News Release: October 14, 2016

Community Planning Assistance Team Report Featured at White House Roundtable

​The report for the Baltimore, Maryland, community calls for using green infrastructure to increase resiliency and promote revitalization.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Work of a volunteer planning team from the American Planning Association (APA) will be featured at a White House Roundtable in Baltimore today. The “Green Spaces, Cleaner Water and Stronger Neighborhoods” is organized by President Obama’s Task Force on Baltimore City and will focus on environmental restoration, neighborhood revitalization, and access to green space.

David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA, the managing director of research and advisory services at APA, and Michael Dorsey, the director of community initiatives/outreach at the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development (CCYD), will present the team’s work. CCYD was instrumental in bringing the volunteer planning team to Baltimore.

The Brooklyn/Baybrook Community Action Plan, created by APA’s volunteer planning team, calls for increasing resiliency and promoting revitalization of the South Baltimore neighborhood through green infrastructure. Input from CCYD and local residents helped inform the plan’s creation. 

“It is a privilege to share the collaborative work of the planning team, CCYD, community stakeholders and residents,” said Rouse. “Green infrastructure will create a more sustainable, resilient Brooklyn/Baybrook area and offer triple bottom line benefits — environmental, economic and social. The plan will serve as a model for other Baltimore neighborhoods to build a healthier, greener, and more sustainable city.”

The Brooklyn/Baybrook Community Action plan calls for transforming the currently underutilized Garrett Park into a multigenerational community hub. The Garrett Park Concept Plan takes advantage of the park’s existing topography to create zones for different activities, and features proposed amenities including a running track, recreational fields, a pavilion, amphitheater, community gardens, and native plantings providing wildlife habitat and green stormwater infrastructure.

Garrett Park Concept Plan by Catherine Mercier-Baggett, AICP.

The benefits of transforming Garrett Park will extend beyond the project area boundaries. Additional key elements of the plan include safety and walkability improvements along streets surrounding Garrett Park, revitalization of the South Hanover Street business corridor, and youth engagement and environmental education.

The volunteer planning team’s work is part of the Greater Baltimore Wilderness: Green Infrastructure for Regional Resilience project that aims to enhance regional resilience to coastal storms and climate change through green infrastructure. The project is an effort by the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, and led by The Conservation Fund with APA as co-principal investigator. The work was made possible by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program funded by the U.S. Department of Interior.

The volunteer planning team is part of APA’s professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners’ Community Planning Assistance Team program. The program matches communities that need planning assistance with planning experts from around the country.  Members offer their time and expertise to people and places where additional resources are needed.

The Brooklyn/Baybrook Community Planning Assistance Team was led by Brandy Brooks, the contract manager for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Suicide Prevention Program. Team members included:

  • Catherine Mercier-Baggett, AICP, in charge of long-range planning in the City of Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta, under contract with The Collaborative.
  • Garlen Capita, urban designer with the Philadelphia-based office of Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT). 
  • David Rouse, FAICP, ASLA, managing director of Research and Advisory Services for APA.
  • Neil Weinstein, AICP, PE, RLA, executive director of the Low Impact Development Center.

APA’s Community Planning Assistance Team program was established in 1995 to help serve communities with limited planning resources. Previous teams have recently worked in Pine Hills, Orlando, Florida; Franklin, Tennessee; La Feria, Texas; and Belize City, Belize; among other locations. Communities seeking planning-related assistance can apply.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic, and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, with almost 40,000 members worldwide in nearly 100 countries. For more information, visit

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Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395;