I was thinking we can treat our levels like it's done in games like Mario and Megaman where we design the actual platform separate from the background. We can easily then push the environment back without it interfering with the readability of the players and playable path.
Also, by making the path flat we don't have to worry about shadows under the players, or shadows from buildings falling onto the playable path like it is in our mock up. Buildings like the one on the left side would also would also be part of the background.
I did a quick paint over. What do you guys think?