What is Our Baltimore? Why is this planning process important?
Our Baltimore is a comprehensive plan to guide physical development of the City over the next ten years and beyond. The plan is based on community input and values, with a focus on topics related to urban planning: land use, transportation, housing, community facilities, and more. You can read more about the topics here.
The plan will build on the Mayor’s Action Plan, but look at a longer time horizon (10+ years). In particular, the plan will focus on the Equitable Neighborhood Development pillar, identifying what equitable neighborhood development looks like and how to achieve it.
The plan will focus on how to make Baltimore better for current residents so that they want to stay, benefit from staying, and are inspired to invite their friends and family to move to Baltimore. By focusing on the needs and desires of current residents, the City will naturally grow over time.
What are the limitations of Our Baltimore and Comprehensive Plans more generally?
While the name “Comprehensive Plan” suggests that the plan covers all City services and public policy, Comprehensive Plans are specific and focused on land use and urban planning policy and programs. For specific topics covered by this plan, please visit our topics webpage.
This plan does not focus on the provision of day-to-day services through City operations. Day to day programmatic decision making is led by individual agencies.
Through this document, the City seeks to develop a vision for physical development that aligns with community and resident input. Our Baltimore seeks to identify recommendations to work towards this vision. However, a key limitation is private land ownership and private property rights. It is important to note that most land development in Baltimore occurs through private investment.
How does this planning process relate to other Agency plans and priorities?
In some cases, related policies have been developed through other public processes in recent years. For example, a public process related to economic development is ongoing and led by Baltimore Development Corporation. Please see our process page for more information about other relevant plans.
How will this plan be used after it is developed?
This plan will guide development in the City of Baltimore. The recommendations and priorities identified in the plan will guide the decision making of the Planning Commission and CHAP, as well as the work of the Department of Planning in years ahead.
The recommendations in the plan will be prioritized using an equity lens tool. This tool will prioritize policy recommendations based on an overarching goal of moving our city towards equitable neighborhood development.
What will the plan do to promote equity?
We are applying an equity lens in two ways: (1) to the process, by expanding our public engagement approach and (2) to the development of the plan content, through the use of an equity tool to prioritize recommendations.
What will the plan include?
The plan will include recommendations focused on Livable Places, Resilient Economy, Harmony with Nature, and Healthy Communities.
Livable Places: Affordable Housing, Community Development, Vacant Housing, Public Spaces, Transit Oriented Development, Equitable Development, Historic Resources, Public Transit, Freight Movement
Inclusive Economy: Workforce Development, Baltimore’s Competitive Industry Growth sectors, Small business ecosystem & entrepreneurship, Neighborhood retail, Broadband and Digital Equity
Harmony with Nature: Tree Canopy, Environmental Justice, Sanitation
Healthy Communities: Public Health Disparities, Food Access and Security, Public Safety (Urban Design), Access to Green Spaces/Parks
What was implemented from the last comprehensive plan?
One of the biggest accomplishments from the last comprehensive plan was the development of a new zoning code. Baltimore’s zoning code hadn’t been updated in more than 40 years and many of the recommendations in the last comprehensive plan called for changes that could only be achieved through a new zoning code, such as zoning that encouraged transit oriented development and redevelopment of industrial properties. Rewriting the zoning code was a massive undertaking that took several years to complete, and was passed by the City Council in 2016. To see the status of all the recommendations from the last comprehensive plan, click here.
Who is leading the planning process?
What is the engagement strategy?
We have made an effort to develop an engagement strategy that reaches different audiences through targeted outreach. We have partnered with community based organizations to reach stakeholders who might not typically participate in processes like this. Please read more about our efforts here.
How can I participate?
This fall, we encourage residents to join us at a public event between October and December. We need everyone at the table and contributing their ideas to generate real, tangible, implementable solutions.
Attend the meeting closest to you this fall, meet other civic minded neighbors and re-connect with your community.
Each meeting will be a collaboration between our Community Partner organizations and our Community Planners. At each meeting, the team will go over a spotlight topic. We'll go deep into this topic - how it works today and your ideas for making things work better. We look forward to working collaboratively on each topic with you!
Our goal this fall is to generate a "menu of recommendations" for each priority topic. Each recommendation will be evaluated according to equity and impact when the plan is written in 2023.
To learn about the latest opportunities, check our Get Involved page.
What is the timeline for the planning process?
The planning process starts in Spring 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2023. The plan document will be drafted and revised in 2023 based on recommendations developed in 2022.
Spring 2022 – Listening: Establishing Vision and Topics
The City and our engagement partners are collecting community input and ideas to develop the plan’s key topics, visions, and goals.
Fall 2022 – Creating: Developing Recommendations
We will engage stakeholders to develop and refine goals, strategies and recommendations to address the topics identified in the listening phase.
2023 – Drafting and Reviewing: Writing and Revising Plan
We will engage stakeholders to provide feedback on a draft plan.