Baltimore, MD (2005)

Client: Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition


Built in 1885, the Northeast Market in Baltimore has been the long-time anchor of the Monument Street commercial district. Today, however, the market faces a number of challenges from a physical standpoint as well as a managerial one. Though the market is a center of safe and positive activity in the community, it seems to have little, if any, effect on the neighborhood and environment outside its four walls. The upcoming development of a nearby bio-tech facility, which will include a substantial amount of new retail spaces, threatens to draw business away from the market and the Monument Street corridor. At the same time, this development offers the market an opportunity to attract new customers. It is thus a critical time to strategically strengthen the market’s position as a physical and economic asset to the community, as well its operations.

Workshop participants felt that the market’s product mix is stagnant, while the exterior entrance (above) is unwelcoming and "fortress-like.

As an initial step in the improvement process, the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC) hosted a community workshop conducted by Project for Public Spaces, Inc. (PPS) and the National Trust Main Street Center that sought to evaluate how the Northeast Market is functioning as both a market and as a community place. From the workshop results, site visits, and meetings, PPS prepared a vision plan for improving the market and the areas immediately surrounding it, setting the stage for more detailed planning and design work. In conjunction with other revitalization efforts underway in the neighborhood, it is anticipated that this vision can help play a significant role in revitalizing the market, the adjacent commercial area and the neighborhood as a whole

The vision that resulted from the community workshop was for a public market that would continue to be a hub of social and economic activity in the neighborhood, but would also create broader benefits to the community as well. Such additional benefits of the market were envisioned as:

  • A place that is a hub of activity and a central meeting place – an active and meaningful center for the neighborhood;
  • A place that welcomes all people, from children and youth to seniors, and from neighborhood residents to employees of John Hopkins Medical Institution and other nearby businesses;
  • A place whose activities help catalyze positive change on the streets surrounding the market and in the broader neighborhood; and
  • A place to buy and eat more healthy food than is available elsewhere in the neighborhood and one that is linked to local health institutions and initiatives.

PPS also developed a series of recommended next steps towards implementing the vision, which include establishing intensive market management, conducting further studies, and reaching out to potential partners.

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