Tantalizing Tours at CNU 22

Architecture, Wineries, Niagara Falls, and More!

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One of the things that makes the Congress great is the fact that it moves each year - there's always a new city to see, a new urban fabric to learn from and explore. Getting away from the Convention Center and out on a tour is an essential part of the experience. The CNU team worked tirelessly with local leaders to bring you a variety of tours that will give you a new outlook on Buffalo and the region - not to mention wine tasting, bicycling, impressive architecture, and much more. REGISTER NOW

Here is the full list of available tours:

Monday, June 2, 2014
11:00am Monday - 8pm Tuesday:
Tales of Urban Renewal: Toronto and
The Greater Toronto Area Experience

This pre-Congress tour of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area will include two days of intensive, informative, and entertaining visits to some of the most interesting urbanist projects in Canada's largest urban region. 

The tour begins in Toronto, with the first day focusing on the city’s dynamic downtown. The East End Revitalization visit will offer insight into the social, economic, environmental, and policy processes that characterized each distinctive project. See how these ventures have transformed, among others, a troubled assisted housing community and former waterfront industrial lands into vibrant master-planned communities. 

On day two, the guiding theme of “Urbanizing Suburbia" will take participants through Canada’s first suburban community (Don Mills), and the development of a new urban center. There will also be an emphasis on Transit-Oriented Development as a whole, with a review of retrofitting outdated suburban centers into urban downtowns. Government officials, developers and design teams will be led and coordinated by some of the area’s most prominent urbanists, sharing insightful lessons that they have learned in the process of reinvigorating the Greater Toronto Area. The tour bus will find its way back to Buffalo just in time to kick off the Congress. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014
8:00am - 9:00pm: Rediscovering Main Street & Overcoming the Pressures of Sprawl & Blight
Dan Burden and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute have become well known for putting together extensive mobile study tours that provide lasting impact. These tours are focused on pulling people of diverse backgrounds together with the hopes of bringing about constructive change. The Institute is pulling out all stops for this particular tour of Buffalo’s twelve neighbor villages, which contain an abundance of historic, walkable neighborhoods. Each of these places contribute to the identity and economy of Greater Buffalo. But if jobs and investment are to flow here, each of these places must create a compelling reason to live and work in the region. Placemaking is vital to their success, and this tour provides possible answers.

8:30am - 5:30pm: Rochester Urbanism: New and Old
New Urbanism and old urbanism coexist in Rochester, and this tour allows you to experience the diverse neighborhoods. First, visit the vibrant downtown where 5000 residents, 50,000 workers and the Genesee River interact. Then, tour the historic and diverse Cornhill, the proud and revitalized South Wedge, and the desirable real estate of Gibbs and Grove Streets. Experience the outdoor art gallery of Neighborhood of the Arts, stately East Ave, shaded and lively Park Avenue, emerging High Falls and majestic Main St. Later, experience a variety of AIA award winning infill architecture, a proposed eco-zone, the Inner Loop highway approved for reconstruction, and adaptive re-use and mixed use buildings. Stop for lunch at a pub along the Genesee River and visit a Frank Lloyd Wright gem. Walk the public realm, tour the private realm, and explore the built environment of Rochester. Listen to stories of developers, planners, architects and community/municipality leaders as they tell their tales of triumph and frustration.

3:00pm - 5:00pm: Buffalo. Lay of the Land
Buffalo started at the eastern-most end of Lake Erie, the foot of a thousand-mile chain of Great Lakes stretching into the heart of the continent. Problematic, unless a way could be found to overcome an elevation difference of almost 600 feet to the Atlantic Ocean and the world beyond. The Niagara River and falls represented more than half of that problem. It took 150 years of war, politics, and technological advance before the barrier was breached. And then to the east: the 363-mile Erie Canal. With that finished, city planning and building could begin in earnest. This tour takes you through 200 years of urban development by way of the built environment - the original village plan of 1804, the Erie Canal, the architectural monuments of Richardson, Sullivan, and Wright; the engineering achievements of the grain elevators and factories, and the urban planning and landscape genius of Olmsted. The tale, however, would not be complete without a look at the less-blessed parts of the city, where the post-war toll of highways, suburbanization, and discrimination was most keenly felt, and where sensitive planning may have been of greatest importance. Note that there are four opportunities to experience this wonderful tour, so take your pick!

