Winning Submission in Middle Branch Waterfront Design Competition Promises Ecological Restoration and Community Revitalization

Planning in Progress

By Kristen Humphrey, MLA, Infrastructure and Development Planner

In this issue of Planning Practice Wednesday, we highlighted some common ground between two seemingly disparate initiatives: Planning’s Transit Station Area Profile Tool (TSAPT) and the Brownfield Redevelopment Outreach Program. Both articles discuss the Westport/Cherry Hill neighborhoods located in south Baltimore as being potential places where Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and brownfield redevelopment projects could occur. In an exciting coincidence, the winners of a design competition to revitalize the adjacent Middle Branch waterfront in Baltimore City were announced last month. 

In a press release dated from July 2019 on the official website for the Middle Branch Waterfront, an  internationally acclaimed landscape architecture firm from the Netherlands, called West 8, was the winner of the competition. West 8 has been collaborating with two local firms: the Baltimore-based landscape architecture practice of Mahan Rykel Associates, Inc. and the engineering firm of Moffat and  Nichol. The competition was managed by Parks & People Foundation in conjunction with the city of Baltimore and the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership along with support from a dedicated working group, committees and a variety of active stakeholders, including a steering committee comprised of property owners, community representatives, government leaders, elected officials and technical experts.

As described on the Middle Branch Waterfront website, “The Middle Branch will be Baltimore’s next great recreational and natural waterfront, with water and land-based attractions along 11+ miles of the Patapsco River shoreline connecting to a network of parks and paths. A transformed waterfront will generate opportunity for investment while creating a new front yard for local neighborhoods.”

West 8’s winning project features a creative blend of socio-cultural amenities and both protective and protected areas ( wetland areas which will serve as a natural buffer against storms and high tides and offer habitat for wildlife). It includes reclaiming the Hanover Street trestle bridge as pedestrian space and numerous waterfront parks for both land and water recreational activities, from biking to festivals and kayaking to waterside dining. To view a video presentation of their winning submission visit Mahan Rykel’s website or click here.

To read more about the design competition, view photos and video submissions of all of the participating firms, visit the Middle Branch Waterfront website.


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