Longstanding Neighborhood Design Center collaborators the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability and Parks & People Foundation are expanding access to landscape design services for community-based activation of vacant land through two new initiatives:
- Parks and People Foundation Design Grants are available through Parks and People’s Greening Grants program, and the visioning workshops and conceptual designs provided by NDC prepare recipients to re-apply for implementation funding in future Greening Grant cycles.
- The Baltimore Office of Sustainability is supporting community-based visioning with NDC of open spaces identified as priorities through the new Green Network Plan and/or the INSPIRE plans for neighborhoods surrounding 21st Century Schools.
Four pilot projects have received conceptual design assistance from NDC staff during Fall 2017, including community groups in Sandtown-Winchester, Carrollton Ridge, and two groups in Park Heights. NDC staff Johnny Macon, Laura Wheaton, and Rachel McNamara facilitated visioning workshops near each site with core stakeholders to determine the consensus vision, then documented that vision in a conceptual landscape plan.
One pilot projects is for the YO! Baltimore program in Sandtown Winchester, to create a meaningful place for youth who are engaged in their programs. The design is needed to be cost effective, maintainable and beautiful. This green space for youth includes tailored concepts with thoughtful details while still addressing concerns of ponding rainwater and unregulated parking. For example, the design includes a Celebration Garden featuring a directional sign that “graduates can use to show the destination of their future”. A special outdoor “social room” with both tiered and movable seating can be adapted for sitting alone, in groups, or as a classroom. An entrance bridge, rain garden, natural boulder bollards and ornamental trees continue the peaceful vibe.
NDC brings years of experience in design for urban open spaces to these projects, ensuring that the resultant plans incorporate best practices in sustainability and maintainability. These plans will serve as the starting point for implementation of native plants, edible gardens, pathways, fencing, and other elements with funding from initiative sponsors and other sources.
View the YO! Baltimore Vacant Lot Design here: 3243 PP YO Baltimore Design Plan_small (2)