6:00pm - 8:30pm: Industrial Strength Beltline
It is one of Buffalo's Hide-in-Plain Sight secrets: the NY Central Belt Line of the 1880s, the City's most consequential transportation project since the Erie Canal. The Belt Line attracted huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself. Powerful and innovative architecture was built alongside small-scale workers' housing. Post-war highways, trucking, and the fluctuations of business affected the occupancy of much of the 11.7 million square feet of industrial and commercial space along the Belt Line. Buffalo's new Green Code attempts to make these industrial lofts attractive once again, thereby keeping 3 million tons of potential debris out of landfills – not to mention bringing jobs back to traditional neighborhoods. Some private developers are already at work, transforming industrial lofts into modern office space and adding new amenities. Larkinville and Larkin Square are perhaps the best examples of combining paleo-urbanism and neo-urbanism in Buffalo. This tour will be held on two different days to accommodate any scheduling discrepancies.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
9:00am - 10:30am: Buffalo Briskly  (Again on Thurs, June 5 @ 8:00am – 9:30am and Fri, June 6 @ 8:00am-9:30am)

The neighborhood right around the CNU conference is full of great architecture and the peaks and valleys of 200 years of civic planning. This 90-minute walking tour briskly shows you the highlights: Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building, Daniel Burnham's Ellicott Square Building, Richard Upjohn's St. Paul's Cathedral, the astounding Art Deco City Hall and Joseph Ellicott's 1804 city plan. Additionally, the tour will touch on the continuing debate on how to best revitalize the urban core. Once you know the basics, you'll have a frame of reference for your own explorations and revitalization schemes. You will have three opportunities to join us for this quick tour, so many sure to leave room in your schedule for one of the above times.

2:00pm - 5:30pm: Buffalo's All Wright
Buffalo affords the rare opportunity to see a variety of works by Frank Lloyd Wright - both historic and newly constructed from original plans. The tour will begin at the Martin House Complex (1903-05), situated within the Parkside Community designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, followed by stops at several other Wright-designed residences/structures. The tour will be capped off with a visit and discussion wrap-up at the Frank Lloyd Wright Boathouse overlooking the Niagara River.

12:00pm - 2:00pm: Buffalo. Lay of the Land
Buffalo started with this attribute: it was at the eastern-most end of Lake Erie, the foot of a thousand-mile chain of Great Lakes stretching into the heart of the continent. Worthless, unless a way could be found to overcome an elevation difference of almost 600 feet to the Atlantic Ocean and the world beyond. The Niagara River and falls represented more than half of that problem. It took 150 years of war, politics, and technological advance before the barrier was breached, and then to the east: the 363-mile Erie Canal. That done, city planning, building, and gilding could begin in earnest. This tour takes you through 200 years of urban development by way of the built environment - the original village plan of 1804, the ERie Canal, the architectural monuments of Richardson, Sullivan, Wright; the engineering achievements of the grain elevators and factories, and the urban planning and landscape genius of Olmsted. The tale, however, would not be complete without a look at the less-blessed parts of the city, where the post-war toll of highways, suburbanization and discrimination was most keenly felt, and where sensitive planning may have its greatest scope.

2:00pm - 5:00pm: Preserving Buffalo's Built Legacy
Come along on this guided walking tour led by one of Buffalo's most prominent developers, Rocco Termini. Termini is known in Buffalo for his creative views on financing and architectural visions to revamp Buffalo into a modern metropolitan city. Take an exclusive look into some of his properties, including the revitalized 109 year-old Lafayette Hotel. Begin the morning with coffee at the Washington Market and follow Rocco to the Oak School Lofts, Tappo Restaurant, Lafayette Hotel and Webb Building. Conclude with networking and refreshments with Earl Ketry, owner and operator of The Pearl Street Brewery.

Thursday, June 5, 2014
8:00am - 9:30am: Buffalo Briskly
The neighborhood right around the CNU conference is full of great architecture and the peaks and valleys of 200 years of civic planning. This 90-minute walking tour briskly shows you the highlights: Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building, Daniel Burnham's Ellicott Square Building, Richard Upjohn's St. Paul's Cathedral, and the astounding Art Deco City Hall, Joseph Ellicott's 1804 city plan, and the continuing debate on how to best revitalize the urban core. Once you know the basics, you'll have a frame of reference for your own explorations and revitalization schemes.

