Reimagining the DL&W Corridor:
International Design Ideas Competition

Multi-Use Urban Nature Trail & Greenway

Buffalo, New York

The Western New York Land Conservancy invited designers, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and artists to submit visionary concepts to a juried competition laying the groundwork to transform the abandoned, 1.5-mile elevated DL&W rail corridor connecting Buffalo’s downtown with its waterfront through three distinct and historic neighborhoods.

This Design Ideas Competition is the next step in reimagining the DL&W corridor, following the work of community leaders, residents, planners, and advocates who have championed the potential of this site for years.

The new nature trail and greenway will be an inspiring community gathering place alive with the history and voice of the surrounding neighborhoods. More than just a trail, the reimagined rail corridor will be a vibrant, safe, and welcoming space for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to connect with each other, with nature, and with the waterfront, throughout the year. The nature trail and greenway will be the focal point of a revitalized community and a restored ecosystem.

The Competition Brief contains the project’s goals, intended outcomes, and disclaimers for the Design Ideas Competition. The juried competition will be judged anonymously and monetary awards will be given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. The community will also select a design to win the Community Choice Award.

Nearly 100 designs were submitted from all over Western New York, the nation, and the world!

Community representatives and project partners, along with 2,000 people who participated in the online voting, narrowed those down to 25 designs that were displayed at the Design Ideas Competition Open House at the M&T Center on April 10, 2019.

Approximately 300 people attended the open house and cast their votes for their favorite designs to help select the Community Choice Award. All competition winners will be announced in June 2019.

Competition Schedule:

  • November 16, 2018: Design Ideas Competition launch.
  • January 4, 2019: Optional site visit for applicants.
  • January 11, 2019: Deadline for questions from applicants.
  • February 15, 2019: Deadline for submissions (5:00 p.m. EST)
  • April 10, 2019: Design Ideas Open House
  • June 2019: Announcement of Winners


  • Charles Davis II, Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Criticism, University at Buffalo
  • Ken Greenberg, Principal of Greenberg Consultants/ author of Walking Home – the life and lessons of a city builder
  • Sara Heidinger, President of the Old First Ward Community Association/ co-owner Undergrounds Coffee House & Roastery
  • Chris Reed, Founding Director of Stoss Landscape Urbanism/ Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture and Co-Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Robert Shibley, Professor and Dean of the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning/ UB Campus Architect/ Senior Fellow at the UB Regional Institute
  • Janne Sirén, Director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery
  • Ana Traverso-Krejcarek, Manager of the High Line Network, at Friends of the High Line

Advisers and Consultants:

  • Kishore Varanasi, Director of Urban Design and Principal at cbt
  • Anthony Armstrong, Principal at Make Communities

We would like thank the generous supporters of the Design Ideas Competition