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.

Thursday, August 29, 2019 in Next City

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Aerial view of MBTA commuter rail station in Concord, Massachusetts among green trees

Massachusetts Zoning Reform Law Reaches First Deadline

Cities and towns had until January 31 to submit their draft plans for rezoning areas near transit stations to comply with a new state law.

February 1, 2023 - Streetsblog Mass

Green alley under construction

Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

February 2, 2023 - Curbed

Covered pergolas for outdoor dining line the curb on Ballard Avenue, Seattle

Seattle Historic District Could Remove Street Dining

Despite the popularity of Ballard Avenue’s outdoor dining pergolas, some district board members argue the patios don’t match the district’s historic character.

February 7 - The Urbanist

Rendering of landscaped street with street trees and pedestrian sidewalk

South L.A. Complete Streets Project Back on Track

First proposed in 2015, the Broadway-Manchester redesign would add bike infrastructure, pedestrian improvements, trees, and other amenities.

February 7 - Urbanize LA

Spanish-style State Street commercial buildings in downtown Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara Expands ADU Program to Boost Housing

The city hopes that permitting larger ADUs and making adaptive reuse easier will help it meet its state-mandated goal of building over 8,000 new housing units by 2031.

February 7 - Noozhawk

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.