Baltimore Ecosystem Study Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2012 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Landscape Design in the Oliver Neighborhood, Baltimore: Selected Results from a BES-Inspired Penn State Landscape Architecture Studio
Gorenflo, Larry
Co-Authors: Matthew Chiampi, Brian McLoughlin, MacKenzie Patrick, Gabbi Salvemini, Simon Winterbottom, Barry W. Kew, and L.J. Gorenflo

Abstract: Advances in research on the urban ecology of Baltimore, through efforts of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), provide a unique opportunity to develop urban designs that address ecological problems in a modern America city. Benefits of BES emerge in two forms—the considerable data generated by researchers involved in the project, and key issues identified by more than a decade of ecological inquiries. Building on both of these benefits, faculty in the Penn State Department of Landscape Architecture developed an advanced design studio in Spring Semester 2012 that focused on urban design in Baltimore. Staff from the Baltimore Office of Sustainability agreed to serve as a client in the studio, and selected the Oliver Neighborhood as a project site. This poster session presents example designs by five 5th-year seniors at Penn State developed over a 16-week semester that deal with issues in this portion of Baltimore. Major challenges included developing designs that improved Baltimore ecology, addressed social issues, and were visually appealing, all within the constraint of being feasible or affordable. Although BES research has not focused explicitly on the Oliver Neighborhood, all projects defined design objectives identified by BES as key ecological issues, such as improving water quality, increasing tree cover, developing ecological connectivity both within and beyond the neighborhood, and reestablishing habitat for pollinators. Building on the success of this course, Penn State will repeat the Baltimore studio in spring 2013 with a new group of students.