Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Urban renewal and housing redevelopment: Baltimore vs. Washington - State Center.gifThe State Center area abuts the Mount Royal arts district anchored by a number of arts institutions. Graphic by Shirdell McDonald, Baltimore Sun news artist.

Baltimore is, more or less, an example of classic clearance oriented brutalism in design, urban renewal--like DC's Southwest quadrant, which does have more green space than something like the Charles Center.

While DC is taking a decent tack with the "New Communities" program, Baltimore in my opinion anyway, has just trumped DC in their plans for renewing the "State Center" (subject of a recent presentation by the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities).

While DC Government does have a comprehensive plan, according to the Baltimore Sun article "State Center to get makeover: Struever to lead building of offices, stores and homes," the state partnership has just selected one of the most qualified development teams in the U.S., Baltimore-based Streuver Brothers, Eccles & Rouse, along with is one of the best mixed-use, adaptive reuse of historic buildings development firms in the country. SBER chose McCormack Baron Salazar of St. Louis to lead the housing aspect of the project. Richard Baron has been acknowledged for leadership on the part of the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, and the Fannie Mae Foundation because of his company's success in rehabilitating-building 13,000 units of lower-income housing in 25 cities across the U.S.

From the article:

"This is clearly a golden opportunity based on its location," Robert L. Flanagan, state secretary of transportation, said yesterday. "It is located at the intersection of Baltimore's subway system, the light rail and six MTA bus lines. It is also in the midst of some very strong communities, but those communities are isolated from each other in many ways by this site. "The goal is to cluster a mix of uses that would incorporate the government agencies, but also include shopping, entertainment and housing.

In fact, I'd feel a lot better about the ultimate success of the Northwest One redevelopment initiative if a firm like MBS was implementing the effort. Click here to read about the MBS housing redevelopment philosophy. And see this article from the Post, "Sursum Residents Fear Loss of Homes."

DMPED New CommunitiesDC's "Northwest One" New Communities area.

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