The City of Buffalo designates landmarks and historic districts to recognize and protect places of local, state, and national significance.
The NYS General Municipal Law § 119-AA enables local governmental programs for the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of the historical, architectural, archaeological, and cultural environment, and was adopted to promote a "spirit of stewardship and trusteeship for future generations."
The City of Buffalo has designated 144 local landmarks and 17 local historic districts, inclusive of about four percent of the parcels in the city. In addition to local designations, Buffalo possesses many properties that are either individually listed, or are contributing resources to historic districts, on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
The City of Buffalo designates landmarks and historic districts according to a process and criteria established in the Preservation Ordinance. The Preservation Board makes a recommendation, and the Common Council makes a decision, as to whether a proposed landmark, landmark site, or historic district meets one or more of the following criteria:
- It has character, interest, or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the city, state, or nation.
- Its location is a site of a significant local, state, or national event.
- It exemplifies the historic, aesthetic, architectural, archaeological, educational, economic, or cultural heritage of the city, state, or nation.
- It is identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the development of the city, state, or nation.
- It embodies distinguishing characteristics of an architectural style valuable for the study of a period, type, method of construction, or use of indigenous materials.
- It is the work of a master builder, engineer, designer, architect, or landscape architect whose individual work has influenced the development of the city, state, or nation.
- It embodies elements of design, detailing, materials, or craftsmanship that render it architecturally significant.
- It embodies elements that make it structurally or architecturally innovative.
- It is a unique location or contains singular physical characteristics that make it an established or familiar visual feature within the city.
Any structure, property, or area that meets one or more of the above criteria must also have sufficient integrity of location, design, materials, and workmanship to make it worthy of preservation or restoration.