Can Buffalo ever come back?

Ed Glaeser says no and offers very many reasons why.  His conclusion:

The best scenario would be for Buffalo to become a much smaller but
more vibrant community–shrinking to greatness, in effect.  Far better
that outcome than wasting yet more effort and resources on the foolish
project of restoring the City of Light’s past glory.

Does studying economics make the people of Buffalo happier?

Comments

Holy Crap! When I die, Tyler, please do not let Ed Glaeser do my eulogy. Brutal!

Buffalo should just wait until the south and the west run so low on
water the cities and businesses can no longer function.

If of course, there is anything left by then.

Interesting point raised about the weather. While economists like to study and debate the impact of taxes, regulation, etc. I wonder if there are any good studies out there on the impact of weather on economic growth? I have to think that one reason CA has been able to get away with a lot of its regulation is simply that companies have a higher tolerance for pain there and are willing to put up with more in order to enjoys its sunny climes and the accompanying pool of worker talent that enjoys the lifestyle there.

The weather argument for Buffalo's decline is a lousy one. I sit here 100 miles north in one of the fastest growing economies of the world and the weather in Toronto is pretty much the same as Buffalo. Weather may be a factor but it is a minor one imo.

The weather argument for Buffalo's decline is a lousy one. I sit here 100 miles north in one of the fastest growing economies of the world and the weather in Toronto is pretty much the same as Buffalo. Weather may be a factor but it is a minor one imo.

An interesting question is whether Buffalo might benefit more from growth in the "Golden Horseshoe," Canadians' name for the booming region around the Western end of Lake Ontario anchored by Toronto. Is there a big border effect, and if so are there ways to overcome it?

Some northern metropolii will recover some prominence due to expensive oil, I think, but I find it hard to believe Buffalo is one of them (not enough rail).

"more vibrant": is that code for something?

IMO Water is so cheap that if you have to double the price of water apart from agriculture the impact will be small and agriculture uses the most water.

50 to 25 years ago much the same article could have been written about Boston.

But Boston has come back and is now a vibrant urban center even though it is not experiencing the population growth of many southern centers.

Much of the reason for Boston rebounding clearly stems from active government intervention, especially in the support of higher education and military R&D spending. Boston may be just getting to the new post industrial economy before others as part of the story behind Boston's revival was just the passage of time reducing the size of the old
uncompetitive industries to the point that they were no longer a major drag on the overall economy. For example in the 1960s and 1970s the old deserted brick mills provided cheap office space for the newly emerging high tech industries.

Rebecca C,

The weather in Toronto is not pretty much the same as Buffalo. Toronto gets a lot less snow in winter than Buffalo (lake effect, you know).

All that snow also takes an economic toll. Apart from cancellations and tardiness/absenteeism due to foul weather, snow removal alone is a major budget line item.

I don't have figures for Buffalo, but for comparison, Montreal spends well in excess of $100 million annually on snow removal.

Granted, Montreal is a larger city, but it also gets far less annual snowfall than Buffalo.

I lived in Toronto for 6 years, and I can state unequivocally that the winters are much more severe in Buffalo.

Regarding other issues: Toronto is a cosmopolitan world city, while Buffalo is..well...Buffalo. When I lived in Toronto, there was a satirical play called "On a clear day you can see Buffalo!"

A contrary view:

... Sometimes southern California wants to be western New York

It wants to have a family business in sheet metal or power tools
And it wants to have a diner where the coffee tastes like diesel fuel
And it wants to find the glory of a town they say has hit the skids
And it wants to have a snow day that will turn its parents into kids
And it's embarrassed, but it's lusting after a SUNY student with mousy-brown hair
Who is taking out the compost, making coffee in long underwear

Southern California says to "save a place, I'll meet you there";
And it tried to pack up its Miata, all it could fit was a prayer
Sometimes the stakes are bogus, sometimes the fast lane hits a fork;
Sometimes southern California wants to be western New York

Here are some real ongoings and current events in Buffalo if you want the real deal. It sure isn't all doom and gloom! Best regards from Western New York

www.monacos.us

Your comments are not objective and thus meaningless, the crime rate in Buffalo is not as you state. Also your comments are basically racist which should not even be tolerated on the forum. Now for some facts if you indeed live in Vegas you should be aware of the impending water shortages that are occuring; Lake Meade is at all time low. Dimishing snow pack in the Colorado Plateau area that feeds the Colorado can not feed Las Vegas insatiable thrist. I was just out to the South West for a week; Vegas, North Rim, Kaibab Forest, East Rim, Zion National Park, and Sedona Arizona beautiful country; drove about 1000 miles around the entire Grand Canyon. After our extensive travels in Arizon, Utah, and Nevada both my wife and I came the conclusion that Neveda is nothing but a waist land and honestly other then casinos has no worth. Can't imagine why anyone would want to live out there:) Sorry right back at ya...

I'd like to know more about the 10% of the population that moved to Buffalo from 1995 to 2000 that Glasser mentions.

He infers that Buffalo is attracting poor people. Where are they coming from?

Could it be that poor minorities who are forced out of NYC move to Buffalo? That way they stay in a welfare system that they know?

Unfortunately, Buffalo isn't the only city in New York outside the NYC metopolitan area
to be faring poorly. Rochester, for example, has some of the best institutions of higher learning in the country (U of R and RIT), many Fortune 1000 HQs, and a history of corporate innovation, but it too is losing population. Are there any other factors can explain the malaise affecting cities across the region, whether similar to or different from Buffalo?

Can the upstate population really be maintained (or increased) simply by reworking of the tax law, a decline in worker's comp rates, and a little global warming? If you were an advisor to the Governor, what would you suggest?

Can the upstate population really be maintained (or increased) simply by reworking of the tax law, a decline in worker's comp rates, and a little global warming?

Yes.

Canadian shopping may bring about a resurgence in Buffalo.

Now that the Canadian dollar is higher than the American, smart Canadians in driving range should drive over to shop there, defeating the 15% combined provincial/federal sales tax, especially as relative cost differences haven't changed even with the dollar value change (ie gas and many other goods are much more expensive in Ontario, which is especially apparnet with the dollars at near or above par value.

Sorry, to be more correct, Daniels rescinded the public employees collective bargaining rights.

An interesting footnote: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns the Buffalo News newspaper. More out of a sense of noblesse oblige rather than economics, it would seem.

Interestingly enough, it seems that Buffett never gives up on an investment. For an amusing example, click on the link and read the section about Blue Star trading stamps.

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