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Welcome.

You've stumbled across the online repository for work I've done over the past few years. As the Director of Community Development for the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA), I've had experience with research, public policy, community engagement, participatory planning, graphic design and communications projects. I've had no greater teacher during my years at UB than the City of Buffalo itself. The insights I've gained into the fields of urban planning, place-making, and public policy have galvanized my commitment to positive change in the city.

Learn more about me or get in touch if you'd like to collaborate on a project.

Working

I currently work full-time at the UDCDA, a full service agency offering a wide array of youth, teen, and senior service programs to residents while also spearheading community and housing development projects throughout Buffalo’s Northeast. The agency works with residents, block clubs, community nonprofits, educational institutions, and local government to invest resources in the people and places that matter most to the community. For one project, I was tasked with coming up with an innovative funding platform that would engage a new generation of civic minded individuals. Read the report:

Studying

I received my Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics in the Fall of 2009 from UB. I enrolled in UB's Master's in Urban Planning degree program a year later and graduated in May 2012 with a specialization in urban design. The topic of my Master's final project was the adaptive reuse of the Bethlehem Steel Administration Building and heritage tourism opportunities in post-industrial Rust Belt cities like Lackawanna. The building would later be demolished in March of 2013 by Gateway Trade Center under coercion from the city of Lackawanna. Read the report:

Engaging

In May 2011, I started a community-based non-profit tool lending library in response to issues related to neighborhood blight and absentee landlords. The University Heights Tool Library's mission is to facilitate self-reliance, civic engagement, and grassroots reinvestment in neighborhoods by empowering residents to affect the positive change they want to see. We provide access to an inventory of over 900 tools for just $10/year and sponsor large scale volunteer development projects, such as tree plantings, community gardens, graffiti removal, beautification, public art, and cleanups. Read the annual report:

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Projects I've worked on:

Buffalo Green Code

The City of Buffalo is currently undergoing a two year transformation of its land use and zoning code from a primarily use-based code to a form-based code. Grounded in the idea of placemaking and planning for people, the Buffalo Green Code seeks to preserve, sustain, and encourage the walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Working for the Urban Design Project, I helped with the faciliation of public meetings to ensure the Green Code is a reflection of what people would like their neighborhoods to look like in the future rather than just another bureaucratic exercise.

Gates Circle Redevelopment

WNY's largest healthcare company, Kaleida, will soon begin to shift operations from its Gates Circle Hospital to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Working for the Urban Design Project, I was tasked with compiling half a dozen case studies involving the adaptive reuse of hospital buildings and complexes from across the United States. By focusing on issues of significance, such as redevelopment timeline, cost, stakeholders, and public participation process, Kaleida can begin to develop a best practices for the closure of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle.

OFW Conservation District

In Fall 2011 my graduate studio focused on the development of a conservation district for Buffalo's Old First Ward neighborhood. As one of Buffalo's oldest industrial neighborhoods, the Old First Ward's unusual land use patterns and juxtaposition of residential, commercial and industrial developments make the neighborhood unlike anywhere else in the city. By helping to preserve the existing urban fabric while ensuring new development is contextual, our framework for a conservation district gives the residents of the Old First Ward the tools necessary for a dense and walkable neighborhood.

860 Seneca Redevelopment

As a final project in my real estate development course, we were required to run the financial pro forma, available incentives, and development strategy for a property of our choice. I chose a building in the Larkin District that, with a combination of retail and residential spaces, helps make the district a 24/7 neighborhood.
[DOWNLOAD FULL PROJECT]

Guide to the Heights

As part of the Urban Collective, I helped compile, design and distribute a guide geared at students to encourage them to get out and explore the University Heights neighborhood that surrounds South Campus. The goal is to increase student awareness of the University Heights neighborhood and encourage student residence and engagement in the neighborhood.
[DOWNLOAD FULL PROJECT]

Urban Infill Strategies

A study in Urban Design, I used 3D visualization to reimagine the site of an auto-centric convenience store in the heart of Elmwood Village. Through the interpretation of the neighborhood's design guidelines, traditional and contemporary elements are blended together to maintain and enhance the walkable character of Elmwood Village.
[DOWNLOAD FULL PROJECT]

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Freelance Graphic Work.

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About me.

I joined the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA) in the summer of 2015 as the Director of Community Development & Planning. Based out of the organization's housing office located at 995 Kensington Avenue, I plan, coordinate, implement, and monitor projects focused on housing rehabilitation, commercial corridor revitalization, and community capacity building in Buffalo’s Northeast communities.

Prior to this, I served the University at Buffalo Regional Institute in various capacities related to research, public engagement, participatory planning, graphic design and communications. At UBRI since 2010, first as a Graduate Assistant and transitioning to full-time staff in 2012, I extended my skills and expertise in urban planning and community development to One Region Forward, the Larkin District Master Plan Update, Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Areas, and Buffalo Green Code.

I am also the founding volunteer of the University Heights Tool Library—a non-profit tool lending library in Buffalo—where, in addition to managing operations, fundraising and marketing, we develop low-cost, high-impact neighborhood projects in collaboration with community groups and students. My time as a grassroots activist has helped inform my planning process and drive for meaningful community engagement through non-traditional avenues like mobile technology and social networking. Prior to joining UBRI, I was a Business Development Intern at Buffalo Niagara Partnership performing research on various industry sectors; and a Legal Department and Refugee Liaison at VIVE La Cara, assisting newly arriving refugees with immigration procedures.

I hold Bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Linguistics from the University at Buffalo, and a Master’s in Urban Planning also from UB, where I was part of the team that received the APA NY Upstate Chapter Outstanding Student Studio Project Award (2012). I am a native of Western New York and currently lives in the University Heights neighborhood of Buffalo. Building off of experiences in the office and out in the community, I am a firm believer that with hard work and positivity, a group of people can make a difference.

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Get in touch.

Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions. I'm always interested in getting involved with new projects however large or small they may be.

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