For Sam, the importance of urban planning became clear when living in the Elmwood Village neighborhood as an undergraduate at Buffalo State College. Practically everything he needed was in walking distance: parks, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and a food coop. He was even able to get by with an “unreliable” car, relying instead on buses.
“It got me wondering why we didn’t have neighborhoods like this everywhere,” he says. Also inspired by Buffalo’s revitalization, especially along the waterfront, Sam earned a Master of Regional Planning at the University at Albany in 2018.
After internships at CDTA and in the Planning Department of East Greenbush, Sam was hired by the City, where he handles zoning compliance letters, lot modifications, permit referrals, and does “whatever else needs doing,” such as staffing the City’s technical review committee. In non-Covid times, Sam plays rugby, a game he says is “for all shapes and sizes,” for the Albany Knicks.