After decades of economic decline, Buffalo now appears to be on the upswing – affordable real estate in particular has attracted a wave of aspiring homeowners. However, add to this economic flux a legacy of segregation that ranks Buffalo among the top five most segregated cities in the country and it becomes obvious that African Americans are overlooked and pushed aside by recent economic developments after being hit hardest by the economy’s decline decades earlier. When we examine the intersection of economics, housing, and policy, “economic renaissance” starts to sound a lot like just another term for “gentrification.”
Must economic growth come at the expense of one group over another? What are the costs of segregation, for the oppressed and all of society? How can we develop economically and socially so that all members of society share in the “renaissance” of Buffalo? Before opening up the floor for public discussion, our panel will address these questions and more.
The discussion featured Henry Louis Taylor Jr, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo; Clotilde Dedecker, President and CEO of Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; Rev. James Giles, President of Back to Basics Ministries, and Keith Lucas, Director of Community Planning for the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency. Francisco Vasquez, President and CEO of Child & Family Services, moderated.