One Region Forward: moving towards sustainability

Thanks to the efforts of One Region Forward, the Buffalo Niagara region is moving towards sustainability.

One Region Forward is a broad-based, collaborative effort to promote more sustainable forms of development in the Buffalo Niagara region for land use, transportation, housing, energy, climate, and access to food.

Through research and public engagement, One Region Forward aims to meet the region’s economic, environmental, and social challenges with the goal of creating a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, a federally recognized document that will give our region priority status for funding opportunities.

One Region Forward header photoHow can you get involved?


  • Attend the Citizen Planning School
  • Be a Champion for Change
  • Use the Share It Forward Toolkit



What is the Citizen Planning School?

The Citizen Planning School was created to give residents from across the region the opportunity to learn the basics of planning and apply that knowledge in the real world.

Participants attend four sessions on key informational topics lead by local experts. The four sessions cover topics ranging from sustainable transportation to securing our food system.

one region forward citizen planning school
Citizen Planning School Session 1

Each session features three local experts who share their knowledge through engaging mini-lectures which are followed by short Q&A sessions.

How does the school work?

Saturday, April 12th marked the first session of One Region Forward and the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning’s new Citizen Planning School at the Olmsted Center for Sight.

The theme of the first session for the Citizen Planning School was “What is Sustainability,” and featured speakers: Ryan McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer for the University at Buffalo; Kelly Dixon, Transportation Planner at the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC); and Bob Shibley, Dean of the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning.

[Click here for videos and downloadable PDFs of the presentations, photos, agenda and online toolkit from Session One.]


What’s a champion for change?

Champions for Change are residents of Erie and Niagara counties that want to learn more about the fundamentals of sustainable planning through the Citizen Planning School, through an additional level of training aimed at turning their ideas into action.

One RF logoThey attend the four fundamentals of citizen planning sessions, but also engage in post-session workshops and action plan preparation meetings.

While the registration period for the Champions for Change program has ended, One Region Forward encourages interested citizens to attend the next session of the Citizen Planning School, which is open to walk-ins!

Click here for details on the upcoming sessions on May 3, May 17 and June 14.


What’s the Share It Forward Toolkit?

One Region Forward makes it easy for individuals to participate in the initiative on-the-go through their Share It Forward Toolkit, which includes Text It Forward and PhotoVoice.

one region forward text it forward
Text It Forward

Every month, Text It Forward asks citizens to answer a set of questions around different themes.

All you have to do to participate is answer the question “Is Buffalo Niagara moving in the right direction?” by texting A for Yes, B for No, C for Other to 716-791-5140.

You will then be prompted to answer 3-5 follow-up questions focused on different themes each month.

[The March-April survey focused on the theme of Making Connections. Click here to see the results to-date of the survey.]

Photovoice encourages individuals to share their ideas and feedback for the region through photos.

Simply take a photo of the place(s) you want to change or preserve, describe how you feel about these places and send it in! You never know, your photo could end up being chosen and featured as the “Photo of the week”!


The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a proud partner of One Region Forward. Click here to learn about our other regional development initiatives.

Dan Leonard, AICP Headshot

About Dan Leonard, AICP

Senior Director, Economic Development