Transforming the Waterfront into Baltimore's 'Blue Green Heart'

Dutch design firm West 8 recently won a competition to rethink an 11-mile stretch of the Baltimore's waterfront, not to be confused with a $5.5 billion project to redevelop Port Covington.

Read Time: 2 minutes

September 5, 2019, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Ethan McLeod reports for Next City on the recently revealed designs to remake the Baltimore waterfront along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, a relatively calm stretch of water that feeds into the busier Inner harbor.

The city held a design competition to rethink the area, focusing around Hanover Street Bridge, doomed for removal as it reaches the end of its 103-year lifespan. The city announced Dutch design company West 8 as the winner in July 2019. McLeod provided news coverage as the design competition neared culmination for Baltimore Fishbowl.

The West 8 design "reimagines the Middle Branch as a 'blue green heart' for Baltimore, with an 11-mile loop connecting the shorelines of Westport, Cherry Hill, Riverside, Brooklyn and Port Covington," according to McLeod, in the more recent of the two articles.

"West 8 hopes to upcycle dredged material from the nearby Port of Baltimore as the base for the new marshes and greenery at the water’s edge, similarly to how the firm’s home country of Holland designed new infrastructure like dikes and bridges," according to McLeod. "The design eyes major re-uses as well, like converting an abandoned swing bridge into a pedestrian walkway and fashioning a linear park out of the 103-year-old Hanover Street Bridge."

The Hanover Street Bridge provides commuter access to Port Covington, site of a proposed mega-development spearheaded by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and aided by fortuitous mapping of the city's new federal Opportunity Zones. West 8 proposes building a new bridge, to replace the crumbling Hanover Street Bridge, farther down river.

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