Aim for the Sky: The Buffalo Skyway Corridor Competition

New York State is calling on teams of the nation’s top urban designers, economists, planners and architects to compete in generating a vision for the Buffalo Skyway Corridor.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s challenge to reimagine the Buffalo Skyway Corridor is a competition to define a clear vision for the City of Buffalo’s waterfront, helping inform the direction for investment in placemaking and economic development opportunities.

The Skyway, a four-lane limited access expressway, extends four miles along the City’s Lake Erie waterfront, and carries almost 40,000 trips per day of commuter traffic as part of the regional highway system.  Completed in 1953, the Skyway was originally designed to connect truck traffic from multiple large and small factory complexes and the Port of Buffalo to the then-fledgling interstate highway system. 

Yet with the closings of the region’s major steel plants in the 1980s and changing land uses along the corridor from heavy manufacturing to recreation, it has evolved to serve more as commuting corridor to the city’s southern suburbs.

We want  your ideas: the competition seeks submissions to generate a transformative vision for the Buffalo Skyway Corridor.

A Competition to Reimagine the Buffalo Skyway Corridor

The process involves a two-part submission:

  • Part 1, open now, allows respondents to provide an overview of their idea and how it addresses the main objectives and constraints of the competition through an application form available here.  Submissions will be evaluated for responsiveness to the goals of the competition, technical complexity, and feasibility. The deadline for Part 1 submissions is 3 p.m. on Friday, June 28.
  • Respondents who best demonstrate how they meet the evaluation factors will be invited to provide a Part 2 submission, to open Monday, July 15, which will include a full technical proposal and finished graphics, suitable for gallery presentation. Up to 20 Part 1 respondents will be invited to proceed to Part 2.  

Request for Submissions: The Buffalo Skyway Corridor Competition

Apply to the Buffalo Skyway Corridor Competition

The Process: Review the eligibility criteria, learn about the judging process, and discover how you can be a part of the Buffalo Skyway Corridor competition.

Who Should Apply?

We’re looking for help determining the future of this waterfront corridor. Individuals or teams representing the nation’s brightest urban designers, economists, planners, and architects are encouraged–and eligible–to participate.

Participants will be provided with information on the history of the Skyway, past studies, zoning and land use plans and codes, and challenged to share solutions that can be implemented with a degree of affordability, feasibility, and technical achievability.  We look forward to the creativity and passion that you’ll bring to reimagine the waterfront!

The Judging Process

A jury convened by Governor Cuomo will review all finalist submissions.  Following ranking of submissions, a number of respondent teams will be asked to present their submissions to the jury and the public.  The panel of outside experts will hear from finalists in an event setting and will select the three prize winners from this group of applicants. 


  • June 28 – Part 1 applications due
  • July 15 – Announcement of Top 20 Part 1 submissions
  • August 17 – Part 2 submissions due
  • Week of August 26 and Week of September 2– Public Information Sessions
  • Week of September 9 - Finals week 

Challenge Winners

  • Prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions in the amounts of $100,000 (top idea), $50,000 (first runner-up), and $25,000 (second runner-up). 
  • Winners of the competition have the opportunity to define the scope of future waterfront development and inform the direction of future state and private investment. 
  • Winners will be announced by late summer 2019.