Land Conservancy kicks off juried international design ideas competition for DL&W trail and greenway

The Western New York Land Conservancy is excited to announce the start of new international Design Ideas Competition for the DL&W corridor. Professional and student designers, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and artists are invited to submit their visionary concepts 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.

The competition is the next step in reimagining this former industrial space as a multi-use urban nature trail and greenway. It follows the work of community leaders, residents, planners, and advocates who have championed the potential of this site for years. And it also follows on the heels of a year-long community visioning process that resulted in a published community vision plan that will guide the future of the DL&W corridor. The corridor is owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA).

“After listening to the community’s hopes for the DL&W corridor, we are excited to give designers from Western New York and around the world a chance to show us how they would bring those hopes to life,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director of the Land Conservancy. “This spring we will share the designs with the community and ask the community what they think of the ideas, what they like, and what they would do differently.”

Competition winners will be selected by a jury of community leaders and local, national, and international experts in planning, design, community development, public art, architecture, and urban trail projects like New York City’s High Line and Toronto’s Bentway. The proposals will be revealed on the Land Conservancy’s website and at several public exhibitions this spring. In addition to three winners selected by the jury, the community will also be able to select their favorite proposal. The winners will receive monetary awards ranging from $1,000 to $7,500.

Jurors include:
 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 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

The design community has an incredible opportunity to bring forth their best ideas to transform this abandoned post-industrial landscape into the vibrant and interconnected public green space that the community is asking for,” said Ken Greenberg, one of the jury members. Ken also helped launch and design the Bentway project in Toronto.

“I have seen projects revitalize communities all over the country. As members of the jury, we will evaluate and make recommendations about each of the innovative ideas for this new public space based on the community’s vision for this corridor,” says Ana Traverso-Krejcarek, another juror. Ana is a Bolivian-American sociologist and urban planner. At the High Line Network Ana works with industrial reuse organizations and projects creating a new generation of public spaces.

Kishore Varanasi, Director of Urban Design and Principal at cbt, is the competition adviser for the Land Conservancy. Anthony Armstrong, Principal at Make Communities, is the community engagement consultant and project manager.

More detailed information about the Design Ideas Competition, including the Competition Brief with goals and intended outcomes can be found on the Land Conservancy’s website at Those wishing to participate in the competition must register by emailing There is no cost to participate. Submissions are due by February 15, 2019. Winners will be announced this spring.


About Damian Holmes 3313 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at