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Advisory group looks to rejuvinate NY legacy cities

An advisory group looking at strategies for rejuvenating New York state's "legacy cities" says collaboration and coordination with the governor's Regional Economic Development Councils are crucial for upstate cities dealing with declining populations and job opportunities.

The University at Buffalo School of Architecture, Syracuse University, CenterState CEO and the non-partisan American Assembly met last month and generated five main strategies in a report released by the Public Affairs Institute.

UB dean of architecture and planning Robert Shibley says the group quickly identified advanced manufacturing, medical education and cultural projects as critical to the viability of the region's post-industrial cities.

"So those three sectors are supported then, by other kinds of projects that then deal with workforce development, entrepreneurship and neighborhood revitalization and stabilization. Within each of those buckets there are dozens of projects that could advance our region," he said.

Shibley says there are a number of projects underway in Buffalo that match the group's criteria, including the on-going construction at the Buffalo-Niagara medical campus.

"I think it's very innovative to have the University at Buffalo move the school of medicine and biomedical sciences to the downtown campus. What that does is put a school of medicine in direct relationship to hospitals and healthcare, it also increases the population demographics downtown," he said.

The advisory group's report also calls for additional clean energy production and several new small business incubators.

For more from the Innovation Trail, visit their website.

The Innovation Trail is a collaboration between six upstate New York public media outlets. The initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), helps the public gain a better understanding of the connection between technological breakthroughs and the revitalization of the upstate New York economy.

Ashley is a Buffalo native, and is in her second stint as reporter at WBFO. During her first tenure at the station, Ashley covered a variety of issues in the western New York region and earned an Associated Press award for team coverage on “Same Sex Marriage in New York.” Ashley has also worked as an anchor/reporter at WBEN in Buffalo and WBTA in Batavia.