Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture


Thomas Schurch

Committee Member

Dan Ford

Committee Member

Cliff Ellis


ABSTRACT The physical growth of the city has historically been determined by the form and scale of transportation infrastructure. Nowhere is this more evident than in the American urban landscape, whose form is in constantly growing and in flux. Conflict exists in our core urban environments as the convergence of limited-access, grade-separated urban freeway viaducts intersect with the urban fabric. As early as 1956 with the signing of the Federal Highway Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the construction of over 40,000 miles of federally funded highways was put into motion, 2,900 of which were designated as urban routes (Easterling, 2001). The most notable resultant conflicts of this intersection in core urban environments includes the inaccessibility to natural and social amenities such as parks and waterfronts, and the social and physical segregation of neighborhoods (Yin, 2009). This paper focuses on the reinterpretation of urban freeway viaduct corridors in core urban environments, how cities have historically ameliorated conflict, and the subsequent impacts these actions have had on the circulatory, economic, recreational, and culturally significant components of the urban landscape. The goal of this study is to encourage stronger dialogue between municipalities and the public regarding the functional futures of obsolete grade-separated urban freeway viaducts, and how the potential removal or reuse of such structures can be reinterpreted and reinvented, while remaining attentive to the impact such action would have on surrounding transportation infrastructure and the urban landscape. Results of this study suggest that post-removal or reuse of limited-access, grade-separated freeway viaducts can stimulate and improve local economic, social,and cultural components of core urban environments, shown consistently in a case study analysis of cities varying in size. Finally, the findings of this study are applied to an appropriate, conflicted site in Buffalo, New York in order to graphically illustrate drawn conclusions.