Mayor Byron Brown on Buffalo’s “Green Code”, Architecture, Economy, and More

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Photo by Medaille College ( c/o Kara Kane (CC BY 2.0)

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. Photo by Medaille College ( c/o Kara Kane (CC BY 2.0)

I was privileged to get to record a podcast with Mayor Byron Brown while researching my article on Buffalo for City Journal this spring.

Coming after a very tough 2007 Ed Glaeser article in City Journal on the city, it was very gracious of the mayor to agree to talk with me. I want to personally thank and honor him for that.

If you do nothing else, listen to the section of the interview about the Buffalo Green Code. This is one of the most important developments ongoing in major American cities right now. Buffalo is completely re-writing its zoning code and completely redoing the entire zoning map of the city. This is to replace an patchwork of old codes that were confusing, complex, suburban in orientation, and onerous in their procedures with one that is much simpler, shorter, more clear, in line with the city they want to build, and hopefully more expeditious in its operations.

This still has not been passed. There are hearings ongoing as it sits before the council. Assuming it is passed, only the future will tell what its actual versus intended affect will be. But regardless it would be something every city should study as I can’t think of another city this size that has pulled off this comprehensive a redo of an archaic zoning infrastructure.

The breakdown of the podcast is below. If the audio embed doesn’t display for you, click over to listen on Soundcloud.

In the interview, Mayor Brown discusses:

  • 0:00 – Introduction to Buffalo
  • 4:43 – Buffalo architecture and its City Hall building (the architectural bragging is legit)
  • 7:18 – The Buffalo Billion
  • 10:30 – The Buffalo Green Code
  • 16:57 – The tax environment and tax cuts in Buffalo
  • 20:13 – Crime and policing
  • 26:58 – Millennials coming to Buffalo
  • 28:50 – Income inequality and economic inclusion


from Aaron M. Renn


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