12:00pm - 2:00pm: Buffalo. Lay of the Land
Buffalo started with this attribute: it was at the eastern-most end of Lake Erie, the foot of a thousand-mile chain of Great Lakes stretching into the heart of the continent. Worthless, unless a way could be found to overcome an elevation difference of almost 600 feet to the Atlantic Ocean and the world beyond. The Niagara River and falls represented more than half of that problem. It took 150 years of war, politics, and technological advance before the barrier was breached, and then to the east: the 363-mile Erie Canal. That done, city planning, building, and gilding could begin in earnest. This tour takes you through 200 years of urban development by way of the built environment - the original village plan of 1804, the ERie Canal, the architectural monuments of Richardson, Sullivan, Wright; the engineering achievements of the grain elevators and factories, and the urban planning and landscape genius of Olmsted. The tale, however, would not be complete without a look at the less-blessed parts of the city, where the post-war toll of highways, suburbanization and discrimination was most keenly felt, and where sensitive planning may have its greatest scope.

5:30pm - 9pm: What's Happening in the Harbors? A Buffalo River Sunset Cruise
Leaving the Erie Basin Marina dock aboard the Miss Buffalo, participants take to the water to uniquely experience Buffalo's ongoing transformation from a Rust Belt City to a Blue, Biophilic and Resilient Great Lakes City by way of a scenic boat tour of New York State's West Coast. From the water's view, participants will see the Queen City's rejuvenated urban waterfront development along the Buffalo River, Niagara River and Lake Erie. The tour will highlight Buffalo's industrial legacy sites, habitat restoration projects and beautiful new parks, including one recently designated as a National Park Service Underground Railroad - Network to Freedom - Heritage Site.  Participants will be introduced to the natural history, ecology and legacy remediation of the Buffalo River from first nation through post-industrial times, specifically emphasizing how the restoration of Buffalo's most significant resource - water - serves to spark economic revitalization. The resource gives participants showcases the City of Buffalo in a way no other tour can, and affords participants the chance to catch the sunset over Lake Erie. Local riverkeepers will be your guide.

5:30pm - 9pm: Picture Main Street and the Secrets of Retail
A walking tour of the central business district in the historic Village of Williamsville, NY. Tour highlights include details of planned infrastructure improvements to enhance pedestrian accessibility in the central business district, led by Mayor Brian Kulpa and Village Planner William Tuyn of GPI; and a tour of retail establishments with national retail consultant Robert Gibbs to see what is Williamsville is doing right and where improvements can be made. The tour will take place during “Music on Main Street” a weekly outdoor music festival sponsored by the local merchants and business community.

Friday, June 6, 2014
8:00am - 9:30am: Buffalo Briskly
The neighborhood right around the CNU conference is full of great architecture and the peaks and valleys of 200 years of civic planning. This 90-minute walking tour briskly shows you the highlights: Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building, Daniel Burnham's Ellicott Square Building, Richard Upjohn's St. Paul's Cathedral, and the astounding Art Deco City Hall, Joseph Ellicott's 1804 city plan, and the continuing debate on how to best revitalize the urban core. Once you know the basics, you'll have a frame of reference for your own explorations and revitalization schemes.

12:00pm - 2:00pm: Buffalo. Lay of the Land
Buffalo started with this attribute: it was at the eastern-most end of Lake Erie, the foot of a thousand-mile chain of Great Lakes stretching into the heart of the continent. Worthless, unless a way could be found to overcome an elevation difference of almost 600 feet to the Atlantic Ocean and the world beyond. The Niagara River and falls represented more than half of that problem. It took 150 years of war, politics, and technological advance before the barrier was breached, and then to the east: the 363-mile Erie Canal. That done, city planning, building, and gilding could begin in earnest. This tour takes you through 200 years of urban development by way of the built environment - the original village plan of 1804, the ERie Canal, the architectural monuments of Richardson, Sullivan, Wright; the engineering achievements of the grain elevators and factories, and the urban planning and landscape genius of Olmsted. The tale, however, would not be complete without a look at the less-blessed parts of the city, where the post-war toll of highways, suburbanization and discrimination was most keenly felt, and where sensitive planning may have its greatest scope.

