Baltimore Opens Placemaking Beautification Program to Community-Based Organizations

Baltimore City is seeking the partnership of community-based organizations to implement creative enhancements in city public rights-of-way. 

Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) Director Steve Sharkey announced the launch of a new and improved community-led placemaking program that will “allow community-based organizations to implement creative enhancements in city public rights-of-way.”

According to a city press release:

Placemaking projects and art installations are creative initiatives that can take many forms. New changes in this program expand the variety of project types allowed, and has eliminated some requirements to make it easier for community groups to install placemaking enhancements. Special projects along city streets, alleys, and sidewalks help to beautify Baltimore neighborhoods, calm traffic, and increase public space for pedestrians.

BCDOT describes such projects as helping “to beautify Baltimore neighborhoods, calm traffic, and increase public space for pedestrians.”

“This collaborative placemaking program supports community-led, equity-focused efforts to make social, physical and economic changes in city neighborhoods through the use of art and culture,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “By working directly with local stakeholders, we are able to transform public spaces into unique areas that beautify city neighborhoods and strengthen connections to Baltimore communities.”

“The community placemaking program consolidates and improves upon several existing programs, empowering everyday people with new, affordable, and bureaucratically simpler ways to make their neighborhood streets safer and more attractive,” said Councilman Ryan Dorsey, District 3, who has championed this issue. “It’s also critical part of retaining and encouraging more of the hugely successful outdoor dining installations created throughout the pandemic.”

Placemaking projects may include:

  • Artistic paintings on streets or sidewalks;
  • Landscape plantings;
  • Planters and barriers for traffic calming or tactical urbanism;
  • Signs such as community gateway signs and educational signs;
  • Parklets or temporary public spaces built within the roadway;
  • Special projects such as art installations, specialty lighting, or other unique urban designs.

Notably, placemaking projects will be funded by the applicants, and pro-bono design assistance or grants may be available for neighborhoods that need support.  BCDOT Planners can also provide individual guidance to help make these projects successful.

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