Landscape Architecture is presented with a unique design challenge in the contemporary city as ideas of green infrastructure and sustainability are gaining significance, and the emerging role of greenways’ importance in shaping future urban form. There is significant discussion of the role of urban greenways along natural corridors providing recreation and environmental services in cities (Gobster &Westphal et al., 2004) as well as the role of greenways in creating synergy on differing scales addressing sustainability and connectivity in urban areas (Sharma, 2010). Additionally there has been an emerging discussion of how Detroit and other “blighted” or “legacy” rust-belt cities are turning to urban agriculture, new economies and other progressive or adaptive land uses to address sustainability, community development, and urban infill (Reed 2012, et al). However it is unclear how or if these land uses are part of a larger systems wide approach and to what extent already existing greenways can anchor these objectives.
This ongoing project is a critical review of how cities such as Baltimore can use established design approaches paired with greenway development to address the underutilization of space and lack of connectivity which have resulted in urban fragmentation, population loss and declining economic activity in recent decades. Are these design approaches sufficient to retrofit a city? Can landscape architecture provide design solutions by extending greenways technology and theory out from the stream valleys and onto the ground plane of our urban public realm to meet those goals of connectivity? Landscape ecological urbanism provides a foundation to bridge the gaps between theoretical approaches of landscape urbanism and the scientific approaches of urban ecology by recognizing that cities are essentially human dominated ecosystems (Steiner 2012). By acknowledging that landscape urbanism projects can improve the quality of life in cities, we can now advance our systems thinking as to how these projects can become more integrated into the related discussions of ecosystem services and future urban form. This project looks at those related and evolving theories to examine which landscape design approaches are relevant and what the future might look like for cities with shrinking populations, an abundance of space, and rich cultural and ecological diversity – with a focus on the role of current and future greenways in those cities.
The underlying intention of this research is to look at how the built environment between greenways can be adapted to create a meaningful sense of place and synergy to an emerging greenway network.
"Retrofitting Cities: A Case Study in Baltimore - Exploring New Trends in Urban Greenways,"
Proceedings of the Fábos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning: Vol. 4
, Article 59.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/fabos/vol4/iss1/59
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