6:00pm - 7:30pm: HarborCenter & Canalside Tour
The tour will begin at the site of HarborCenter, a $172 million, 20-story, 650,000 square feet, mixed-use hockey and entertainment complex now under construction. The development will contain two full-size hockey rinks located on the sixth floor, classroom and meeting space for a year-round “hockey academy,” a full-service 205-room Marriott Hotel, a sports-themed restaurant, retail space and a 750-car parking garage. The facility is projected to be a beacon for hockey player development and competition in the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada attracting an expected 500,000 visitors a year once completed. The on-site presentation, to be given by Communications Manager Don Heins and Digital/Promotions Coordinator Taylor Gahagan will describe the design and components of the building and include a description of the state-of-the-art computer system that tracks the progress of the construction day-by-day and projects what stage the project will be every day of the construction.

The group will walk around a portion of the surrounding 21- acre Canalside development, the heart of Buffalo’s waterfront revitalization, an ambitious restoration of the late 19th century epicenter of commerce and trade at the terminus of the Erie Canal. This restored area of historically aligned canals and tow paths is now an urban entertainment district attracting more than 750,000 visitors annually. The presentation will cover (i) the funding and structure of the development entity, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), a subsidiary of New York State’s Empire Development Corporation, formed in 2005 to spearhead redevelopment of Buffalo’s waterfront and (ii) the initiatives taken to make the development a destination entertainment district. The presentation will be given by ECHDC Assistant Project Manager Chris Catanzaro.

Saturday, June 7, 2014
9:00am - 12:00pm: Historic Preservation & New Urbanism: Allentown and the Elmwood Village
What happens when historic preservation meets New Urbanism? Great things! The tour will showcase new infill construction and adaptive reuse buildings, as well as narrowed streets, restored traffic circles, and a new urbanist approach to updating a National Historic Registry Neighborhood. Tour infill buildings constructed closer to the sidewalks enhance wakability and create “eyes on the street”, providing transparency on the ground floor and allowing interaction between indoor and outdoor activities. See mixed-use development and the repurposing and restoration of existing buildings that have helped to increase density, property values, tax base and street vitality, substantially including the Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s world-famous Kleinhans Music Hall. The tour will culminate at the HH Richardson Complex. The Richardson Olmsted Complex National Historic Landmark and National Register site is one of Buffalo’s crowning architectural jewels.  The Complex is recognized as a remarkable achievement of the great American architect Henry Hobson Richardson; Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, noted landscape designers; and Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, innovative psychiatrist and a founder of the American Psychiatric Association. When built in the late 1800’s, the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane was a progressive facility.  The curative system known as “moral treatment” was a harmonious blend of state-of-the-art structures and a healing landscape to produce a therapeutic environment considered the best treatment method then available for mental illness.

12:30pm - 6:00pm: Reviving Niagara Falls' Urbanism Mobile Workshop
The once-bustling Main Street of the 1950s, filled with shops and entertainment spots that made Niagara Falls the 'honeymoon capital of the world' has since become a sleepy stretch of road plagued by vacancy and blight. Historic buildings along Main Street are underutilized and could be real seeds of change for the area with the proper use and tenants. Change is on the horizon in Niagara Falls. Be part of a conversation and tour with the leaders of Niagara Falls as you review plans for reviving the city. "John Norquist and Mayor Dyster in this tactical workshop"

2:00pm - 5:00pm: Building Sustainable Communities on Buffalo's West Side
Join us on a tour led by grassroots economic development gurus Anthony Armstrong (Buffalo Local Initiatives Support Corporation) and Aaron Bartley (PUSH Buffalo), highlighting the unique successes and challenges of sustainable economic development in Buffalo. The tour will incorporate examples of community development, public policy and its effect on cities, de-industrialization, the shrinking city effect, silver bullet versus grassroots strategies, infrastructure and its ability to divide or unite our communities, and the power of preservation to create a unique urban environment. Tour highlights will include Horsefeathers reuse project, Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) to Grant Street, PUSH Green Development Zone with a stop at Five Points Bakery which features all locally sourced food and beverage.

