Social Production of Green Spaces in Baltimore: Exploring the Role of Community Stakeholders

Authors: Molly Pickel*, Towson University
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: sustainable development, Baltimore, urban greenspace
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 25
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Studies of sustainable development have contrasted the ideal of providing for all
populations’ needs with the reality of contemporary development projects. These projects
are often motivated by urban entrepreneurialism, prioritizing environmental and
economic goals, while doing little to challenge uneven development and social inequities.
Located in an area of Baltimore, Maryland that is seeing newfound investment, the
Middle Branch Waterfront Project is a public-private redevelopment of greenspace. I
examined planning documents and interviewed stakeholders, finding that equity was
considered a vital but elusive goal: participants prioritized access to the waterfront, a
quick and inclusive planning process, and economic benefits to the neighborhoods, yet
feared new investments and outside attention might lead to cultural or physical
displacement. This case study shows progress toward inclusive participation processes
and prioritization of equity in development but concludes that broader trends of urban
entrepreneurialism and uneven development circumscribe the project’s potential to
achieve sustainable outcomes.

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