Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2014 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Baltimore's waterfront: a changing landscape informed by BES research
Kew, Barry
Co-Authors: barry kew, larry gorenflo

Abstract: While renewed interest along Baltimore’s waterfront brings design opportunities, the potential change in this Baltimore landscape can impact larger ecosystems. Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), members and Penn State’s Department of Landscape Architecture’s upper level design studio in partnership with the City’s Office of Sustainability (OS) developed a BES Design Initiative. A challenge for Baltimore OS is strategically integrating Baltimore City Parks and Recreation properties into a master plan that is geared to ensuring the region’s plants, animals, and people thrive in a healthy urban ecosystem where economic prosperity and environmental quality provide a high quality of life for both the human and natural environment. By integrating BES research with landscape design, these students prepared conceptual designs for park space adjacent to the newly constructed Horseshoe Casino. This site adjacent to the harbor’s edge provided opportunity for students to emphasize creative approaches to mitigation of ecologically challenged landscapes. From using stormwater to extract metals, to adapting vegetation for phytoremediation of soils, students used research generated from the BES to inform design. Students did not limit themselves to the common ground plane for design opportunity, and found ways to link creative design to transportation infrastructure in the area of the waterfront. Several of these designs suggest that in as little as 10 years a measurable amount of contaminants in the existing landscape can be remediated. Using conventional graphic means with posters and video, this presentation demonstrates the power of integrating graphic language to communicate ecological research.