Every few weeks, the Baltimore Center for Design– a fledgling coalition of planners, architects, and other urbanists — holds a public discussion of urban design in Baltimore and beyond.
Ben Stone, a planner from the Baltimore Development Corporation, hosted the fifth Design Conversation to a standing-room-only crowd at a local art-bar on February 4th. The stellar line-up of guest speakers included two particularly visionary presentations with bold implications for placemaking. Read Part 1.

Part 2. The last presentation of the evening was less technological than the first, but no less visionary. Architect Steve Ziger, famous for his award-winning Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art, described an ambitious new project he’s dubbed “One Park.” The goal: to connect Baltimore’s scattered green spaces to each other, creating one continuous green network.

The key, he said, is to look beyond just the official parks and realize how many un-official green spaces there are in and around Baltimore as well. Then we can concentrate our future greening efforts in the spots where they will contribute the most to regional connectivity.

He showed the crowd a map of all of Baltimore’s greenspaces, official and un-official, and then demonstrated how they might be connected to each other with green lines. “I want to stress that we have no idea what these green lines mean!” Ziger said. “They could be street trees and a good sidewalk. They could be a series of community gardens, a bike path, another park — anything that makes sense for that community,” he concluded.

The plan hearkens back to Boston’s famous “Emerald Necklace” of connected parks, planned by Frederick Olmsted. And its nickname gives a hat tip to that venerable forbear, too: pointing to the first ring of linked green spaces, Ziger said, “We call this our ‘charm bracelet!’”

(Image courtesy of the Parks & People Foundation, Inc.)