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https://communityarchitectdaily.blogspot.com/2020/02/mayor-young-veto-this-misguided-give.html

This pathway allows someone to see UM Medicinal Center as soon as they get off of their train. I have many friends that work at the hospital/university that are not happy about this, as it provides a quiet, more direct route where you don't have to wade past dozens of people waiting for the bus on Baltimore. Also thanks to David S Brown the sidewalk is beyond the capabilities of many with disabilities. Redwood is well-lit, more clean, and much more pleasant to walk down than that retail-less block of Baltimore St.

Don't fool yourselves, what possible market impact could an existing pedestrian walkway negatively impact apartment rentals? If anything it provides a better connection to transit! Anywhere else this would be considered an asset.

We advocate the use of transit, we in this forum fall over ourselves over TOD, yet after only 30 years we turn our backs completely on one of the city's only true examples? and for what? Not yet have a heard a reason they need it to be closed besides the exclusion of certain dog whistle "undesirables".

To me all of this is just destructive pearl-clutching, having a homeless person outside your door in a city is sadly a very common occurrence. This will not change that in the slightest except now they will not have the privilege of staying dry. Plus, that corner of Baltimore and Howard is filled with dealers every night, yet they want to orient it that way?
 

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I think Brodie is on the right track in arguing that there's more to learn from Harborplace's original function than in trying to convert the area to parkland or wetlands or other softscaping.

I must say, I was really disappointed in the Edge Harbor and City entries for the area, and to me the entries continue to show how lost the architecture profession and schools still are in that the only thing they seem to be able to propose for ailing urbanism is anti urbanism (reflexive, mindless parkland or "landscape urbanism").

As beautiful as the slabs, greenery, and other sculptural stunts in the renderings at the link above are, the unfortunately reality is that most of these are designed as antihuman, hands-off sculpture to be viewed from the comfortable architect's distant aerial perspective, and on the ground level these would likely turn into unkempt, scruffy, trash-strewn border vacuums.

Waterfront parkland is notoriously difficult to pull off at the large scale and Jane Jacobs correctly recognized that it tends to be underpopulated most of the time: “The usual rescue for a decayed waterfront vacuum is to replace it with a park, which only moves the vacuum inland. Let's grasp the problem where it originates, at the shoreline, and make the shore a seam. Waterfronts should be penetrated by casual public openings for glimpsing work and water traffic.”

So as Brodie argued, Harborplace got a lot more right than it got wrong, and we should learn from what it got resoundingly right: there's absolutely nothing wrong with bringing commerce, retail, events, and buildings right up to the water line, and in fact that's exactly why the rest of the waterfront is so successful: the urban fabric extends right up to the water.

Replacing waterfront hardscaping and waterfront urbanism with parkland will result in a border vacuum magnitudes worse than Harborplace's current poor programming. We need to rethink the programming, rethink the blank walls and delivery/service entrances, rethink connections to Pratt and Light Streets, rethink interior circulation, and maybe even rethink the building positions, massing, and placement themselves, but the concept of having urbanism front directly onto the water is fundamentally sound.

Grand sweeping views, waist-high grasses (weeds), bunkers and berms, and other ambiguous "open space" slabs will not solve things and will in fact only make things worse. Let's focus our park-building attention on actual parks/plazas that desperately need attention - Hopkins Plaza, McKeldin Square, University Square, War Memorial Plaza - and leave the urban hardscape to remain urban hardscape. Architects need to learn that the solution to ailing urban fabric isn't just to inject "native grasses" and berms everywhere. Move beyond Modernism (Landscape Urbanism) already, you dumb lost profession!
You're overlooking the overall exercise of the competition and more importantly the first word of said competition's title, "Edge". It clearly states the goal as to imagine what a swimmable and resilient harbor would look like, not a reenvisioned Harbor Place. And as in all competitions, some entries fall short of others.

Sadly, University of Maryland is the worst of all, where they propose the lazy, thoughtless encroachment you speak of. But they're also listed as landscape architects, so it's no surprise, really. And they seem to be the only culprit.

