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Building on the planning framework established in the Comprehensive Plan, the land use plan adds the detailed elements necessary to provide the foundation for the zoning ordinance. It helps residents to create a vision for the future of their neighborhoods, and to identify and avoid conflicts with how land is used.

The initial step of the Green Code is the preparation of a land use plan, grounded in the principles of smart growth and sustainability. But in order to determine where the city wants to be, it was first necessary to figure out where it is. To accomplish this, each parcel in the city was assigned a “place-type” based on its current usage. The sum of these individual place-types allowed patterns to emerge that indicate how neighborhoods function as a whole.

This approach, known as place-based planning, shapes a city’s future by concentrating on the form and character of places rather than on conventional categories of land use. The Land Use Plan is designed to show residents how to get their neighborhoods from where they are now to where they want them to be in the future.

Based on the wealth of information provided by residents, and the strong connections that they expressed for their neighborhoods, the goal became to “make Buffalo what it was, only better.” Using this charge from the community, the consultants looked to build on what residents like most about their neighborhoods, while addressing the negative influences that have crept in over the past half century.