New inspiration for industrial reuse in post-industrial Baltimore.
Herrnstadt, Caitlin Isabelle
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This project focuses on reusing abandoned or underutilized historic industrial buildings for light industry, contrasting the typical reuse method of high-end mixed use. The study addresses the question of how to preserve and reuse the large stock of abandoned or underutilized industrial and manufacturing buildings in a post-industrial society, in which much manufacturing has moved out of urban centers. In this project, I argue that some of these buildings can be reused for industrial or distribution purposes, similar to their original function, a program that can create employment for the surrounding community. By focusing on one hypothetical industrial reuse project in West Baltimore, this study explores the potential opportunities of this new program for community building and economic growth elements often not addressed by popular mixed-use plans. Reusing these buildings for the industry or distribution centers can create good, permanent jobs for neighborhood residents, many of whom have been unemployed or underemployed.The residential or retail reuse of industrial buildings often restricts current residents to low paying service sector jobs, or results in their displacement from their neighborhoods. In this way, the project also explores the impacts of an industrial reuse plan on the surrounding neighborhood in terms of community enhancements and growth.