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Buffalo at the CrossroadsThe Past, Present, and Future of American Urbanism$
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Peter H. Christensen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749766

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749766.001.0001

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Buffalo at the Crossroads

(p.1) Introduction
Buffalo at the Crossroads

Peter H. Christensen

Cornell University Press

This chapter provides a background of the complete portrait of the city of Buffalo, which moves beyond its relatively small city limits to tell the full story that the Erie Canal, hydroelectric power, international trade, and suburbanization play in the vicissitudes of Buffalo's history. It focuses on both Erie and Niagara counties from the eighteenth century to the present. It also describes Buffalo's periphery to provide useful insights into the full scope of how the grand City of Light, powered by Niagara's heaving currents and celebrated at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, had its own undercurrents and afterlives. The chapter mentions Reyner Banham, who brought a fresh set of foreign eyes to Buffalo's uncanny importance. It explores how Buffalo is indebted to Banham for cultivating a global interest and local reinvestment in its urban fabric.

Keywords:   Buffalo, Erie Canal, hydroelectric power, international trade, suburbanization, Reyner Banham

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