Aquarium leads urban waterfront regeneration project in Baltimore

The National Aquarium in Baltimore has unveiled plans to reinvent the city’s waterfront, creating an urban wetland and pier-side conservation area for the local community.

The reinvention of the area around the aquarium will create a free, accessible, environmental public space, developed in partnership with Baltimore city organisations. The central tenet of the project is to encourage community engagement with the environment, build a vision of a sustainable future and “inspire conservation action” – potentially building a model for other urban waterfronts in the US to follow.

Initial designs have been created by Baltimore architects Ayers Saint Gross.

“This project is about being more than an attraction; it’s really showing not only how we live our mission, but how we can share our mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures with all who visit the city’s Inner Harbor,” said Bob Carter, chair of the National Aquarium’s board of directors.

Real, natural ecosystems and floating wetlands will teach visitors about different types of marine habitats and native creatures. The urban reserve will also include interactive learning activities, a sculpture and green spaces, all connecting to the surroundings of the harbour and the Chesapeake Bay estuary.

“Baltimore is a waterfront city like no other, and investing in our outdoor campus is investing in our city’s future,” said John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium. “At its core, this revitalisation is about re-connecting Baltimoreans with their waterfront as a place for exploration and discovery. We plan to show the nation how an urban waterfront can also be a healthy one.”

A combination of aquarium, public and private money is funding the process, at a reported cost of US$14m (£9.8m, €12.8m), with a predicted completion date of 2019.

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The National Aquarium in Baltimore has unveiled plans to reinvent the city’s waterfront, creating an urban wetland and pier-side conservation area for the local community. The reinvention of the area around the aquarium will create a free, accessible, environmental public space, developed in partnership with Baltimore city organisations. The central tenet of the project is to encourage community engagement with the environment, build a vision of a sustainable future and
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A new future has been proposed for the waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland / ©2016 National Aquarium, Ayers Saint Gross Architects
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