Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

The Historic Roots of Green Urban Policy in Baltimore County, Maryland
Pierce, Erin

Abstract: Planners have responded to the harmful consequences of sprawling development with a suite of growth management tools. Often utilized as Smart Growth policies, these efforts can include urban growth boundaries to guide growth. Many of the planning studies quantitatively evaluate boundaries at the state scale; however, few have considered the policy process at the local scale. This study explores the historic process of boundary adoption, implementation, and success in Baltimore County, Maryland. Specifically, this study utilizes the Lower Back River Neck to explore the impacts of the policy. Employing qualitative methods, this research shows that boundary adoption experienced false starts and was influenced by private planning efforts. Results indicate that the boundary’s purpose has evolved, and it is now the symbol of the county’s Smart Growth effort. This research is part of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, which seeks to understand how cities function as ecosystems and change over time.