of …

Assessing Needs, Services, Gaps and Opportunities for Human Services Delivery across 12 Communities in Erie and Niagara Counties

How are communities in Erie and Niagara addressing the needs of the people who are most vulnerable and living in poverty? The John R. Oishei Foundation created the Mobile Safety Net team to go into dozens of communities to assess how the economy is impacting residents.

Pathways to Progress

An initiative of the WNY Women's Fund

Pathways to Progress for the Women and Girls of Western New York is a groundbreaking effort toward meaningful, measurable differences in the status of women and girls in the region. An initiative of the WNY Women’s Fund that was developed and produced …

The Nature Conservancy Research

Research support to create "flood smart communities" for the communities of Greece, Parma and Hilton, NY.

In partnership with municipalities and non-governmental organizations, the Regional Institute is working on a plan to create “flood smart communities,” that is, communities that are resilient to flooding, drainage and stormwater issues. Research compon …

Development of baseline indicators, and data analysis to measure impacts and shed light on Fredonia's contributions to the local, regional and state economy.

  Commissioned by the State University of New York at Fredonia (Fredonia), this study – conducted by the UB Regional Institute – develops a baseline of key impact indicators, shedding light, through data and quantitative analysis, on Fredonia’s co …

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Sustainable Futures is a ten week course open to graduate students in architecture, landscape architecture and planning programs, and also by arrangement to students entering their fourth or fifth year of related programs. The program offers 12-13 cred …

WNY Community Health Needs Assessment

Identifying opportunities to improve the quality of care and reduce costs

To inform a project plan grant application being prepared by emerging Performing Provider Systems (PPS) for the NYS Department of Health, the UB Regional Institute, in collaboration with HMS Associates,  conducted a comprehensive regional community hea …

Better By Degrees

Securing a Higher Role for Higher Education in Western New York

The Western New York Consortium of Higher Education, with funding from The John R. Oishei Foundation, commissioned the UB Regional Institute to assess the role of higher education in advancing the region’s knowledge economy, based on the premise that t …

Building UB

The Comprehensive Physical Plan

The Comprehensive Physical Plan for UB’s campus centers is driven by an institutional strategic plan called UB 2020 that aspires to raise the University at Buffalo in the ranks of great American public research universities. While it is the quality of …

Objective, independent research on issues that matter to regions

Through its independent research, UBRI has always provided focused and objective analysis of key policy issues to inform decision making and policy action in the region.

Reaching for Excellence

Community Vision and Voices for Western New York Health Care

Reaching for Excellence seeks to improve the health care system in Western New York by monitoring and measuring system performance and serving as an ongoing forum where the voices of the community determine health care priorities. The effort emerged in …

Economic Impacts of the State University of New York

  The UB Regional Institute and Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government of the University at Albany have partnered on a major research effort to assess the State University of New York’s economic impacts across New York State. The SUNY-commi …

Book Smart

A Field Guide to Library System Organization for Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

Among the region’s most valued public assets, the library system for Buffalo and Erie County is in the midst of crisis due to the instability of major sources of funding. With the public pushing for the library system to maintain its role as an educati …

Innovation Impact Study

The Value of University-Industry Partnerships

Since 1985, the University at Buffalo has partnered with over 170 innovation enterprises in the region, in many cases providing research and technical assistance, connections to venture capital and access to incubator space. These university-industry p …

Exploring possible future economic impacts of constructing a deck over the existing Kensington Expressway.

In the early 1960s, the City of Buffalo’s Humboldt Parkway – designed by famed landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted – was removed to make way for the Kensington Expressway (NYS State Rte. 33). The new one-and-a-half mile expressway was recessed be …

Establishing a shared agenda for environmental issues in WNY

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (CFGB) established an initiative — enhancing and leveraging significant natural resources as a priority focus area for funding.  The strategic area began with the organization of the Green and Growing and E …

Economic Impact Assessment of One Summerlong Sensation

A Report to the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau called upon the Regional Institute to produce a report on the economic impacts of One Summerlong Sensation, a series of tourism events and promotion efforts during summer 2003. Released in February 2 …

ustaining Arts and Culture in Buffalo NiagaraTN_SustainingArtsCulture

Assessing the region's system of arts and culture support

A consortium of arts and cultural organizations commissioned the Regional Institute to assess the region’s system of arts and culture support and offer recommendations for reforms to ensure a more sustainable, reliable process. The report, completed in …

