BUFFALO, NY — Members of the public are invited to view the results of a University at Buffalo urban design studio engaging residents to reimagine the heart of Buffalo’s Bailey Green neighborhood. The community event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 at 66 Zenner St., Buffalo.
UB architecture students and faculty, along with community stakeholders, will be on hand to discuss the studio’s design proposals for “Bailey Commons,” a community-led development that would transform a series of vacant lots between Zenner and Kilhoffer streets into a mix of green open space, play space and new urban infrastructure and housing.
The studio’s teaching team—Conrad Kickert, PhD, assistant professor of architecture and urban design in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, and Joy Kuebler, a nationally recognized landscape architect—used a game-centric design process to create an inclusive and fun environment for residents to share their ideas about the future neighborhood hub.
Activities included neighborhood walking tours, design-themed card games, collages, role-playing, and using everyday objects like boxes and buckets to try out design ideas.
“Rather than design and present, the students co-created proposals for neighborhood improvements through an intensive collaborative process called placemaking,” says Kickert. “This process invites us not to jump to conclusions, but to listen, engage, play and iteratively create new ideas with community members.”
The studio is backed by Harmac Medical Products, a longtime Bailey Green presenter and the neighborhood’s largest employer. Over the past decade, under the direction of John Somers, Harmac has engaged faculty and students from the School of Architecture and Planning in neighborhood planning and design projects that advance a more vibrant Bailey Green , durable and healthy. This work has already led to a development of infill and adaptive reuse housing, green spaces and an urban farm.
Bailey Commons will continue to take shape with community input, with several elements potentially progressing as UB-led design-build projects.
“Our ultimate goal is to empower community members to take our designs further after the studio ends and have a positive impact in the field through actionable and defended design interventions,” said Kickert, who will attend Saturday’s session with Kuebler. , Somers, and Robert G. Shibley, Dean of the UB School of Architecture and Planning.
Saturday’s event will include design presentations by students, opportunities to hear from residents who participated in the design process, and a “skill park” where neighborhood kids can build imaginative structures with real tools and salvaged materials.
Community organizations will host their own tables, with healthy food demonstrations by local retailers, seed-planting stations, and a toy and bike raffle by the Stop the Violence Coalition. Free “I am a Bailey Green Champion” t-shirts will also be available.