I would applaud many of the other entries, though, where they provide what seem to be interactive hardscaping in the form of floating platforms, where if you've ever been to Beaver Dam you know are pretty great. Or the reimagining of Pier 6, where being at the mouth of the Jones Falls is very significant in it's natural form, while also allowing for recreation in currently underused or cordoned off areas.

These are all designs intended to engage the people with the harbor, again, seen as if it were swimmable. Nowhere other than by the aforementioned offender is there any hardscaping being replaced by border vacuums. Most of these are designed from the edge of our current water line and into the harbor. And it isn't such a terrible idea that in doing so they conjure up reflections of our harbors past in an ecological manner.
 

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For those that don’t go to the Development News subforums or haven’t seen it, there are leasing brochures for Rye Street Market and 2455 Banner Street (E5A).

https://pc.city/leasing/

Delivery dates of June 2021 for RSM and November 2021 for 2455 Banner. There will be a new music venue at the old Tidewater Yacht as well.

These are the first two buildings of this phase, which is very large, taking up the area of Riverside Park. Those Harbor Point renderings look magnificent, and will completely change that section of the skyline and city. To be adding Port Covington on to that is going to be one hell of a kick in the butt to this city. Harbor Point will be active in construction for the next half decade. This phase of PC will most likely be well into construction too. Very exciting times to be had.
 

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I was basing my response on the summary in this article, which discussed the need to rethink Harborplace within the context of the entire Inner Harbor:
https://www.baltimoremagazine.com/section/businessdevelopment/visions-for-harborplace-discussed-among-local-architects

I still would much rather have the direct, abrupt city-water interface of a traditional waterfront like San Antonio’s Riverwalk...

https://www.ytravelblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/restaurants-san-antonio-river-walk-texas.jpg

...than any of the empty expanses and buffer zones (whether they push out into the water on reclaimed space or inland onto existing land is irrelevant; the end result is the same) shown in many of the article’s renderings. In this regard Harborplace already gets a lot more right than any of the greenwashing present in the competition entries.

And that’s what I think many of the entries are: there’s lots of jargon about parkgoers “interfacing” or “engaging” with various proposed water features, but I don’t think architects realize that in the real world this doesn’t happen as easily as scattering people-dots into aerial renderings of fields, wetlands, slabs, or other open spaces in photoshop. And any perceived environmental benefits are purely ornamental: flooding and climate change and water pollution are occurring on too large a scale for any ornamental greenery in a spot location to be able to mitigate anything.

I recommend Landscape Urbanism and Its Discontents for a better discussion on the dangers and folly of greenwashing:
https://newsociety.com/books/l/landscape-urbanism-and-its-discontents
 

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I have to agree; it’s true that the closing of the portal wouldn’t be the end of the world and that a roundabout walk wouldn’t be much longer, but portals and shortcuts and any other urban design tools that can reduce block sizes for pedestrians generally only improve walkability and street life.

Given how hard they are to build in the first place, I think it’s generally a good idea to preserve and maintain the few we do have, and even to introduce them in more places, especially on larger blocks and superblocks. Too many interstitial, minor, and secondary streets in downtown were already clipped or removed in the postwar era, so I think we should be doing everything possible to increase block porosity rather than decreasing it.

Sadly, it certainly is true that vagrancy makes this really difficult: if we had the spine to maintain public order then I bet there wouldn’t even be developer pressure to remove useful shortcuts like this. Baltimore isn’t alone: the same pressure is ramping up in other cities, like Portland and Seattle, where public order is gradually dissolving and vagrancy only grows worse because it’s actively indulged. I can sympathize with a new resident in this building not wanting to step over bodies to go home after a long day at work, or getting tired of their front door smelling like piss.

