Buffalo, MN: A Transect-Based Land Use Strategy
Grandlund, Luke A.
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The objectives of this thesis are to explore the social, economic, and environmental dynamics of land use regulations and examine design strategies to increase the community identity and the preservation of natural resources within the city of Buffalo, Minnesota. Transect Mapping (Criterion 2005) is used to create alternative land use proposals for the city and adjacent areas. The use of SmartCode v8.0 (Placemakers 2006) principles assists in the implementation of new land use proposals. Cities were originally an invention to maximize the exchange of goods, services, cultures, friendships, ideas, and knowledge while minimizing travel. (Engwicht 1993) Until the decades following WWII most communities in the United States were built to satisfy these needs. With new loan programs, federal and local subsidies for road improvements, and the convenience and affordability of automotive commuting following WWII, housing types gradually moved from historic traditional neighborhoods to sprawling suburban developments along the periphery of established cities. The purpose of the thesis is to provide a media for the exploration of real alternatives to current land use plans and zoning regulations for Buffalo city officials and residents. The new alternative is one that increases social interactions, economic vitality, and creates a greater sense of community for the city of Buffalo. These improvements establish a community ‘Identity’ for both visitors and residents of Buffalo. A build-out analysis illustrates the benefits these proposals offer for development patterns and densities, economic growth, and the preservation of natural resources. It appears from my analyzes that there are compact, pedestrian friendly options for continued development within the city of Buffalo and adjacent land areas. By restructuring the way land use plans and regulations are designed, more viable economic, social, and environmental land use alternatives are possible.