Baltimore, Maryland Growing Green Initiative

Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake launched the Growing Green Initiative (GGI) on May 14, 2014. This City effort repurposes vacant lots to advance community priorities, including open space, growing fresh food, managing stormwater with green infrastructure, recreational space, and social resilience.

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability created a “Green Pattern Book” to guide community groups and residents through the process of converting vacant and blighted properties into community spaces that can meet environmental and social equity priorities. To date, city residents and agencies have turned nearly 800 vacant lots into gardens and community open spaces. 

Use Baltimore's "Green Pattern Book" to envision how vacant land in your community can become an asset to support resilience and sustainability. 

The goals of the Growing Green Initiative are to:

  • Stabilize distressed neighborhoods by greening and maintaining vacant lots so that they are assets and not liabilities
  • Strengthen the social fabric of neighborhoods by helping communities and non-profits adopt and green vacant land
  • Attract new development by re-using vacant land for permanent, public benefit – such as strategically placed new open space
  • Support City MS4 stormwater permit requirements, and support new economic development by providing opportunities to construct cost-efficient stormwater management best-management practices on vacant land
  • Increase the City’s tree canopy by planting trees on or near vacant
  • Create jobs and job training opportunities and increase access to locally grown, healthy foods in Baltimore’s food deserts by creating new farms on vacant land

GGI builds upon existing programs in Baltimore that have demonstrated success in sustainability including: Vacants to Value, Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s blight elimination initiative, as well as Power In Dirt, Homegrown Baltimore, and TreeBaltimore by simultaneously stabilizing distressed neighborhoods and attracting new development by re-using and greening vacant land for public benefit.

On September 16, 2014 Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore City, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust announced the winners from its collaborative Growing Green Design Competition: Vacant Lots Transformed. This program was created as an opportunity for community groups, design firms, non-profit, and private partners to showcase innovative ideas for transforming vacant lots in Baltimore. In total, seven projects were awarded close to $300,000 to design and construct their winning ideas.



Publication Date: May 14, 2014

Related Organizations:

  • City of Baltimore, Maryland

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  • Best practice

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