All these charming urban design techniques that never used to cause us trouble are only going to work again in a context in which we can maintain and enforce public order. Otherwise people will actively seek to create border vacuums - which will gradually eat away at the point and pleasure of urbanism in the first place - in an understandable desire to create “defensible space” among street-level chaos:

http://www.defensiblespace.com/book.htm

But yeah, Redwood Street deserves to remain a through street for pedestrians, not a dead-end! And eventually when the arena is redeveloped, I think the shortcut should continue through that site *plus* any redeveloped Hopkins Plaza/Mechanic site too so pedestrians can straight-line walk east back to where Redwood picks up again. I really do think we should be reintroducing this fine-grained pedestrian access across and through blocks everywhere it once used to exist.

https://communityarchitectdaily.blogspot.com/2020/02/mayor-young-veto-this-misguided-give.html

This pathway allows someone to see UM Medicinal Center as soon as they get off of their train. I have many friends that work at the hospital/university that are not happy about this, as it provides a quiet, more direct route where you don't have to wade past dozens of people waiting for the bus on Baltimore. Also thanks to David S Brown the sidewalk is beyond the capabilities of many with disabilities. Redwood is well-lit, more clean, and much more pleasant to walk down than that retail-less block of Baltimore St.

Don't fool yourselves, what possible market impact could an existing pedestrian walkway negatively impact apartment rentals? If anything it provides a better connection to transit! Anywhere else this would be considered an asset.

We advocate the use of transit, we in this forum fall over ourselves over TOD, yet after only 30 years we turn our backs completely on one of the city's only true examples? and for what? Not yet have a heard a reason they need it to be closed besides the exclusion of certain dog whistle "undesirables".

To me all of this is just destructive pearl-clutching, having a homeless person outside your door in a city is sadly a very common occurrence. This will not change that in the slightest except now they will not have the privilege of staying dry. Plus, that corner of Baltimore and Howard is filled with dealers every night, yet they want to orient it that way?
 

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The Afro moving to the Upton Mansion. Hopefully this can be a boost for that area that is next to some good things, but also some bad things. Redeveloping McCulloh Homes would do wanders to turn the whole west side around north of Rt. 40. It's like a wall telling you not to go any further.

https://www.afro.com/the-afros-future-rooted-in-the-past/
 

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I was basing my response on the summary in this article, which discussed the need to rethink Harborplace within the context of the entire Inner Harbor:
https://www.baltimoremagazine.com/section/businessdevelopment/visions-for-harborplace-discussed-among-local-architects

I still would much rather have the direct, abrupt city-water interface of a traditional waterfront like San Antonio’s Riverwalk...

https://www.ytravelblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/restaurants-san-antonio-river-walk-texas.jpg

...than any of the empty expanses and buffer zones (whether they push out into the water on reclaimed space or inland onto existing land is irrelevant; the end result is the same) shown in many of the article’s renderings. In this regard Harborplace already gets a lot more right than any of the greenwashing present in the competition entries.

And that’s what I think many of the entries are: there’s lots of jargon about parkgoers “interfacing” or “engaging” with various proposed water features, but I don’t think architects realize that in the real world this doesn’t happen as easily as scattering people-dots into aerial renderings of fields, wetlands, slabs, or other open spaces in photoshop. And any perceived environmental benefits are purely ornamental: flooding and climate change and water pollution are occurring on too large a scale for any ornamental greenery in a spot location to be able to mitigate anything.

I recommend Landscape Urbanism and Its Discontents for a better discussion on the dangers and folly of greenwashing:
https://newsociety.com/books/l/landscape-urbanism-and-its-discontents
Reclaiming wetlands isn't greenwashing and there's plenty of evidence showing how doing so will mitigate flooding in an urban environment, especially in an immediate sense when there's heavy downpours. One of the most abstract entries of the bunch that parrots the current watershed mindset is Morgan State's where they call for action to be taken place at different areas surrounding the Jones Falls, and this addresses the resilient aspect of the exercise.

While often in Urban Planning, planners do tend to get the human aspect ratio wrong, these aerial renderings are necessary in providing the broader scope of our harbors watershed.

The main problem is a lack of a holistic approach, wherein planners, architects, and landscape architects are all sitting at their respective lunch tables keeping to themselves. These entries are mostly all great ideas but they do lack a bigger picture and some step on the toes of current prospects or the ideals of their neighboring professions.
 

