Reimagine Middle Branch

Baltimore, Maryland

Recipient of the 2023 National ASLA Honor Award, Reimagine Middle Branch, led by James Corner Field Operations, stands as a testament to community-driven innovation. This visionary initiative seeks to reunite South Baltimore with a system of parks, trails, programs, and economic development schemes spanning 11 miles along the picturesque Middle Branch shoreline of the Patapsco River. At its core, this plan presents a blueprint for capital enhancements, public partnerships, policy initiatives, job creation, and equitable economic growth, embodying the fundamental values of environmental and social justice, resilience, and well-being.

Mahan Rykiel was pleased to be part of the JCFO team and played a pivotal role as the local public engagement facilitator in collaboration with Assedo Consulting, LLC. The team’s mission was to engage with the community and gather invaluable feedback on the transformative Middle Branch project. As part of their engagement strategy, Mahan Rykiel spearheaded the development and deployment of a mobile project engagement hub, and their expertise contributed significantly to the conceptual design of three key areas within the study region.

Preceding the Master Planning endeavor, Mahan Rykiel worked closely with the community to craft The Middle Branch Waterfront Framework Plan. This foundational document served as the guiding star for the Master Plan, outlining a comprehensive strategy to elevate waterfront recreation, establish resilient infrastructure, and foster regional biodiversity in South Baltimore. The plan’s overarching principles revolved around Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), evident in the meticulous development of community outreach and engagement strategies, as well as the extensive data inventory and analysis encompassing the 11-mile shoreline and 19 neighborhoods within the study area.



Baltimore City


2023 National ASLA Honor Award

Key Features


The timeline diagram shows how various planning and environmental events interweave with the inequities faced by South Baltimore neighborhoods. The Reimagine Middle Branch JEDI approach offers an opportunity to right historical wrongs.

2021-06-07 Final Project Brief


Planning documents reviewed present a remarkably consistent set of goals over the past 20 years centering around investments in the waterfront, parks, recreation, environmental resilience, entertainment, programming, transportation (emphasizing active transit/multi-modal transit), education, and equitable development. They also repeatedly frame goals as interrelated, aiming to address the linked legacies of economic inequality, racial injustice, environmental degradation, and siloed implementation.

Middle Branch Historical Planning Timeline


Reimagine Middle Branch project goals build and expand on those articulated in previous planning efforts. They were developed with input from the six Reimagine Middle Branch stakeholder committees during the Project Brief phase of work and effectively represent the JEDI procedural framework in action. The goals are intended to stimulate new action and support realization of the project’s JEDI principles, which are foundational to the project.  Learn more at the project website.

Middle Branch Master Plan Goals