Design Workshop Recommends Elements to Promote Quality of Life in Revitalization of East Baltimore

Workshop for experts to provide input on healthy design options for East Baltimore

In 2005, East Baltimore Development Inc. conducted a workshop to generate recommendations from experts regarding healthy design elements that could be incorporated in the master planning and development activities for the revitalization of the East Baltimore community.

East Baltimore Development Inc. is the nonprofit organization charged with leading and managing the $800-million revitalization of an 80-acre portion of East Baltimore. The project is designed to improve the quality of life for residents in a community where:

  • Infant mortality is approximately double the overall city rate of 14 per thousand.
  • The rate of death of children is more than 50 percent higher than the city's average.
  • Housing vacancy rates in the early 2000s reached an all-time high of 60 percent.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and cancer occur at disproportionately high rates.

Key Results: The Healthy Neighborhood Design Workshop, which took place on November 15, 2005, in Baltimore, drew some 50 attendees representing municipal agencies, neighborhood organizations, philanthropic partners and experts in urban design.

At the workshop, four speakers made presentations on the following topics:

  • Transportation planning.
  • Crime prevention through environmental design.
  • Children and public spaces.
  • Successful public spaces and public markets.

Key Recommendations: Workshop participants generated a total of 21 recommendations in the four topic areas. A sampling of the recommendations includes:

  • Transportation/Walkability
    • Hire a qualified project transportation engineer familiar with smart growth principles to study parking, two-way streets and traffic-calming elements in the East Baltimore project area.
    • Create a new transit system at a highly affordable price.
    • Reduce or eliminate the one-way street system.
  • Safety/Crime Prevention
    • Assure that there are natural surveillance opportunities along commercial and residential properties, and parking areas and rear entrances to residential units.
    • Evaluate the current locations designated for retail and commercial properties to determine if additional activities could be located at the ground floor level, to encourage "eyes on the street."
    • Create safe pedestrian pathways along green spaces and adjacent to natural areas.
  • Child-Friendly Design Elements
    • Create play spaces designed for children at all stages of development.
    • Provide resources to involve the community in the design of green spaces in the park areas.
  • Public Spaces
    • Design public spaces to be used by all age groups.
    • Determine how public spaces will be managed to ensure long-term maintenance.

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