The Green Network Plan is a bold vision for re-imagining vacant and abandoned properties and transforming them into community assets. The plan provides a thoughtful blueprint for turning vacant properties into parks, gardens, urban farms, open space and future development sites to benefit residents, promote economic development, and make Baltimore communities more connected and sustainable. The Green Network Vision is a framework to focus City, State and private-sector investments for years to come
Designed with the goals of improving quality of life, social equity, and connectivity, the Green Network Plan incorporates both existing nodes of community assets as leverage to support surrounding areas as well as nodes of opportunity to transform underutilized space. The Green Network Plan strengthens and reinforces existing recreational spaces, such as nature parks, basketball courts, baseball fields, community gardens, recreation centers, and playgrounds, both gathered from existing data from the City as well as community input from meetings on the east and west sides, by making them community destinations with accessible pedestrian corridors. Schools are a crux of the network because they are community centers that are distributed in a grid throughout the city and traverse all neighborhoods.
The plan carefully considers gaps in access, identified through recreation deserts, which are areas without walkable access to parks and other community spaces, and food deserts, which are areas without walkable access to grocery stores and other fresh produce vendors, by ensuring that the gaps are addressed through the creation of nodes in central neighborhood locations that allow for the development of urban farming, gardens, and recreational fields. Nodes of opportunity, defined as large agglomerations of underutilized space, such as vacant buildings and industrial lots, and non-traditional open space, such as historical cemeteries, provide an opportunity to address these gaps. These nodes of opportunity were incorporated into the plan to determine where and how to create large-scale and impactful open recreational space and beautification and, in turn, create more livable neighborhoods.
The directions and flows of corridors served to connect both existing assets and newly-developed nodes in a unified, walkable system throughout the city. Each street in the plan allows for pedestrian access or was selected due to potential to be transformed into safe, accessible corridors to be incorporated into the Green Network. The Low-Traffic Stress Network, existing and proposed bike infrastructure, and existing trails served as guides for corridor identification. Corridors will be enhanced with art, landscaping, and streetscaping improvements, creating environments appropriate for both lingering and connection. The resulting Green Network is a plan that not only connect major nodes, such as schools, major recreational spaces, university campuses, and centers of employment, but also has corridors created for both access and enjoyment that cross over every neighborhood.