In collaboration with South Baltimore Gateway Partnership and Baltimore City, the Reimagine Middle Branch project is the next phase in a decades-long community-driven initiative to reconnect South Baltimore to its 11+ miles of shoreline along the Patapsco River. A core component of this work is development of environmental stewardship and educational opportunities that center environmental justice outcomes in and around the Middle Branch waterfront. As a result, we’ve developed a unique and creative way to educate and engage South Baltimore youth and their respective communities through the Middle Branch’s Community-Sourced Design Lab program.
Where: South Baltimore, MD
Project Team: Jenn Low, Courtney Morgan, April Smith, and Jaline McPherson
Partners: South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, City of Baltimore, Baltimore City Recreation & Parks, City of Baltimore Department of Planning, Parks & People Foundation, Baltimore City Public Schools, Field Ops, The Nature Conservancy
Timeline: July 2020-current
Integral to the project’s larger public engagement strategy, the Design Lab’s objective is targeted and deep engagement of youth voices in the Reimagine Middle Branch project. We are a youth-led initiative to coincide with the core master plan project that addresses environmental education and stewardship priorities that emerged from community stakeholder conversations. Community Design Lab’s focus is to cultivate environmental education, stewardship and youth agency in their community, which will foster belonging and sustainable change. We aim to build capacity for career discovery, internship, and career pathway opportunities to Baltimore’s BIPOC youth as vital to the success of the master planning effort.
The Middle Branch Design Lab also provides a unique opportunity to leverage the critical mass of design community leadership, project resources, and professional and educational networks of the master planning effort toward youth engagement initiatives that directly integrate key stakeholders in the master planning process.