City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning


Buffalo, NY

Key Contact

Don Naetzker Headshot
Donald Naetzker, RLA Director of Planning

Project Story

Unique and memorable urban waterfronts do not always have a pretty start or a clean past. But Fisher’s team of planners saw past the decades of environmental contamination and urban renewal demolition to propose a re-imagined waterfront that leveraged its unique characteristics and promoted sustainable development within the community.

The NYS Brownfield Opportunity Area Program is one of the few planning options for municipalities to revitalize brownfield sites in urban areas. Fisher Associates worked with the City of Buffalo to assist it through the BOA planning process to create the Buffalo Harbor Nomination Study. The 1,045-acre study area included the Inner and Outer Harbors, a portion of downtown, and a residential neighborhood along Niagara Street. Fisher’s planners brought big ideas to the table for two key areas of the study: 

Waterfront Village Concept: As an artificially created waterfront development site, the area had been used by industry for decades and later developed as a Waterfront Village predominantly occupied by expansive parking and office complexes. Fisher’s planners saw the potential to re-introduce the historic Erie Street alignment while maximizing the potential for a new mixed-use urban waterfront with increased economic potential. 

Niagara Park Concept: Urban renewal clearance left its mark on this neighborhood. While the ability to reverse the outcome of this policy remains an option, Fisher’s planners saw the opportunity to re-use the empty space between highway ramps for a new linear park to connect a historic neighborhood to an existing urban waterfront park.

Fisher also supported the study through an inventory and analysis of existing conditions, identification of brownfield sites, creation of a brownfield database, identification of strategic sites, and preparation of strategic site profiles.

Project Photos

Buffalo Harbor BOA 2 2 scaled
Buffalo Harbor BOA 7 2 scaled
Buffalo Harbor BOA 8 2 scaled
Buffalo Harbor BOA 5 2 scaled
Buffalo Harbor BOA 4 2 scaled