Task Force launched to Reimagine the Erie Canal
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has launched an unprecedented effort to reimagine the historic Erie Canal, an over 350-mile waterway that stretches from Albany to Buffalo.
The Reimagine the Canals Task Force will be led by representatives from state agencies, community representatives, and subject matter experts charged with directing the repositioning of the canal system. The Governor has committed to delivering significant investment to the system and developing projects to enhance the 19th-century engineering marvel as a 21st century waterway and recreation corridor.
The Task Force will reimagine the Erie Canal according to the guiding principles of increasing environmental resilience, restoring natural ecosystems, and sparking economic development for canalside communities across New York State.
The Task Force builds on the innovative ideas generated through the Reimagine the Canals competition that Buro Happold’s Cities ran last year for NYPA and the Canal Corporation. Receiving awards totaling $2 million to bring their ideas to life, the two winning teams were Erie Armada and Canalside Pocket Neighborhoods. Their ideas – a multi-day brewing industry festival and boat race as well as a new model for waterfront living – are currently being implemented.
Over the past two decades, Buro Happold’s Cities team has consulted with public authorities and private organizations across the country on projects that creatively reimagine underperforming infrastructure into people-friendly public spaces that generate jobs, improve the environment, provide recreation, and draw residents and visitors. Some of these projects include Buro Happold’s strategic and technical advisory for the Erie Canal, the High Line, Jamaica Bay Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Tilden Historic District, the Lower Manhattan streetscape, the Chicago Pedway, Richmond Bridge Park, and the Changing Course ideas competition. Buro Happold Cities has developed a suite of strategic approaches and analytic solutions for the adaptive reuse of infrastructure in decline. As technology and the economy transforms, these assets present an opportunity to reinvest in public infrastructure to improve quality of life and enhance the vitality of communities.