Graduate students from the University of Maryland’s Urban Studies and Planning Program presented two research projects last month at the American Planning Association 2018 National Planning Conference (NPC18) in New Orleans. The poster presentations, “Demolish, Preserve Rehabilitate: Baltimore’s Alley Houses” and “Mapping Community Assets Using Qualitative Methods” summarized the results of two studio courses from this past year. The NPC18 is the largest planning conference in the U.S., attracting thousands of planners, planning commissioners, government officials and academics from around the world.
“Demolish, Preserve Rehabilitate: Baltimore’s Alley Houses” created a recommended methodology for Baltimore city planners to determine strategic revitalization plans for the city and, more specifically, gauge the cultural and historical significance of Baltimore’s historical alley houses. The interdisciplinary studio, which was led last fall by Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Jeremy Wells and Lecturer Lee Edgecombe, also developed the criteria for defining and locating alley houses throughout Baltimore.
The second project, “Mapping Community Assets Using Qualitative Methods” used a combination of in-person interviews and environmental observations to construct an interactive “story map” of nine communities in Silver Spring, Md., who face significant change with the construction of the Purple Line light rail. The project, part of the university’s Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability, was developed for Montgomery County to highlight the places and assets important to community members, creating an important narrative about community identity.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Urban Studies and Planning graduate student Ridhima Mehrotra. “I was excited that so many of us were able to attend and present these two projects, thanks to the generous support of the Urban Studies and Planning Program.”
Both projects were identified by the APA as significantly pertaining to inclusiveness and social justice. The students representing UMD were: Jack Narron, Ridhima Mehrotra, Holly Simmons, Andrew Seguin, Iryna Bondarenko, Nayo Shell and Abidemi Olafusi.