Blog Archives

Another Voice: Scammer isn’t the real source of blight on Buffalo’s East Side

Read the full article from Buffalo News, here.

A 2017 housing opportunity strategy study commissioned by the city found that most East Side housing units are moderately to severely distressed and located in underdeveloped neighborhoods with low market demand.

HouHou should be punished for his racketeering, but more important, Buffalo’s prime blighters should be exposed. The real predatory profiteers are the rental property owners who make hyper-profits by charging high rents for poorly maintained and distressed rental housing units, and the land speculators who purchase properties and hold onto them without making any improvements until more profitable opportunities can be found.

The City of Buffalo is also complicit in the East Side neighborhood blight. The city poorly maintains sidewalks, streets and vacant lots in those neighborhoods. And, their shamefully weak rental registration process makes possible the existence of a prosperous low-income rental market that exploits the poor and those on the economic margin.

Henry Louis Taylor Jr., Ph.D., is director of the UB Center for Urban Studies.

Students Tackle Urban Renewal at Summer Camp

Published July 19, 2016

UB Center for Urban Studies is hosting its 4th annual Summer Academic Camp. The camp is designed for middle school students.  WBFO’s Eileen Buckley reports the theme is neighborhood development.

More than ten students are gathering in a classroom on the University at Buffalo’s South campus at the Hayes Hall Annex through mid-August for this Academic Camp. They’re learning about ”Transformation of the Visual Landscape’.

“In many of the east side neighborhoods, the visual landscape is harmful in the sense that it depicts an image of decay, deterioration, neglect and a sense of hopelessness — that is — that you can do nothing about it,” said Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., Director of UB’s Urban Studies program.

Taylor said this academic program for middle school students is an outgrowth of a program he conducts called ‘The Community is Classroom Project’ at Futures Academy School 37 in Buffalo.

“Many of the kids do poorly, academically, because they see no linkages and connections between the things they learn in the classroom and the realities that unfold in their neighborhoods and communities,” explained Taylor.

Dr. Taylor is currently working with the King Urban Life Center on examining areas around MLK Park on transforming vacant lots and abandoned homes into a new environment.

The students classroom work on design a new streetscape will be incorporated into a larger future plan.

A graphic is placed on a classroom white board. It shows a neighborhood with some homes, streets, street signs and cars. “What do you see on the road?,” students were asked by Camden Miller, UB student in Urban and Regional Planning. She was leading the classroom in this exercise.

“It’s really interesting teaching Urban Planning because you’ve got kids that see all these issues in their neighborhoods and day-to-day-lives and so, when you are able to kind of open their eyes to them, they’re really able to easily learn,” said Miller. “By relating to where they live and relating the city of Buffalo we are really able to get across to them what these issues are.”

“We learning about place making  and how to make communities better,” said Elisa McCarley, student.

This is the second summer McCarley is attending the camp.  She likes the focus on improving a poor neighborhood for those who live there.

“So we’re thinking about adding more stores, more restaurants, more public schools, different architecture in the housing,” explained McCarley.

“What have you learned here so far,?” asked Buckley student Daequon Carmichael.”About social issues,” responded Carmichael.  Carmichael was with McCarley on difficult issues that create a harsh life for low income residents

“About no grocery stories. No fruits. No vegetables,” remarked Carmichael.

Taylor noted he’s working to create ‘critical consciousness’ for students.

“We want people to understand that the people who live in these neighborhoods did not recreate these neighborhoods so that they look like that, but they were done by public policies, choices and decisions that other people make. We think this is hugely important if public policies, choices and decisions made these conditions this way, then it means that public policies, choices and decisions can make them look another way,” stated Taylor.

Center for Urban Studies director awarded Excellence in University-Community Engagement Award

UB recognizes community engagement activities

University-Community Engagement Award Winners at the Jacobs Executive Development Center Photographer: Douglas Levere

University-Community Engagement Award Winner, Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., at the Jacobs Executive Development Center
Photographer: Douglas Levere


Published March 10, 2016

The projects range from rebuilding Buffalo’s food system and improving the breast cancer screening rates for inner city women to helping city high school students complete their FAFSA forms and bringing dental care to rural communities.

These community engagement activities, notes Provost Charles Zukoski, “build important relationships and enhance university research and education.”

Six members of the UB community working with community partners to realize these and other significant needs in the community are the first recipients of the Excellence in University-Community Engagement Awards.

The awards, created by the UB Engagement Advisory Committee to recognize members of the UB community who are building partnerships with community entities that enhance research, teaching and service, were presented at a reception on Wednesday at the Jacobs Executive Development Center.

The reception was hosted by Zukoski and Mary Gresham, former vice provost for educational collaboration and engagement who retired at the end of the fall semester after 45 years of service to UB. Gresham chaired the Engagement Advisory Committee.

