A new SMS campaign from Buffalo’s Young Preservationists lets members of the Buffalo community text in images of local buildings to target them for preservation. In an era of financial straits and foreclosures, it’s easy for cities to become run-down—especially when there’s no simple way to count and label the buildings, houses, and other structures that need saving. This campaign is a new way to combat urban decay.
The goal of the BUILDINGS campaign, launched in conjunction with the Grow 716 project, is to create a central database to help save buildings that would otherwise be lost to time, misuse, demolition, or abandonment. According to the BYP website:[We are] motivated by a love for Buffalo and its history, both bright and grim. We believe that our authentic and irreplaceable historic built environment help tell our story and provide a unique sense of place that set us apart from every other city in the nation.
By launching this campaign, BYP is using the simplicity and ubiquity of text messaging to mobilize citizens to make a difference in their communities. As the website states, BYP hopes to “help the city document and advertise their best city-owned properties, as well as put preservation back in the hands of Buffalo’s neighborhoods and communities.” Anyone with a cell phone can report an at-risk structure, Community members don’t have to wait for a government employee to come examine a structure, they can just text the location of and information about the building to the PreservationReady database. From there, PreservationReady uses “calls to action” to help rally their resources to save the buildings that they can. The database also includes images of buildings that they have failed to save, as “a reminder of the importance of preservation through previous defeats.”
If you’re in the Buffalo area and there’s a building that needs preserving in your neighborhood, text BUILDING to 877877. You will be asked about the location of the structure, what’s wrong with it, and then you’ll be directed to the website to post an image.