A Baptist Church and Urban Restoration Plan for an East Baltimore Neighborhood
Fayette Street is in many ways a dividing line. Census data shows that it divides the largely segregated African - American population to the north from the fairly diverse but mostly white population to the south. The gentrification in the last decade around Patterson Park, which increased property values there, also creates a socio-economic border which seems to be drawn at Fayette Street. Fayette Street also draws the line of the historic district which lies to the south.
But what can a designer do? Is solving this blight and frustration all the work of a city planner, executive? Yes, much of it is, however the city is responsible for so much already. From fiscal and budget duties, to design, to execution, the city is often overwhelmed and tends to favor the big projects over the little. They are looking for statistical changes, getting the best deal for their money. And why shouldn\'92t they? It goes without saying though, the city as a governing body cannot be responsible for conceiving every project that is put into play, and the good news is, they rarely are. Normally a designer outside of the city working for a development company wants to build, and the city is responsible for making sure everything is copasetic to their perceived wants and needs for the city. The Department of Planning is the filter for what becomes physical. Ideally they are filtering out the detrimental ideas; ones that could potentially hurt the city, but more and more often one hears stories of perfectly salvageable historic buildings being torn down in favor of strip malls, prayer gardens and various other frivolities. It is up to me as a designer to argue with the best design for what I believe and it is a combination of many projects that make the city what it is \'96 the ideas of collective minds and creative souls.
I have come to learn through research that plans and proposals in and around my focus area (Fayette Street between Conkling and Wolfe Streets) have been done in recent years. The community has spoken up and the city, traffic engineers as well as several designers/firms have focused their attention on the very same area of Baltimore and have made proposals to enrich the lives of the residents that live in these areas along Fayette Street. I hope to add to this discussion, taking what has … [text doc ends here]