Published March 24, 2023
The Buffalo News recently published an editorial on Dean Robert Shibley and his leadership of the School of Architecture and Planning's "community-as-classroom" approach to teaching and research, which has left a lasting legacy of impact on the City of Buffalo.
The editorial lauds Shibley for his direct impact on the city through a series of planning initiatives pursued in partnership with the region's citizens over the past four decades.
“In reviewing the large portfolio of planning documents he has overseen, there are initiatives with tentacles that reach the length and breadth of Buffalo, from Canalside to the Central Terminal to Ralph Wilson Park on the Niagara River to Hayes Hall on UB’s South Campus,” the editorial reads.
The editorial also highlighted the ethos of inclusion that underlies the School's work: "These are philosophies of interconnectivity and inclusion that reject the sacrifice of any one part of the city so that others can thrive. For downtown to work, all the surrounding neighborhoods have to improve, including the bookends of the waterfront and the medical campus. This is not urban planning that cuts a park in half or divides a city from its waterfront."
“Clearly, UB has been an essential resource in guiding growth and change throughout Buffalo. As the city’s revitalization continues, it will be important that the planning teams Shibley helped put together continue this work after he leaves the department.”
The SUNY Distinguished Professor recently announced he will step down after a 12-year run as dean to resume his faculty position and lead a soon-to-be-announced research and educational center at UB focused on excellence in urban placemaking.
A senior scholar in the fields of architecture and urban planning, Bob Shibley is widely recognized for his work on the theory and practice of placemaking — the way we transform the places we are into places we love. For nearly 50 years he has advanced the principles of quality design in service to the public through teaching, research and critical practice. His work shaping Western New York through citizen-driven planning is a model for other city-regions throughout the world.
Over the course of four decades, Shibley has worked with faculty, staff, students and collaborating publics on over 80 Buffalo-based projects totaling more than $25 million in sponsored work. The projects received global attention for their impact on the people and places of Buffalo and the region. It is also viewed as a model for university-community partnerships in city-making and place-based teaching, research and critical practice.