Reviving the Heart of the City: Transforming Baltimore's Oldest Market into the City's First Sustainable Food District

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This thesis is about food, about how to replenish an abundance of good food, of availability and access in the inner city.

Baltimore’s Westside neighborhood in downtown has been plagued by vacancy and dereliction for more than half a century. Public markets have long been cultural and social hubs of cities, yet amidst this backdrop, Lexington Market—Baltimore’s oldest public market—sits out of date and in desperate need of a new vision. Through a redesign of the market and the surrounding blocks to better connect this node to the city, a vibrant food-centric community can grow again.

By expanding upon traditional market typologies to include the entire food cycle, the new market effectively responds to the needs of the 21st century. Food is grown, sold, cooked, and eaten on site, sparking cyclical nutrient and energy loops. As urban populations rise and agricultural land wanes, it is more important than ever to secure arable land within cities, vertically. Urban food production reconnects people with the food they eat, provides local produce with minimal transportation, and can be integrated into the public market. This thesis both revives a struggling piece of public infrastructure and demonstrates the efficacy of bringing super-productive farming into the city.