Changing Course: Repurposing Golf Landscapes for Wildlife Habitat and Recreation

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More than 1,400 golf facilities in the United States have closed permanently since 2001, part of a natural supply correction, as well as a reflection of the fluctuating interest in the game. Through their design, golf courses inherently preserve a singular form of open, green space. In their most dynamic form, they are culturally integral landscapes with vibrant ecosystems that provide wildlife habitat. They represent some of the largest ‘undeveloped’ spaces in United States’ cities. Each golf course closing represents a single patch of many that, with sound design, could be woven together through a common purpose, like a landscape quilt. Through a site-specific analysis, the resulting design proposal for Wakefield Wildlife Reservation is a new type of landscape for the city of Westminster, MD, serving as an example for future projects. It will provide valuable habitat and dynamic recreational space, while expressing site and regional history.