Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How Baltimore County sprawls in the middle of a growth center

That sprawl doesn't have to be development of far-flung farm fields but can also be development right at a major freeway interchange and in a designated town center area can be observed in White Marsh. This area defied its Town Center designation from the beginning. It did absorb growth that may have otherwise gone outside the rural urban demarcation line (URDL) and as such was a sprawl fighter. Aside from that distinction, though, it has all the characteristics of sprawl. Complete separation of uses, residential subdivisions that are completely disconnected from the commercial and the retail areas, 100% auto dependency aside from a park& ride lot served by buses (which essentially serve automobiles) and an utter lack of sense of place.
White Marsh Mall (left) isolated, surrounded by parking. 

After decades of growth one would expect that eventually some urban form would emerge, but not in White Marsh. Commercial flex warehouse developments have spread across I-95 (a huge non-walkable barrier) and the latest proposal is just another not walkable mall sitting there in isolation siphoning energy from the first one.

The stellar place-making qualities are on display among these flex warehouses east of I-95 right off Franklin Square Drive
Imagine for each parked car two people walking , imagine all those uses pushed together until they form tight streets, now
that would be a town center!

Belmar Mall redevelopment, near Denver Colorado
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

Malls to Mainstreets

No comments:

Post a Comment