Buffalo Niagara Cultural Tourism Initiative

Long-term strategic plan for cultural tourism development in Buffalo Niagara

With support from The John R. Oishei Foundation and other funders, and the engagement of more than 200 cultural tourism stakeholders, the Regional Institute developed a long-term strategic plan for cultural tourism development in Buffalo Niagara. The p …

Border Barometer

Featuring analysis of economic activity along the U.S.-Canadian border

The Border Barometer, a joint program of the UB Regional Institute and the Border Policy Research Institute of Western Washington University, presents data and analysis to inform cross-border issues. Focusing on economic flows across the border, the ef …

Adapted from the League of Women Voters' Education Campaign on Urban Sprawl

As a pattern of urban development and as a pattern of public behavior, sprawl does, indeed, affect us all. It fragments our communities, saps the strength of our economy, and degrades our environment. It serves the community to reconsider the public ch …

Buffalo Niagara Labor Market Assessment 2010

The UB Regional Institute conducted the 2010 regional Labor Market Assessment for the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a business marketing organization for the region. The research effort assessed the region’s labor market to yield insight on strategies fo …

Report Card on Charitable Giving in Erie County

A quantitative analysis of philanthropic trends in the region

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County commissioned the Regional Institute in 2004 and 2005 to produce the annual Report Card on Charitable Giving in Erie County, a quantitative analysis of philanth …

Assessing how foundation dollars are distributed in the region

The Western New York Grantmakers Association commissioned the institute to assess how foundation dollars are distributed in the region. The institute developed a profile of giving by 150 of the most active foundations in the eight counties of Western N …

Western New York Regional Skills Assessment

A comprehensive analysis of employer skill needs

Some of the region’s largest employers have been challenged to fill key vacancies due to a shortage of labor with the required skills. To better understand factors behind this imbalance of labor supply and demand, and begin development of a coordinated …

Erie Two Supervisory District

An Analysis of Reorganization Options

In October 2005, the Regional Institute completed a study commissioned by the New York State Education Department to assess reorganization options for the Erie Two Supervisory District (BOCES), which services school districts in portions of Erie, Chaut …

University at Buffalo Economic Impact Study

Assessing UB's quantitative and qualitative impacts upon the region and state

The Regional Institute served as a consultant to the University at Buffalo Office of Institutional Analysis and the UB Office of External Affairs to assess the university’s economic impact upon the Western New York region and New York State. The report …

Understanding Industries, Trends, and Drivers that Affect Niagara Falls Bridge Commission Crossings

International borders sit at the intersection of trade and travel flows, immigration processes, national security concerns and transportation functions. Over the past decade, political, social and economic events have affected the cross-border movement …

A multi-jurisdictional Vacant Property Systems Assessment

A partnership of the Regional Institute, Local Initiatives Service Corp., City of Buffalo, Amherst Industrial Development Agency and the towns of Tonawanda, Amherst and Cheektowaga secured technical support from the National Vacant Properties Campaign …

Partnering for Tourism in the Southtowns of Erie County

Sowing the Seeds for Southtowns Agribusiness

Since 2005, the UB Regional Institute and Southtowns Community Enhancement Coalition have been working together to advance tourism in rural Erie County, including the Towns of Brant, Eden, Evans and North Collins, and the villages of Angola, Farnham an …

An online, GIS-enriched database to support coordination among various providers of economic development services

Contracted by Erie and Niagara Counties and in partnership with the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, the UB Regional Institute developed an online, GIS-enriched database to support coordination among various …

Organizing and supporting ongoing community involvement in the Master Plan process

The Richardson Center Corporation (RCC) prepared a Master Plan for the rehabilitation of the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo, NY. In April 2008, the Master Plan consulting team, headed by Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, was formally introduced to the pu …

Building a scenic parkway system

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation asked a consultant team lead by Hatch Mott Macdonald to develop designs for the Robert Moses Parkway South Segment in Niagara Falls New York. The team is tasked with building a s …

A 20-year master plan to govern anticipated growth and development of BNMC's 72-acre campus

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a five-member consortium of health care and medical research institutions dedicated to a collaborative effort to create an urban center of excellence for educational, medical and scientific research, medical care, …