As a public research university, UB is “dedicated to pursuing transformative research and education that respond to local and global issues, and are directly engaged with our communities,” Zukoski told those attending the reception.

“Through UB 2020, we are committed to building partnerships in an effort to address community needs while providing faculty, staff and students with rewarding new research and learning opportunities.

“The engagement projects we are recognizing today exemplify this,” he said. “In collaboration with community partners, our honorees use research to address direct needs in our community and they enrich our students’ educational experience by inviting them to participate in the engagement activities.”

Each of the award recipients, Zukoski said, “embodies our mission as a public research university — serving the greater public good through your contributions.”

Gresham agreed, noting the efforts of the award winners “have strengthened relationships in the community and advanced UB’s public research mission.”

She introduced the award winners and offered a brief description of their accomplishments.

The Excellence in University-Community Engagement Award winners, their community partners and the title of their projects:

“Community-University Collaboration on Rebuilding Buffalo’s Food System”: Samina Raja, associate professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and community partner Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP).

Raja’s research lab, the UB Food Lab, and MAP have collaborated to rebuild and strengthen the food system in Buffalo, and also work together on events to raise community awareness about the city’s food system. Last year, they partnered to organize a “Just Food, Just Communities” event that included a public lecture on racial and food justice by noted civil rights leader Shirley Sherrod.

“FAFSA Completion Project”: Nathan Daun-Barnett, associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, and coordinator of the program in Higher Education Administration, Graduate School of Education, and community partner Say Yes to Education Buffalo.

Completing the FAFSA, a required form for college admission that determines the amount of financial aid available to students and their families, can be daunting. And failure to complete the FAFSA can mean the difference between access to and denial of higher education for a student. The FAFSA Completion Project addressed the problem and implemented a comprehensive strategy — the College Success Center — to help students complete the FAFSA. The project has expanded from one school in Buffalo to 14.

“Mobile Mammography Unit and Underserved Primary Care Practices”: Megan Wilson, community research facilitator, Clinical and Translational Research Center, and community partner Deborah Hemphill, Patient Voices Network.

The goal of the project was to improve breast cancer screening rates for inner city women by using a mobile mammography unit to provide on-site screenings at four urban health practices. Recognizing that many women are fearful of mammograms, the project created “patient ambassadors” who would deliver breast health education and help guide the women on screening days. As of last December, the project had screened more than 2,600 women throughout Buffalo.

“S-Miles to Go”: Stephen Abel, associate professor, Department of Periodontics and Endodontics, and associate dean for student, community and professional initiatives, School of Dental Medicine, and numerous community partners in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

The S-Miles to Go initiative continues the dental school’s long history of addressing the oral health needs of medically underserved communities. This mobile dental unit travels to these communities to provide direct clinical services and health education. Senior dental students serve a rotation with the initiative, gaining valuable experience with rural populations. In some communities, they provide the only access to dental services.

Gresham also recognized senior faculty members Joseph Gardella and Henry Louis Taylor Jr. as recipients of the Excellence in University-Community Engagement Award for Sustained Contributions for having demonstrated “sustained contributions and commitment to university-community engagement throughout their careers.”

Gardella, SUNY Distinguished Professor and John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry, has used his research expertise in chemistry to address community concerns for more than 20 years, Gresham said. In 1995 he was the first UB faculty member to modify a course —Analytical Chemistry of Pollutants — to specifically allow students to experience the subject matter in an applied context.

Most recently, she said, he has developed a formal partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Buffalo Public Schools to introduce STEM education strategies to high-needs schools.

Taylor, professor of urban and regional planning in the School of Architecture and Planning, has focused his research on “strengthening undeveloped neighborhoods by improving schools, engaging residents in neighborhood development, developing entrepreneurs, improving the delivery of health care services, and by designing and planning these communities to support this agenda,” Gresham said.

For example, Taylor’s “Community as Classroom” project, in partnership with Futures Academy, has worked with more than 1,000 children, teaching them how to use their classroom lessons to solve neighborhood development problems.

Academic Program

The Neighborhood Development Internship Program

Students may enroll in the Neighborhood Development Internship Program for academic credit or on a non-credit basis, to participate in service learning activities that will augment their educational experience. Students enrolling in this program on a non-credit basis must sign a contract, pledging to participate in all aspects of the program. Upon completion of the course, these students will receive a certificate, confirming that they have completed course requirements. Each year, a select number of graduate students participating in the Internship Program will be granted fellowships, which are awarded on a competitive basis.

Graduate Students: URP 545 Internship

3 credit Hours (Minimum of 120 total work hours or 12 hours per week)

For Undergraduate Students: END 496 Environmental Design Internship

2 or 3 Credit Hours (Minimum of 120 total work hours or 12 hours per week)

For more information, to inquire about specific opportunities, or for how to enroll, please contact our Assistant Director, Jeffrey Kujawa at 716-829-5877.