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Reclaiming wetlands isn't greenwashing and there's plenty of evidence showing how doing so will mitigate flooding in an urban environment, especially in an immediate sense when there's heavy downpours. One of the most abstract entries of the bunch that parrots the current watershed mindset is Morgan State's where they call for action to be taken place at different areas surrounding the Jones Falls, and this addresses the resilient aspect of the exercise.
But in the urban setting the recreation of wetlands usually can't be done on a large enough scale (lack of space) to be meaningful, thus the small stunts that are geared more for awareness or demonstration than any real mitigation. If it can be done on a large enough scale to be meaningful - hundreds or thousands of acres - the resulting space is often off-limits to humans and only turns into a barrier/vacuum bisecting the city.

For example, I can imagine that the recreation of a properly-buffered Jones Falls like the example below would just form a wall between downtown and East Baltimore:


This would be space - wetlands, grasses, brush, mudflats, and other organic matter - that just wouldn't be usable by humans, and while it would provide overflow space for floodwaters, most of the time it would just be a scruffy, shunned out-of-sight, out-of-mind dumping ground.

I think this is why traditionally cities engaged waterfronts with esplanades, promenades, terraces, canals, and other hardscaping, because it actually allows people to use the space right up the water's edge (as Jacobs argued)*, whereas misapplying the rural transect into the urban setting just creates unusable barriers (even if nature herself uses those barriers). Rather than superimposing nature onto the city to mitigate climate change, I think we'd get far more mileage from restricting greenfield development near streams and wetlands in the suburbs and exurbs upstream. So, for example, historic Ellicott City wouldn't get flooded due to all the runoff from the exurban sprawl on the hills above the original town.

*I know I'd be pretty upset if I wouldn't be able to watch/board/disembark boats from the Inner Harbor if I first had to cross a vast expanse of marsh grasses, or a huge lawn, or an Epcot-style barren concrete "open space" - I love being able to walk right up to the water's edge and see the whole glittering city! The occasional waterfront pocket park (like Canton Waterfront Park) is just fine, but the ersatz ruralization and green buffers I saw in a lot of those competition entries was disturbing.

Also, one underappreciated feature of the current Harborplace setup is that its relative cramped-ness and narrowness is a feature, not a bug: it helps concentrate and funnel people on the brick walkways and makes the space feel livelier and more vibrant. (Given the few useful surviving functions inside the market sheds, it's amazing the brick promenades are still as lively as they are!) In a more open, airier space like this people will only spread out, making the waterfront feel more desolate, boring, and underpopulated (and more dangerous too). One of the lessons from the failure of pedestrian streets is that closing the roadway resulted in a lot of extra space that the amount of pedestrians simply couldn't fill up to make the corridors look lively and populated; they just had the aura of desolate underpopulation and were consequently shunned.
 

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Brian
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Looks like my unit total for the Cold Spring Lane project was off, proposed 163 unit affordable housing apartment near the metro station.

https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/02/27/163-affordable-apartments-planned-near-northwest.html?iana=hpmvp_bal_news_headline

Also, the Tractor Building apartments in Woodberry seem to moving along, at least for now.

https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/02/27/plan-to-turn-clipper-mills-tractor-building-into.html?iana=hpmvp_bal_news_headline

The investment that is pouring into Park Heights is truly amazing. There is this project, Renaissance Row, the larger redevelopment planned with a mix of townhomes and apartments, and most likely Pimlico will be huge for the neighborhood.
 