Discussions on Topics that Matter

Once again partnering with the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York to study issues of regional health, the UB Regional Institute developed a series of four research briefs for a speaker series in the Central New York region. The …

Industries for the Blind of New York State & its Affiliated Agencies

The UB Regional Institute has partnered with the Industries for the Blind of New York State (IBNYS) to assess the benefits of its services to the overall state economy as well as individuals who are blind. The first and largest such program in the nati …

Rediscovering the Industrial Monuments of the Early Modern Age

When LeCorbusier saw the pure cylindrical forms of Buffalo’s concrete grain elevators he exclaimed: “The first fruits of the new age!” Today many of these heroic monuments of the early modern era stand unused along Buffalo’s waterfront, relics of a tim …

Shared Municipal Services Incentive

Technical Assistance Project

The Regional Institute was contracted by the Government Law Center of Albany Law School to assess examples of collaborative municipal service delivery in the region. Examples of municipal partnerships, including the Southwest Erie County Regional Water …

State-County Relations in New York: Key Partnership Issues

State Mandates Study

By commission of the New York State Senate, the Regional Institute prepared “State-County Relations in New York: Key Partnership Issues – The Impacts of State Revenue Sharing and the Medicaid Mandate.” Released in December 2000, the report reviews coun …

Coordination of its strategic positioning process

The institute is assisting the CAEW BOCES with the coordination of its strategic positioning process. As part of the effort, the institute will develop an implementation plan, and determine strategic directions through focus group conversations with re …

A statewide initiative to promote accurate counting

The UB Regional Institute is part of a collaborative effort to provide research and facilitative support for the 2010 Census as part of its Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program. The institute was part of a similar initiative for the 2000 Cen …

A comprehensive study of the village government

At the request of the Arcade Village Board, the Regional Institute completed a comprehensive study of the village government in December 2002, with the goal of promoting increased efficiency in service delivery.

Consensus Committee Web Site

The UB Regional Institute hosted a public information Web site on the 2007 federal relicensing of the Niagara Power Project, a key policy issue for the Buffalo Niagara region. The creation of the Web site was solicited and sponsored by the bi-county We …

A high quality shared space and service facility for non-profit and community groups and like-minded entrepreneurial activity in Buffalo

A number of efforts have begun to coalesce around the idea of a high quality shared space and service facility for non-profit and community groups and like-minded entrepreneurial activity in Buffalo. PUSH Buffalo, Grassroots Gardens, Green Options Buff …

A feasibility study for starting a Groundwork Trust in Buffalo

The Local InitiativeS Support Corporation (LISC) contracted with The Urban Design Project to conduct a feasibility study for starting a Groundwork Trust in Buffalo in 2008. Groundwork organizations’ purpose is to build sustainable communities through j …

Strategies to improve effectiveness in promoting economic development

The Orchard Park Economic Development Committee (OPEDC) is a volunteer committee that promotes economic development in both the Town and Village of Orchard Park, New York. The committee is comprised of business leaders from Orchard Park, Town and Villa …

Strategies for Success

As principal consultant to Erie County, the Regional Institute is assessing alternatives to Erie County’s current incarceration programs and criminal justice system practices. The effort seeks to identify factors that lead to overcrowding, devise solut …

A project grown out of the community's interest in protecting their natural environment and cultural heritage

The WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway was unanimously approved by the NYSDOT’s Scenic Byways Advisory Board on the 18th of October, 2007. The Urban Design Project helped prepare the nomination study. The WNYSSB website has the nomination study, maps, and oth …

A bi-national approach to sustainable community, economic, and environmental development through education, advocacy, and collaboration

What is the Peace Park? It will not be a conventional park. We won’t mow any lawns. It won’t have any new baseball diamonds. Rather, the Peace Park is a new name for our region, an idea about its future, and an organization to help make it happen. When …

Rethinking the 500 Block of Main Street, in Buffalo, NY

In late 2006, The Urban Design Project worked together with Buffalo Place Inc., property owners and Carmina & Wood, PC to create a concept document for redevelopment of the 500 Block of Main Street, in Buffalo, NY. This is not the first time the Ur …

Design Guidelines

As the “front door” to the Towns of Canandaigua, East Bloomfield, West Bloomfield, and the Village of Bloomfield, the Route 5 and 20 Corridor is interwoven with the community fabric and a key component of the quality of life in Ontario County. The comm …

