Dillaway, Diana 1941-

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Dillaway, Diana 1941-


Born 1941, in Buffalo, NY; married (twice); children: two sons. Education: Holds graduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley.


Home—Ventura, CA.


Writer and specialist in urban and community development. Worked with urban and community development groups such as the San Jose Development Corporation, Center for Business and Environmental Studies at California State University at Hayward, Foundation for National Progress, and the Local Government Commission, Sacramento, CA. Worked for the San Francisco Symphony.


Power Failure: Politics, Patronage, and the Economic Future of Buffalo, New York, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 2006.

Worked for Mother Jones magazine.


An expert and consultant in urban and community development, Diana Dillaway is the author of Power Failure: Politics, Patronage, and the Economic Future of Buffalo, New York. In this book Dillaway traces the social, political, and economic factors that rendered Buffalo, once a thriving and vibrant midsized city, into an almost archetypal example of industrial decline, urban decay, wrong-headed planning decisions, and economic downturn. Dillaway's conclusions are bolstered by the fact that she lived for years in Buffalo and observed firsthand many of the events that led to the city's deterioration. She describes how the city's business elite, a group of white Protestant business and civic leaders, set the stage for the city's woes in the early 1960s. A combination of arrogance, overconfidence, and bad judgment led these leaders to make some particularly bad decisions and to refuse to adapt to changing conditions, such as serious declines in the steel industry that had long been the city's backbone. The group of Buffalo business elite also refused to embrace the civil rights movement and adapt to the resultant social changes rendered throughout the country. Other business and planning errors further hobbled the city and prevented expansion and revitalization. Buffalo failed to develop a system of light-rail transportation connecting points within and outside of the city, and a proposed new State University of New York campus, initially proposed for the downtown area, was rejected outright. Dillaway also explains how the failure to engage business and professional leaders from the city's ethnic communities, particularly African Americans, contributed to Buffalo's downward spiral. Dillaway traces the city's bleakest period to about 1975, "when things did hit rock bottom and the city was days away from bankruptcy," she stated to a reviewer on Artvoice. Afterward, an influx of new investment helped spark change and initiate Buffalo's slow regrowth.

Dillaway's analysis of the situation in Buffalo provides valuable insight for planners, students, and professionals who want to "better understand the urban planning process as a whole," commented a reviewer in Bookwatch. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called her work "a powerful cautionary tale of the dangers that can accompany valuing turf and power over a city's well-being."



Bookwatch, July, 2006, review of Power Failure: Politics, Patronage, and the Economic Future of Buffalo, New York.

Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, review of Power Failure, p. 76.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2006, review of Power Failure.


Artvoice,http://www.artvoice.com/ (December 2, 2006), review of Power Failure.

Buffalo Rising Online,http://www.buffalorising.com/ (June, 2006), Jane C. Morris, interview with Diana Dillaway.

Prometheus Books Web site,http://www.prometheusbooks.com/ (December 2, 2006), biography of Diana Dillaway.*

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