Connecting Communities in Greenbelt, Maryland
The City of Greenbelt began in 1937 as a New Deal town with distinctive architecture, land use pattern, and cooperative associations. But that historic core is only one part of the present-day City of Greenbelt. Over the years, the green belt has been cut by major highways—-the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the Capitol Beltway, and Kenilworth Avenue —dividing the city into three separate sections. Each section — Greenbelt West, Old Greenbelt, and Greenbelt East— has a distinctively different physical and social composition; each has its own history, its own community organizations, and its own set of concerns. This report identifies residents’ concerns about factors that unite and divide the three sections of Greenbelt. We find, in some ways, that the differences between the three parts of Greenbelt are to be celebrated, as evidence of a vibrant and diverse city that offers many choices to its residents. On the other hand, some of the differences represent certain disparities or demonstrate the need to create new connections between the three communities or strengthen those that currently exist. To address the issues raised by physical, demographic, and socioeconomic divisions within Greenbelt, the studio team devised a methodology to collect various data and resident perspectives. Review of the data revealed common issues that were then broadly categorized into four major concerns. These concerns were then divided into subcategories and analyzed. From that analysis we devised recommendations.
J. Shaun O’Bryan