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Some more good news, it appears a lot I have been clamoring for to be redeveloped on Broadway has plans by none other than Chasen. Love these guys.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/421+S+Broadway,+Baltimore,+MD+21231/@39.2850708,-76.5936378,138a,35y,39.52t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c8047f8e2e3a43:0x6a24ea512becd471!8m2!3d39.286026!4d-76.5931

March 10, 2020
Live Streaming: The Planning Department live webstreams Planning Commission Hearings. To begin live streaming from any enabled device during a scheduled hearing, log on to: http://livestream.com/accounts/17371294

421-431 South Broadway (Fells Point Historic District)

Request: Concept Review – Construct Five-Story Building

Applicant: Brandon Chasen

Staff: Eddie Leon
 

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Looks like my unit total for the Cold Spring Lane project was off, proposed 163 unit affordable housing apartment near the metro station.

https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/02/27/163-affordable-apartments-planned-near-northwest.html?iana=hpmvp_bal_news_headline

The investment that is pouring into Park Heights is truly amazing. There is this project, Renaissance Row, the larger redevelopment planned with a mix of townhomes and apartments, and most likely Pimlico will be huge for the neighborhood.

https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/02/26/7-takeaways-from-a-hearing-that-could-determine.html

Speaking of Pimlico - in the yesterday’s BBJ article about the estimated costs, it denotes $13 million in funds for “temporary housing such as trailers” will be needed. Now I know nothing about the living requirements for horse track employees, but wouldn’t that $13 mil be a better investment to rehab quite a lot of rowhomes in the immediate neighborhood?
 

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Brian
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https://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2020/02/26/7-takeaways-from-a-hearing-that-could-determine.html

Speaking of Pimlico - in the yesterday’s BBJ article about the estimated costs, it denotes $13 million in funds for “temporary housing such as trailers” will be needed. Now I know nothing about the living requirements for horse track employees, but wouldn’t that $13 mil be a better investment to rehab quite a lot of rowhomes in the immediate neighborhood?
It's $13 million for transitional costs, of which will include the trailers. Its not $13 million total for trailers. "The new estimate also includes $13 million for transition and pre-construction costs". " The cost for temporary housing is part of the $13 million in transition costs." As someone that works in real estate development, pre-construction expenses can get very expensive, especially for a project as complex as this.

And if they're paying $13 million, in order to complete a $400 million redevelopment, I'll take that over renovated rowhouses any day. Create an anchor development at Pimlico and private funds with redevelop the townhomes.
 

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The Afro moving to the Upton Mansion. Hopefully this can be a boost for that area that is next to some good things, but also some bad things. Redeveloping McCulloh Homes would do wanders to turn the whole west side around north of Rt. 40. It's like a wall telling you not to go any further.

https://www.afro.com/the-afros-future-rooted-in-the-past/
That is good news. The Upton mansion was built in 1838, so there is quite a bit of history being preserved there.

They will likely have to do a lot of work to restore this bldg.

 

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The total price tag works out to over $400,000 per unit. No wonder they need subsidies on top of subsidies to make it work.
This is so infuriating. There is an endless supply of affordable housing in this city, it's called buying. First of all, you could take that $400,000 and buy a damn nice house in SoBo, the wealthiest section of the city. It's hard to sell a $400,000 condo almost anywhere in this city unless it's overlooking the Inner Harbor, and even some of those are not worth $400,000.

If we want affordable housing so bad, why don't we buy up houses around the city for affordable housing. Livable-nice houses in Baltimore are under $150,000 in most neighborhoods. You can buy livable homes in good neighborhoods for around $250,000. You can buy vacant homes and rebuild them for less than $200,000, the privates sector would do it for less than $150,000.

With the low price of housing in this city, we should be putting every effort we have to get people with jobs to buy homes. The mortgage on a $120,000 house is less than $900/month. But, if you get an affordable housing complex built, you can pat yourselves on the back continuously at the ribbon cutting and say you fought for the working family. That working family will have no mobility unless they start making significantly more money.
 

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But in the urban setting the recreation of wetlands usually can't be done on a large enough scale (lack of space) to be meaningful, thus the small stunts that are geared more for awareness or demonstration than any real mitigation. If it can be done on a large enough scale to be meaningful - hundreds or thousands of acres - the resulting space is often off-limits to humans and only turns into a barrier/vacuum bisecting the city.

For example, I can imagine that the recreation of a properly-buffered Jones Falls like the example below would just form a wall between downtown and East Baltimore:


This would be space - wetlands, grasses, brush, mudflats, and other organic matter - that just wouldn't be usable by humans, and while it would provide overflow space for floodwaters, most of the time it would just be a scruffy, shunned out-of-sight, out-of-mind dumping ground.

