Buffalo celebrates its history as ‘America’s Best Designed City’ - The Buffalo News

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Buffalo celebrates its history as ‘America’s Best Designed City’

A promotional video that celebrates Buffalo’s unique geography and historic assets has its first public preview at 7 p.m. today in Larkin Square.

The 12-minute “Buffalo: America’s Best Designed City,” by filmmaker John Paget, uses vivid imagery, including aerial photography, and testimony from Buffalo civic leaders to tell of Buffalo’s location on the water, the radial system of streets, the array of late 19th and early 20th century architecture and the nation’s first Olmsted parks and parkway system.

“We recently previewed it for some community leaders, and at the conclusion they burst into spontaneous applause. They thought it was moving and inspiring and beautiful,” said Ed Healy, Visit Buffalo Niagara’s spokesman.

The video will be used at Visit Buffalo Niagara visitor centers in the downtown Market Arcade and at the airport. It will be screened for presentations to convention groups and meeting planners, and to woo national media.

Healy said he’s hoping the video will also go viral in the same way “This Place Matters” and “Buffalo for Real,” two other promotional videos made by Paget, each reached about 250,000 views online.

It will be viewable online starting at 7:30 p.m. today at www.bestdesignedcity.com.

Developers Howard Zemsky and Rocco Termini, preservationist Tim Tielman, environmentalist Jill Jedlicka, city planner Chris Hawley, block club leader Stephanie Barber Geter and University at Buffalo School of Architecture & Planning’s Robert Shibley are among those who speak glowingly of Buffalo’s natural and built environment.

Paget approached Visit Buffalo Niagara and other funders to make the film, unlike previous videos where the convention and visitors bureau went to him. He was inspired, he said, by how Frederick Law Olmsted in 1876 called Buffalo – even before he designed the parks and parkway system here – “the best planned city, as to its streets, public places and grounds, in the United States, if not in the world.”

The aerial shots were done with the help of Cineflex, a high-aerial cinematography system, in which the camera was mounted on the nose of a helicopter. Paget also used drone technology for remote-controlled shots taken 20 to 30 feet off the ground.

The video, unlike most promotions, talks about what speakers in the film say were historic mistakes that could yet be reversed, including destruction of Humboldt Parkway to build the Kensington and Scajaquada expressways, and the Niagara Thruway and Skyway that cut Buffalonians off from the water.

“It ends on a hopeful note because it really depicts a new generation that is committed to taking the ‘kick me’ signs off our backs, and getting about the task of building something new,” Paget said. “You see the changes happening, so if we lost that title of being America’s best-designed city because of our mistakes, then I think what the film shows is that it’s within reach again.”

email: msommer@buffnews.com

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