2023 Medalist

Reimagine Middle Branch Plan

The Witte-Sakamoto Family Awards

Reimagine Middle Branch is a community-driven initiative to reconnect South Baltimore with a system of world-class parks, trails, programs, and economic development plans along 11 miles of the Middle Branch shoreline on the Patapsco River. 

While the Plan outlines a visionary physical transformation of the Middle Branch, it is also meant to catalyze the intangible transformation of place for one that is equitable and inclusive. To that end, the Plan recommends a series of capital improvements along with public programs, partnerships, policies, job opportunities, and equitable economic development initiatives. As a result, this Plan is fundamentally about environmental and social justice, resilience, and health. 

Reimagine Middle Branch is led by the City of Baltimore, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, and Parks & People Foundation, working alongside a team of expert consultants, stakeholders, and Baltimoreans.  

Community-driven and deeply collaborative, the Planning Team includes:  

  • Design Lead, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Master Planning, Public Engagement: Field Operations 
  • Local Landscape Architect: Mahan Rykiel Associates 
  • Baltimore Cultural Landscape Specialist: Design Jones 
  • Civil, Coastal, Structural and Marine Engineering: Moffatt & Nichol 
  • Multimodal Transportation & Traffic Engineering: Toole Design 
  • Environmental Engineering & Ecology: Biohabitats 
  • Local Urban Design & Architecture: Waldon Studio 
  • Community Outreach & Facilitation: Assedo Consulting 
  • Youth & Virtual Engagement Specialist: The Urban Studio 
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Design Specialist: Kofi Boone 
  • PR/Strategic Messaging Plan: KG&A 
  • Graphic Design, Digital Media & Messaging Implementation: Public Mechanics 
  • Governance, Revenue Generation, Real Estate & Equitable Development: Urbane Development 
  • Costing & Implementation Strategies: Dharam Consulting 

Images courtesy of Field Operations and the Reimagine Middle Branch Planning Team

  • Parks, projects, and programs to connect communities in South Baltimore.
  • Baltimore’s Mayor praised the Plan, saying it “represents a transformative step towards creating a more equitable, just, and resilient public space.”
  • The planning team engaged stakeholders and the public in meaningful, action-oriented, and creative engagement.
  • Three action-oriented projects were designed and produced during the planning process to catalyze equitable outcomes.
  • Communities in 19 South Baltimore neighborhoods live near or adjacent to the Middle Branch, one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most neglected shorelines.
  • Considering an equitable distribution of investment across South Baltimore, the Plan prioritizes neighborhoods mapped as medium- to high-priority.
  • The Plan’s four frameworks translate community input into place-based transformations and people-oriented strategies.
  • The Plan recommends restoring the thick, green, and resilient shoreline edge that once defined this Chesapeake Bay tributary.
  • The second Equity Framework connects communities to each other and the water along trails, complete streets, improved transit routes and new bridges.
  • An analysis of the transportation network and its impact on the community led to the generation of a new multimodal connectivity network.
  • This framework envisions a “park-shed” of high quality, well-maintained facilities in neighborhoods that are connected via safe, inviting pathways.
  • This framework ensures residents and future generations participate in and benefit from reimagining, restoring and revitalizing the Middle Branch.