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Don’t hate on the suburbs, Buffalo

Hate is most often brought on by jealousy, and it’s obviously the driving force behind many of the comments on Buffalo Rising’s article on the newly proposed “Urban Mirage” in Amherst. The city vs. suburbs debate rears it’s ugly head yet again. Too many city dwellers refuse to believe that life should exist outside of the city limits. This past year’s mayoral election brought out lots of cries of, “You don’t live in the city, so you have no say in what happens here.” People that make those kinds of statements need to step back and think about why they’re shutting out those opinions. Just as some suburbanites need to realize that they are part of a larger city, city residents need to realize that the suburbs aren’t evil, money-sucking vampires (that’s the state’s job 😉 ). If anything, this new development in Amherst should be a welcome sign to city dwellers, because the suburbs are trying to replicate an aspect of the urban life they love so much!

I’ve been to the Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio and it’s a nice place. It’s a welcome change from the typical indoor mall that we’re so used to seeing. But it’s not a city. Not even close. People don’t live there, they drive there just like any other suburban shopping center. The difference is solely in the atmosphere. You can sit out on a patio and have a meal. There is office space built in to encourage further patronage of the businesses and restaurants. You’re going to find all the familiar chain names that you’d find at the malls, and that the city would welcome with open arms and probably gobs of tax breaks and incentives if they were at all interested (see: Bass Pro).

So Amherst is getting something that the urbanites would love to have – more commercial development. But commercial development happens after residential development because stores go where the people are, not the other way around. Well, ladies and gents, it’s time to chalk one up in the win column for Buffalo. Anyone that follows Buffalo Rising knows about the deluge of new residential development going on in the city, and they should rejoice. It’s the first signs of a real turnaround for Buffalo.

BuffaloPundit summed it up with this statement:

One of the first things that creeped me out when I moved here was hearing the ignorant prattling of people on Sandy Beach spewing hatred at the City. I don’t like it when City folk do the same at the suburbs, either. We’re in this together, folks.

We are in it together, whether some people like it or not. There are enough battles to fight in this area without having to create unnecessary ones, and city vs. suburbs is one of those. I’ve lived in Boston and while I love the city, in the short amount of time I lived there I realized that I don’t particularly like city living. If the Central Terminal tower were to ever be turned into apartments, as much as I love the building, I wouldn’t move there. I enjoy green space and having a yard and trees and a little piece of nature to call my own. And frankly, I love driving and don’t want to ever give it up to be a slave to a train schedule, although I’d love for it to be available so I don’t always need to use my car.

So I’ll gladly jump in and support the city residents when Walgreens wants to knock down a city block to build a suburban-style store, and I’ll roll up my sleeves and get dirty helping to save an iconic building that could spark development in a depressed area of the city. But the urbanites need to understand that the suburbs aren’t going away, even if Buffalo becomes the next NYC or Boston or LA. There’s plenty of room for 5 Borders or Pottery Barns in the city, even if there’s one in a pseudo-city in Amherst.

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  1. Amen, brother!

    I don’t even bother to read the comments on BR any more. Everyone knows the best way to do things, it seems, but they don’t actually commit and DO anything. It’s really irritating!

  2. Derek,

    We are all in this together…bottom line…

    For us “Burbers”…at least one like me…we look at the big picture…

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