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Map of Plats 2 and 3 (in part) from Schalck article. Click for larger image.


Baltimore's Olmstedian greenways as envisioned in 1903: green, existing parks; tan, proposed parks.























Urban Life Reading Room

Library of Urban and Suburban History and Green-space Articles


The purpose of this page is to present a variety of scholarly articles about the history of early suburbs in America and about green-space theories of development.

In each case, click where indicated to bring up a PDF of the document in question. All documents are presented in exactly the same form, and with exactly the same content, as when received by RolandPark.org. We are particularly indebted to RP resident Mike McQuestion for forwarding most of these articles to RolandPark.org.

If you have primary-source material that you believe would be useful for this web page, please e-mail it to rpcommunication@rolandpark.org. If you have no electronic version, please e-mail rpcommunication@rolandpark.org anyway and we can make arrangements to scan the material.




Historical and Olmstedian Articles

New England Greenway Visions. Published in 2002, "Continuing a Planning Tradition: The New England Greenway Vision Plan," by Robert Ryan and his co-authors, describes the history of the New England multi-state greenway, an innovative effort to create nature trails and greenways out of abandoned roads and rail beds (Landscape Journal, 2002). The piece is here.

Ecological Values in City Planning. In her 1998 article "Ecological values in Twentieth-Century Landscape Design," Catherine Howett examines the history of landscape architecture in the 20th century, and especially the influence of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. (Landscape Journal, 1998). This is an important piece and you may read it here.

Mini-Revisionism in City Planning History. In this 1970 article from the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Harry G. Schalck argues that the influence of Plat 1 planner George E. Kessler and Roland Park Company driving force Edward H. Bouton should not be overlooked in favor of the Olmsted connection when considering Roland Park's layout. Click here for the article.

Historic American Parks and Contemporary Needs. Catherine Ward Thompson, in this 1998 article for the Landscape Journal, describes the historical, cultural and artistic significance of 19th century city parks on the east coast. Read it here.

Elegance and Grass Roots. In the journal of the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society (2004), Carol J. Nicholson discusses the artistic and social philosophy of Frederick Law Olmsted, father of the designer of RP Plats 2 and 3. The article is here.


Environmental and Urban Ecology Articles

Parks and Peoples: The Social Impact of Protected Areas. Paige West, James Igoe and Dan Brockingtonis analyze the worldwide growth of protected areas over the past 20 years in the Annual Review of Anthropology, 2006 (vol. 35). The analysis is here.

An Ecological Approach to Creating Active Living Communities. James F. Sallis and his coauthors examine how the urban environment can be shaped to encourage physical exercise (Annual Review of Public Health, 2006, vol. 27). Click here to read the article.

Linking Ecology and Economics. In the February 2006 issue of BioScience (vol. 56, no. 2), Stephen Farber and his coauthors seek to combine ecology with economics for the betterment of ecosystem management. The article is here.

Down by the Riverside. In "Down by the Riverside: Urban Riparian Ecology," authors Peter M. Groffman et al. look at "riparian areas," using Baltimore as case study (Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, vol. 1, no. 6, Aug., 2003). Riparian areas are "hotspots of interactions between plants, soil, water, microbes, and people." Development can have severe effects on riparian areas, in turn impacting the hydrology of a region. See it here.

Advancing Urban Ecological Studies. S.T.A. Pickett and M.L. Cadenasso describe the lessons they learned from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study in this 2006 article, "Advancing Urban Ecological Studies: Frameworks, Concepts, and Results from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study," Austral Ecology, vol. 31. You may read the article here.

Giving People More Green Space. Writing in the Journal of Urban Health, David Sharp in this 2006 piece discusses the relationship between good health among city dwellers and their access to green space. Interested? Look here.

Resisting the Costs of "Development." Writing in Environmental Politics journal in 2007, Irish academic Mark Garavan makes a spirited defense of NIMBYism, of which RP has been accused in relation to the BCC/Keswick affair, most notably by ex-Sun columnist Barry Rascovar (here). "These ‘defences of place’ may be far more socially and politically significant than is generally recognised," says Garavan. Click here to see Garavan's fascinating article.

Linking Ecological and Built Components of Urban Mosaics. Say authors S.T.A. Pickett and M.L. Cadenasso, "Quality of life,
human health, public appreciation of ecological processes in cities, and scientific understanding can all be enhanced by participating in a cycle of ecological urban design." Green, they write in the Journal of Ecology (2008), is a vital component of the urban fabric. The article is here.


Green Policy Options

Urban Economic Indicators. In their article, "Urban Economic Indicators for Green Development in Cities," Caroline Rodenburg and her co-authors develop urban economic indicators for the evaluation of existing urban green structures and green spaces (Greener Management International: The Journal of Corporate Environmental Strategy and Practice [GMI], Winter 2001). It is here.

Civic Engagement and Sustainable Cities. In "Civic Engagement and Sustainable Cities," Tufts' Kent Portney argues that public involvement in the creation of sustainable cities is crucial (Public Administration Review, September/October, 2005, vol. 65, no. 5). Top down does not work, he contends. You may view the article here.

Attracting Investment. In this Trust for Public Land booklet, the authors argue that going green is not just the right thing to do for the urban ecology, but the rich thing too, for "parks and open space create a high quality of life that attracts tax-paying businesses and residents to communities." Read the details here.

The Benefits of Parks. Paul M. Sherer, also writing for the Trust of Public Land, concludes that "U.S. cities are park-poor," despite the fact that "voters have repeatedly shown their willingness to raise their own taxes to pay for new or improved parks." The Sherer article is here.

The Big Dig. In the Journal of Urban Affairs, Kayo Tajima explores Boston's "Big Dig" underground expressway and its positive impact on property values. Because the expressway is underground, vehicular traffic is streamed off surface roads, freeing up space for parks, in turn increasing the desirability of nearby real estate. Read it here ("New Estimates of the Demand for Urban Green Space," Journal of Urban Affairs, vol. 25, no. 5).

Deflecting Development. Writing in Planning Practice and Research, 1996 (vol. 11, no. 4), Claire Freeman examines the policies of the city of Leeds, England to encourage green space within the urban environment. The Freeman "Deflecting Development" piece is here.