I think this is why traditionally cities engaged waterfronts with esplanades, promenades, terraces, canals, and other hardscaping, because it actually allows people to use the space right up the water's edge (as Jacobs argued)*, whereas misapplying the rural transect into the urban setting just creates unusable barriers (even if nature herself uses those barriers). Rather than superimposing nature onto the city to mitigate climate change, I think we'd get far more mileage from restricting greenfield development near streams and wetlands in the suburbs and exurbs upstream. So, for example, historic Ellicott City wouldn't get flooded due to all the runoff from the exurban sprawl on the hills above the original town.

*I know I'd be pretty upset if I wouldn't be able to watch/board/disembark boats from the Inner Harbor if I first had to cross a vast expanse of marsh grasses, or a huge lawn, or an Epcot-style barren concrete "open space" - I love being able to walk right up to the water's edge and see the whole glittering city! The occasional waterfront pocket park (like Canton Waterfront Park) is just fine, but the ersatz ruralization and green buffers I saw in a lot of those competition entries was disturbing.

Also, one underappreciated feature of the current Harborplace setup is that its relative cramped-ness and narrowness is a feature, not a bug: it helps concentrate and funnel people on the brick walkways and makes the space feel livelier and more vibrant. (Given the few useful surviving functions inside the market sheds, it's amazing the brick promenades are still as lively as they are!) In a more open, airier space like this people will only spread out, making the waterfront feel more desolate, boring, and underpopulated (and more dangerous too). One of the lessons from the failure of pedestrian streets is that closing the roadway resulted in a lot of extra space that the amount of pedestrians simply couldn't fill up to make the corridors look lively and populated; they just had the aura of desolate underpopulation and were consequently shunned.
I'm torn on this, much the same way I am with bike lanes. I can see how creating a waterfront park would be an amazing setting and could potentially push more retail onto Pratt and the surrounding downtown streets to activate them, but I can also see it being very underutilized. Like you mentioned, all those pretty renderings are great, but will they really be used to that degree? I think bike lanes are cool, but how many people really use them? Does the cost justify the corresponding use?
 

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Brian
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Excited to see an infill project that is in Little Italy and not on the periphery (which is good too).

Walid Hajj built this 21-unit apartment building with retail in Federal Hill.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/1232+Light+St,+Baltimore,+MD+21230/@39.2748905,-76.6120492,3a,75y,326.32h,97.92t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sEVIQy68lu85HfytXM23B9A!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c8036f2c7c2127:0xf13d86144f686c5c!8m2!3d39.2752414!4d-76.612192
I haven't seen an article yet, but @BaltBizRe twitter posted a picture of the Little Italy project. It will be a 4-5 story 40 unit apartment building.
 

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But in the urban setting the recreation of wetlands usually can't be done on a large enough scale (lack of space) to be meaningful, thus the small stunts that are geared more for awareness or demonstration than any real mitigation. If it can be done on a large enough scale to be meaningful - hundreds or thousands of acres - the resulting space is often off-limits to humans and only turns into a barrier/vacuum bisecting the city.

For example, I can imagine that the recreation of a properly-buffered Jones Falls like the example below would just form a wall between downtown and East Baltimore:


This would be space - wetlands, grasses, brush, mudflats, and other organic matter - that just wouldn't be usable by humans, and while it would provide overflow space for floodwaters, most of the time it would just be a scruffy, shunned out-of-sight, out-of-mind dumping ground.

I think this is why traditionally cities engaged waterfronts with esplanades, promenades, terraces, canals, and other hardscaping, because it actually allows people to use the space right up the water's edge (as Jacobs argued)*, whereas misapplying the rural transect into the urban setting just creates unusable barriers (even if nature herself uses those barriers). Rather than superimposing nature onto the city to mitigate climate change, I think we'd get far more mileage from restricting greenfield development near streams and wetlands in the suburbs and exurbs upstream. So, for example, historic Ellicott City wouldn't get flooded due to all the runoff from the exurban sprawl on the hills above the original town.