3:00pm - 6:00pm: Olmsted Parks and Parkways Then and Now
An in-depth tour of the original northern parks and parkways designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The tour will include Front Park, Porter Avenue / Richmond Avenue, the Richardson Complex South Lawn Project, Delaware Park (including stops at the Rose Garden, the Buffalo Museum of History and the Japanese Garden), and Martin Luther King Jr. Park (originally known as "The Parade" and later as "Humbolt Park"). Next, explore the devastation to Humboldt Parkway and the surrounding neighborhood wrought by the Kensington Expressway (Rt 33), and witness firsthand the division of Delaware Park by Rt 198.

4:00pm - 6:00pm: Industrial Strength Beltline
It is one of Buffalo's Hide-in-Plain Sight secrets: the NY Central Belt Line of the 1880s, the City's most consequential transportation projects since the Erie Canal. The Belt Line attracted huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself. Powerful and innovative architecture was built amidst small-scale workers' housing. Post-war highways, trucking, and the vagaries of business affected the occupancy of much of the 11.7 million square feet of industrial and commercial space along the Belt Line. Buffalo's new Green Code attempts to make these industrial lofts attractive once again, thereby keeping 3 million tons of potential debris out of landfills, not to mention bringing jobs back to traditional neighborhoods. Some private developers are already at work, transforming industrial lofts into modern office space and adding new amenities. Larkinville and Larkin Square are perhaps the best examples of combining paleo-urbanism and neo-urbanism in Buffalo.

Sunday, June 8, 2014
8:00am - 11:00am: Buffalo by Bike
A true 19th-century city, Buffalo is best seen and understood by bike! Enjoy a leisurely three hour ride along Buffalo's spectacular waterfront, through several distinct neighborhoods - many anchored by significant architectural landmarks and experience its Olmsted-designed network of parks and parkways. Meet with community activitists along the way as you discover the grandeur of the city's past, challenges of its present and promise of its future.

8:00am - 6:00pm: Niagara-on-the-Lake
Niagara-on-the-Lake is an historic town located on the south shore of Lake Ontario, at the mouth of the Niagara River. It is here in the traditional town center of ‘Old Town’, that inspiration for the DPZ master planned ‘Village’ originated. The tour will stop in historic ‘Old Town’ where the genesis of design and the hurdles of the planning approval process will be revealed by the former Town Planner. This will be followed by a walking tour of ‘The Village’ led by the Andres Duany and the developer who will share the evolution of the project from charrette to construction. You will see first-hand how New Urbanism design principles are juxtaposed against the adjacent suburban model of development on one side, and the protected greenbelt on the other. The tour will end with a wine tasting at a local winery before hopping back on the bus. Lunch will be provided at a feature restaurant in the Village’s commercial centre.  Note: Please remember to bring your passport. A passport check will be conducted before departing Buffalo to avoid delays at the border.

9:00am - 5:00pm: The Chautauqua Institution  
Chautauqua Institution is a lakeside lifelong learning community, established in the last quarter of the 19th century. The Institution lives on today as a National Historic District, with buildings by regionally important architects such as E.B. Green. Recipient of a 2010 Silver Award at the International Awards for Livable Communities, it is a model for good community planning and design, and for the integration of the built and natural environment.

8:00am - 1:00pm: Village of Lewiston and Niagara Falls
In the heart of the charming Village of Lewiston and just minutes from historic Niagara Falls, The Gardens at Oxbow is the only new, New Urbanist development near Buffalo. Join us for tour of this 23-home infill development of traditional architecture, narrow streets, hidden garages, wide sidewalks and a central pond and fountain, then let us take you to a panoramic, close-up view of the majestic Niagara Falls, and then drop you off at the airport or in downtown Buffalo. Following a light breakfast on the site of this New York State Builder’s Association Project of the Year, we’ll talk about how we teamed up with a progressive mayor to overcome skeptical public officials, antiquated zoning ordinance, unyielding street and utility standards and strict lending limitations. Then we’ll tour the vibrant main street of the Village before proceeding to the City of Niagara Falls with an on-bus presentation about the City’s reinvigoration and finish with a spectacular trip to Niagara Falls. Bring your bags if you need an airport drop-off. This tour is sponsored by the Vinyl Siding Institute.