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Thread: Kenmore, New York: a 2009 APA Great Places in America recipient

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries

    Kenmore, New York: a 2009 APA Great Places in America recipient

    Kenmore is an inner-ring suburb of Buffalo, New York, just north of the city line. Kenmore gained some recognition among the planning community in the US lately for being named one of Great Places in America for 2009 by the American Planning Association. From the APA Web site:

    Buffalo's first bedroom community and streetcar suburb, Kenmore is a quaint village with its own mayor, trustees, and police and fire departments. Here you'll find tree-lined streets and exceptional views of the Queen City's skyline. Sidewalks line both sides of every street making this compact neighborhood — one of the 100 most dense incorporated places in the U.S. (2000 Census) — a pedestrian's delight. Nearly every residence is within a quarter-mile walk of a bus stop and low traffic volumes bring bicyclists to neighborhood streets.
    I took these photos in 2005. The village is mainly unchanged from the time I took the photos. Outside of some city neighborhoods, change in the look and feel of neighborhoods in the Buffalo region takes place over decades, not years or months as in other parts of the country.

    Also, in any other part of the country, a community like Kenmore would likely be gentrified beyond recognition and affordability by now. A street like Delaware Avenue would be lined by chi-chi boutiques, day spas, yoga and wellness studios, galleries and expensive bistros. Not Kenmore, which remains solidly middle-class, and very affordable.

    A benefit to living in Kenmore: the village plows all the sidewalks. A shortcoming of living in Kenmore: draconian traffic enforcement. We're talking about getting pulled over and ticketed for 1 MPH over the posted limit.

    Housing stock in the Buffalo area is dominated by wood frame construction. The majority of houses in the Buffalo area built in the interwar period have been subject to insensitive modifications and "improvements" - aluminum and vinyl siding, aftermarket windows of much different dimensions than the windows they replaced, wood railings replaced by gaudy decorative metal railings, and enclosed porches, to name a few. For some reason, a much smaller percentage of the interwar housing stock in Kenmore was affected by postwar exterior "improvements" compared to houses in North Buffalo; the lower midle-class bungalow belt neighborhoods in Northeast Buffalo, the East Side, and South Buffalo/Lackawanna; and areas straddling the city line in Cheektowaga.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Dec 2003
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    So is that where they used to make the Sears appliances?

    There is some nice housing stock, but that downtown leaves a lot to be desired if that is what passes for a "Great Place" in this country. While a lot of small-town downtowns are in similar states, I found it downright depressing. Of course, I'm biased to big-city vitality.

  3. #3
    Dec 2008
    the delta
    Thanks, Dan! That looks exactly like many neighborhoods in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN although I think the Minnesota versions may have a bit more of that gentrification you were describing. Great houses!

  4. #4

    This one is gone. It is now a Walgreens or something of that ilk. You can imagine what that means. Unfortunately The village does not understand the importance of the Delaware Avenue commercial strip. They are willing to sell out to sprawl in order to get the development money.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Feb 2004
    Chicago, IL
    ^And the worst part is it simply replaced another Walgreens a few blocks north.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Land of Confusion
    The housing stock looks to have held up well, it's nice not to see a lot of vinyl.

    I was expecting to see more two-family homes for an inner-ring suburb, but I bet Kenmore's planners wanted to avoid looking like Buffalo.

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