The Best Planned City: Olmsted, Vaux, and the Buffalo Park System


From the Library of American Landscape History

Explore the development of the parks and parkways that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed for Buffalo, New York, beginning in 1868.

A thirteen-minute documentary inspired by the book by author Francis R. Kowsky, published by UMass Press in association with LALH June 2013. The Best Planned City is the third film in the new LALH series North America by Design, available to a worldwide audience.

At the time, this development of connected green spaces as a park system was a revolutionary idea. Olmsted and Vaux’s plans drew national and international attention; they were displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where Olmsted declared Buffalo “the best planned city, as to its streets, public places, and grounds, in the United States, if not in the world.”

Find out more about this film and other LALH projects by visiting

North America by Design is a free, educational film series produced by LALH to foster understanding of the fine art of landscape architecture and appreciation for North America’s richly varied landscape heritage. All films in the series are created in association with Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc.

This film was made possible by generous gifts from:

Susan L. Klaus
John K. Notz Jr.
Hodgson Russ, LLP
Azby Art Fund, advised by Thomas B. Lemann
Hickory Foundation, advised by Virginia James
Carolyn Marsh Lindsay
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

George W. Curry, FASLA
Peter Pennoyer
Vanguard Charitable Program, advised by Dr. and Mrs. W. Scott Peterson
Natalie Shivers, AIA
Walter and Nesta Spink
Nancy R. Turner
Lucy Ireland Weller

Charles D. Burnham, ASLA
Mrs. James Cooke III
Deirdre Cunningham, McLallen House
Carol Grove
Robert A. M. Stern Architects
Thomas Woodward
Roy J. Zuckerberg Family Foundation, advised by Lloyd P. Zuckerberg

Laurence A. Clement
Kelly Comras
Linda Florio
David Kamp
Henri J. LeClerc
Jacqueline J. Melander
Flora Nyland
Edward and Mary Olinger
Jon A. Peterson
Barbara Troup Phippard
Nicholas Quennell, FASLA
Roy and Laurie Regozin
Frances Shedd-Fisher
Alida Silverman
Jean Stringham in honor of Caroline Loughlin
David Swinford

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