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Posts Tagged ‘Druid Heights Community Development Coporation’

BY KIM O’CONNELL

A new pocket park in Baltimore helps to ignite a neighborhood revitalization.

FROM THE JANUARY 2022 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On a corner in Baltimore surrounded by vacant lots and boarded-up buildings, Gold Street Park is easy to miss. Built on a former coal yard in the neighborhood of Druid Heights, the pocket park features a winding brick path that leads to a circular gathering space with a starburst mural at its center. Steps along one edge can be used as seating or a de facto stage, and the simple planting scheme includes a few rose bushes and serviceberry trees.

Druid Heights is a historic African American community that once had a thriving social scene, where the jazz great Cab Calloway sang “Hi De Ho Man” in clubs, and where well-to-do Black families raised their kids. In the late 1960s, the uprisings that followed the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination led to a period of urban disinvestment from which the community is still working to recover. A local nonprofit, the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, is taking a holistic approach to revitalization through real estate development, food and career assistance, and incentives and paths to homeownership.

Among the barriers facing Druid Heights is a lack of green space: Tree canopy coverage in the community is 14 percent, just half of the city’s average. To remedy this, the community partnered with Byoung-Suk Kweon, ASLA, an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Maryland, on a green community master plan that includes the development of both pocket parks and larger green corridors and connections. (more…)

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