By this time, we all must have some idea about the future of The Riverline – what we imagine it will look like, and how it will behave. With that in mind, the Western New York Land Conservancy and its design partners W Architecture, Hood Design Studio, and Green Shield Ecology, are asking the community to submit photos that will help them to better understand what sort of ideas everyone has.
Currently, The Riverline is undergoing a Concept and Schematic Design Process. This exercise will ultimately serve as the recipe for the the proposed nature trail and greenway being developed along the former rail corridor running from Canalside to the Buffalo River.
These days, everyone is armed with a camera. We never leave home without one. That means that we are constantly snapping away, especially when we visit our favorite places.
What is it about our favorite places that makes them so special? Is it the vistas, the trees, the winding paths, the benches, structures, art… these are the images that need to be captured, to demonstrate the beauty, the practicality, and the connectivity that will best serve The Riverline.
Amateur and professional photographers, and everyone in-between, are asked to submit photos to demonstrate their favorite places and creations – at the waterfront, in neighborhood parks, or even in someone’s own backyard. The photos can be taken in WNY, or any other inspiring place for that matter. Rain, snow, sun… the group wants shutterbugs to take all seasonal aspects into account – The Riverline will one day be a year round destination for hiking, bird watching… maybe even sledding?
When taking photographs (cell phones or digital cameras), community members are asked to consider how The Riverline can:
- Respect the character and history of local communities and increase quality of life for residents
- Embrace and enhance nature that thrives along the corridor
- Provide for different kinds of recreation and events year round
- Create connections beyond the old rail corridor itself
- Design with long-term use, maintenance, and safety in mind
- Help create additional investment and opportunity in the community
“This documentation effort is a crucial part of the design process,” says Barbara Wilks, principal and founder of W Architecture, “since it allows us to see the future corridor of The Riverline through the eyes of people who will use it.”
The design will also build on the concepts from the international design ideas competition announced in June 2019, and an equitable development framework completed in mid-2020.
Walter Hood, MacArthur Genius grant recipient and principal of Hood Design Studio in Oakland, CA, agrees. “Since our design teams are located in Brooklyn and Oakland, respectively, we rely on input from participating communities to shed light on what they value and want the future of the space to become. Weaving this input into our work results in a design that is idiosyncratic and particular to the residents’ city.”
Those wishing to participate in this input process can email their photographs to Alexa Ringer at the Land Conservancy (email@example.com) by December 28th, 2020. They can also post their photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #TheRiverline. Once the material is collected, the Land Conservancy will send it to the design teams to help generate ideas for The Riverline. In early 2021, the Land Conservancy and the design teams will virtually exhibit early stages of the design to solicit public feedback. This feedback will assist the design teams in developing their final concept designs, which will be unveiled in the summer of 2021.
Funding for this phase of work comes in part through an Environmental Protection Fund grant administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Additional funding is provided by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Blue Fund, KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, Moog, Inc., Nancy and Tom Smith, Peggy and Jay Elliott, Kathy Lasher and Scott Bieler, and other individual community donors. The Land Conservancy continues to seek additional funding for The Riverline.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, please visit the new website for The Riverline: theriverline.com. You can also reach out to the Land Conservancy at (716) 687-1225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead image: The DL&W rail line – the future Riverline | Photo by Abby Songin