SWA-designed Katy Trail Named Best Public Place in Urban Land Institute’s Inaugural Impact Awards

DALLAS, TX (April 2, 2015)—The North Texas District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) honored Katy Trail with its Public Place Award as part of its annual Impact Awards. The honor recognizes a project providing the public with enhanced civic, open or public space experiences. Katy Trail was designed by the Dallas studio of leading international landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm SWA, which continues working on key aspects of the 3.5-mile urban greenbelt.


With an average of more than 2,800 daily users, Katy Trail has become one of the most celebrated civic amenities in Dallas, and puts 300,000 residents within walking/biking distance of 123 acres of city parks. Sponsored by diverse public/private funding and operated by the nonprofit Friends of Katy Trail, the former railroad right-of-way weaves through 29 natural acres in central Dallas, connecting 20 neighborhoods with downtown, American Airlines Center, and Southern Methodist University as well as museums, creeks and parks.


“Katy Trail is a signature amenity for Dallasites, and a project we feel embodies the notion than landscape architecture can truly enhance communities and improve lives,” said Chuck McDaniel, managing principal of SWA in Dallas. “The ULI’s recently released Building Healthy Places report cited access to pedestrian paths and trails as a key component in how the real estate industry can improve health, so the award is doubly fitting.”


The Urban Land Institute’s March 19 event, which also honored projects in the categories of Innovation, Influence and The Next Big Idea, recognized Katy Trail’s contribution in helping to transform neighborhoods. Residents have not only adopted Katy Trail as a favorite public place, but the Dallas Morning News reports that developers cite a 25 percent premium for adjacent properties.


About SWA

Established in 1957, SWA ( is an international landscape architecture, planning and urban design firm.  SWA has offices in Sausalito, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Shanghai and the United Arab Emirates.  Since its inception, SWA Group has worked in over 60 countries, and its projects have garnered more than 800 awards.