*I know I'd be pretty upset if I wouldn't be able to watch/board/disembark boats from the Inner Harbor if I first had to cross a vast expanse of marsh grasses, or a huge lawn, or an Epcot-style barren concrete "open space" - I love being able to walk right up to the water's edge and see the whole glittering city! The occasional waterfront pocket park (like Canton Waterfront Park) is just fine, but the ersatz ruralization and green buffers I saw in a lot of those competition entries was disturbing.

Also, one underappreciated feature of the current Harborplace setup is that its relative cramped-ness and narrowness is a feature, not a bug: it helps concentrate and funnel people on the brick walkways and makes the space feel livelier and more vibrant. (Given the few useful surviving functions inside the market sheds, it's amazing the brick promenades are still as lively as they are!) In a more open, airier space like this people will only spread out, making the waterfront feel more desolate, boring, and underpopulated (and more dangerous too). One of the lessons from the failure of pedestrian streets is that closing the roadway resulted in a lot of extra space that the amount of pedestrians simply couldn't fill up to make the corridors look lively and populated; they just had the aura of desolate underpopulation and were consequently shunned.
Ellicott City is a great example of how they and Baltimore are already past the point of the conservation of greenfields in order to maintain a healthy runoff and why intervention is now necessary. But it doesn't have to be at the expense of current infrastructure and amenities the way Howard County is proposing to tear down the old Bean Hollow, Discoveries, and Pheonix Emporium. They luckily already have a natural river that the Tiber flows into, and with some ecological engineering at both the top and bottom of the valley, those hasty demolitions at the hand of short sighted developments could be very well be avoided. And the same way from a strategic standpoint, the Jones Falls valley and Inner Harbor should be reimagined in order to prevent future catastrophic and costly flooding while maintaining it's current urban allure.

I don't believe that anyone, at least those with a true and grounded mindset of what urban living is and should be, considers reverting a well rounded and renowned harbor back into a complete marshland at every corner to be a good idea. President Street shouldn't become a sanctuary for migrating birds. No one's going to be wading into the basin with woven nets to haul a days catch (maybe, who knows). But, to truly address what ails and would also bolster the crown jewel of our city through this century, steps should be taken to secure it's future and place in the hearts and minds of everyone who knows it's name by taking action at precise locations throughout the lay of the land, including parts of the harbor.

If you approach the Inner Harbor to find where the effects will been not only be a seen but felt for generations to come, the most logical place is at the mouth of the Jones Falls. When you look at pier 6, outside of concerts, it's a terribly desolate stretch to walk through between the IH and HE. Pierce's Park, on the other hand, is where it turns pleasant. And because of that, a lot of the pedestrians tend to stop, rest, and play there. The back side of Scarlett Place, coupled with the garage across the river, is also doused in monotony. Now, sure, you could simply dress the place up a bit, plant a couple more trees, throw up some lanters, maybe open a space for a small cafe and call it a day. But that doesn't do enough when it comes to creating space in today's age and for tomorrow's impact. An extension of the environmental appeal of Pierce's Park across Pier 6 paired together with civic establishments would do wonders to further connect the IH and HE while also serving an infrastructural purpose. There's no need for the entire area to be replaced by mudflats, but, properly engineered all along the river, showcasing that effort downtown would make more than a statement.

Take for example the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, where there's a mixture of hard and softscaping along it's banks.



An initial implementation of something like this could take place alongside the Constellation building where Mrs. Shirley's would welcome the added foot traffic.

Blended together with a marshy edge further toward the harbor where boats could still dock, the scenery, institutions, and benefits would more than add up and even surpass the expense. Especially when environmental disasters and social gains are taken into consideration.

I'm not looking to open up the can of worms that is day lighting the JFX, but this could be a precursor or happen in tandem with such a project. And I'll reiterate that in order for this to make any sense, you know as well as I do, action needs to be taken further up stream, strategically along the harbor, and even further out into the bay.
 
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