Research support and facilitated public participation for the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority

The Regional Institute has periodically provided research support and facilitated public participation for the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. Efforts include soliciting public input on the City of Buffalo’s annual budget (2003, 2004 and 2005) and …

Identifying existing data bases and sources of information on the binational Niagara Region

The Urban Design Project received a small grant from the UB Canadian-American Studies Committee entitled, “Mapping Niagara.” The goal of this project has been to identify existing data bases and sources of information on the binational Niagara Region a …

Determining whether to give National Heritage Area status to the area around Niagara Falls

The National Park Service conducted this study, with the help of the Urban Design Project, to determine whether to give National Heritage Area status to the area around Niagara Falls. The Urban Design Project provided mapping of the area, the natural r …

Buffalo Niagara Region’s International Boundary

Recognizing the importance of the Buffalo Niagara region’s international boundary, the UB Regional Institute initiated Region’s Edge, a research and civic engagement initiative that focuses on issues of binational governance, economic integration and r …

Consensus Building and Facilitation to Build an International Trade Gateway in Buffalo Niagara

Consensus among Binational Regional Stakeholders

UBRI was engaged by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Amherst Chamber of Commerce to facilitate and build consensus among binational regional stakeholders to establish an international trade gateway in Buffalo Niagara.  This session was led by expert …

A Canal Conversation

An array of experts talk about the Commercial Slip, the Erie Canal, and the prospects for “heritage development” in Buffalo

A Canal Conversation brought together an array of experts to talk about the Commercial Slip, the Erie Canal, and the prospects for “heritage development” in Buffalo. They outlined the potential for heritage tourism and development, identified key issue …

Adapting the Border to Regional Realities

As the world’s largest trading partners, Canada and the United States share a diverse and highly integrated economy.  However, many North Americans are unaware of the depth and breadth of this interdependence and the importance of successful border man …

Recommendations to Quebec

Funded by the Gouvernement de Quebec, La ministère des Relations internationales, the institute was selected to research and offer recommendations to Quebec on the engagement of subnational actors in international law, specifically, whether there is a …

Rethinking Niagara

A bi-national effort to stimulate conversation, re-imagination, and collaboration centering around the Niagara River

  “Rethinking the Niagara Frontier” was a bi-national effort to stimulate conversation, re-imagination, and collaboration toward making the most of opportunities at hand for the future of this region that centers on the Niagara River. The potentia …

Lessons Learned About Cross-Boundary Collaborations

In 2010, the IBM Center for the Business of Government awarded a grant to the UB Regional Institute to investigate the effectiveness of current models for environmental collaboration across international boundaries in North America.  The research progr …

An integrated program of governance reform and community development

The Urban Design Project assisted Chautauqua County government in a series of interrelated efforts intended to connect robust citizen participation, performance based government, inter-municipal cooperation, and countywide strategic planning in an inte …

Borders in Globalization (BIG) initiative

The institute serves as US co-lead for Canada-US border policy on the Borders in Globalization (BIG) initiative.  BIG is an innovative, integrative, and sustainable network of academic partners from Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Midd …

Chemung County Highway Services Study

Chemung County Expansion of Highway Services Consolidation and Shared Services Study

In partnership with the Laberge Group, an Albany-based engineering firm, the UB Regional Institute participated in a research effort between 2008 and 2010 to review local and countywide highway service delivery for Chemung County and its 17 municipalit …

An assessment of collaborative waste management arrangements for 37 Erie County municipalities

Under contract with the Tellus Institute (Boston), the Regional Institute facilitated an assessment of collaborative waste management arrangements for 37 Erie County municipalities seeking to develop a Solid Waste Management Plan. NorthEast Southtowns …

Governance Project

A Foundation for Understanding and Action

The University at Buffalo Governance Project, initiated in 1994, was an interdisciplinary research effort to study governance issues in Erie County. The Governance Project was founded upon the premise that a vigorous region requires competent, informed …

Buffalo Summit Series

Experiments in Democratic Action

The Buffalo Summit Series was predicated on the idea that public conversations, carefully structured and faithfully reported, could lead to improved public judgment and accountable action. This volume provides a detailed record and analysis of five yea …