Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Workshop Results Round II: Baltimore Place Mapping

Baltimore Google Primary and Secondary Place Map 
It's been two months since the workshop and we've continued to analyze the input we've received from participants. This week, we share the results of the place mapping exercise. One of the basic concepts covered at the workshop was that of creating a network of "primary and secondary" transit and bike routes that connects "primary and secondary" places. This multi-tiered approach that connects different kind of places with a similarly appropriate transit and bike network is common in other parts of the world but represents a departure from the largely one-size-fits-all approach to urban transportation and land use policy that has been in place in the U.S. for decades.

Primary places include those that either have a distinct center or sense of place and have the potential to generate large amounts of pedestrian activity, and/or major destinations or attractions that typically draw people from throughout the metropolitan area or beyond. Examples of primary places include universities, sports complexes, downtowns, regional transportation facilities, entertainment districts, major employment concentrations, and regional shopping centers.

Secondary places are those which also have a distinct center and have potential to generate significant pedestrian activity, but draw from a more local market within part of a metro area or surrounding neighborhoods. Examples of secondary places include neighborhood commercial districts, main streets with local shops, parks, and other types of destinations that do not draw from the entire metro area.

Worskhop participants at each of eight tables were asked to map primary and secondary places in the Baltimore metro area by placing a blue dot over the center of primary places and yellow dots over secondary places. Participants were then asked to identify if places were either "healthy", meaning that they were already relatively pedestrian friendly and walkable, or "have potential" - meaning that they have the potential to become walkable and vibrant if revitalization efforts or other steps are taken to transform them.

Since the workshop, we have been working on conducting an assessment of the place mapping results. As part of the process we have built a geographic information system (GIS) database, or digital map, of the place mapping. We have also built a Google Map of the place map results, which can be seen by clicking here.

The map includes places that were identified by at least 3 or more of the 8 tables. In cases where a place was identified as both primary and secondary by different tables, the dominant category was used. There were a handful of cases where a place was identified equally in both categories. In those cases, we used our judgment and knowledge of the region on how to classify each on the Google map.

The GIS maps shown below illustrate the number of  times that places were selected as either primary or secondary. The larger the circle, the more tables identified them. Places that were identified by fewer than 3 tables do not appear on this series of maps. Clearly, there are places that did not make it onto the maps that should be added. Those did not appear because they were either not identified by enough tables or they were not identified by any table. We would like input on places which should be added in order to gain a high level of confidence that the list is comprehensive.

Secondary Places
Primary Places

Generating a comprehensive list of primary and secondary places is the first step in identifying where 20-minute neighborhoods are located, as well as places which are not 20-minute neighborhoods themselves, but are destinations that can serve 20-minute neighborhoods.

Soon, we will be rolling out the next step in the analysis, which is to look at the Walkscore and Transitscore of select Primary and Secondary places. This will help further identify elements of the 20-minute neighborhood framework and another step in determining how those places could be better connected by transit and bike facilities.

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