Sandtown: Rebuilding a Community

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Date

2004-05-20

Authors

Tarbert, Colin

Advisor

Bowden, Gary

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Abstract

Inner-city neighborhoods have suffered years of neglect and have fallen into utter disrepair. Scenes of crime, poverty, and substandard housing are a way of life. Education and social services are under-supported and overwhelmed. For such communities, urban revitalization is hard to envision for even the most optimistic visionary. The social and economic issues involved in rebuilding such neighborhoods are complex. For decades government programs have attempted to end poverty and stabilize inner-city communities. While many architects and planners envision a flight back to the cities, few realize the serious challenges that await them. In order to bring urban vitality to fruition, a firm commitment must be made to ameliorate the social and economic ills that characterize many distressed American cities. This is the hardest challenge facing practitioners.

This thesis explores the community development efforts taking place in Sandtown, a neighborhood located in West Baltimore. The thesis entails the creation of a neighborhood community plan phased a over series of incremental time periods that addresses the following: existing conditions, specific areas of revitalization, defensible open/public space, new residential construction, economic development, regional connection, and historic preservation.

The thesis focuses on economic development through the design of a Center for Entrepreneurship that would provide educational programs, research and analysis programs, and "living classroom" component related to developing community retail.

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