Baltimore announces partnership for greening neighborhoods

— Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, and Chesapeake Bay Trust Executive Director Jana Davis recently announced a new partnership for helping green the City’s neighborhoods. The new Growing Green Design Competition, launched at a kick-off event at The Humanim Building, aims to transform the City’s vacant lots through projects that benefit neighborhoods and communities while also treating stormwater. The design competition is part of the Growing Green Initiative (GGI), a City-led effort to use sustainable, innovative, and cost-effective practices for growing Baltimore.

“I am pleased that the Growing Green Initiative will expand upon the success of our Vacants to Value program by simultaneously stabilizing neighborhoods and attracting new development by strategically re-using vacant land for public benefit. This is just another step to building a better greener, growing Baltimore,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake.

The City’s Growing Green Initiative seeks sustainable ways to stabilize and hold land for redevelopment and to re-use vacant land to help green neighborhoods, reduce stormwater runoff, grow food, and create healthy, vibrant community spaces. The design competition engages community groups and design firms in these efforts. Today’s kick-off brought together interested Baltimore community groups, designers, engineers, landscape architects, and other organizations to connect and consider teaming up as partners in the design competition. With $300,000 contributed by the City of Baltimore, EPA and the Trust, the competition will select the best designs for transforming vacant lots, and award funding to the winning teams to build their projects.

“Helping Baltimore and other cities implement sustainable ways for managing stormwater is an EPA priority,” said Regional Administrator Garvin. “We’ve witnessed the value of green infrastructure design competitions in their ability to catalyze change for creating greener, affordable stormwater management solutions that improve and protect water resources and make communities healthier. These solutions also help communities be resilient to climate change.”

“The Chesapeake Bay Trust is proud to partner with the EPA and Baltimore City on this unique demonstration,” said Jana Davis, executive director of the Trust. “Through this competition, creative partnerships will form that will propose real world, practical solutions that will benefit local communities and treat stormwater at the same time. These solutions will not only benefit Baltimore City, but can be replicated in other cities nationwide.”

To prepare their vacant lot designs, competing teams will use the new Green Pattern Book, which has been created as a tool for use by City agencies, NGOs, community groups, schools, businesses, and individual residents to promote the understanding and implementation of green infrastructure practices.

“We are thrilled to introduce the Green Pattern Book that will help spur creative ideas and encourage a variety of partnerships,” said Tom Stosur, Director of the Department of Planning.

For more information about the Growing Green Design Competition: