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Individual Highlight

Catalyzing an urban wood and restoration economy in Baltimore

Photo of 1. A street of vacant and abandoned rowhomes in Baltimore.
2.  Inside a deconstructed rowhome; wood and brick salvaged from homes can be reused rather than landfilled.  Deconstruction create substantial economic benefits, including 6-8 times as many jobs as demolition.
3. The Forest Service facilitates restoration of land after rowhomes have been removed.  Forest Service social-ecological research looks at the watershed, community development, and human health benefits of urban restoration. 1. A street of vacant and abandoned rowhomes in Baltimore. 2. Inside a deconstructed rowhome; wood and brick salvaged from homes can be reused rather than landfilled. Deconstruction create substantial economic benefits, including 6-8 times as many jobs as demolition. 3. The Forest Service facilitates restoration of land after rowhomes have been removed. Forest Service social-ecological research looks at the watershed, community development, and human health benefits of urban restoration. Snapshot : The Weeks Act of 1911 enabled the newly established U.S. Forest Service to restore land and watersheds. One hundred and six years later, agency work continues in both familiar and new landscapes. In urban areas, where land reclamation and restoration enables holistic change, Forest Service scientists and their partners are helping transform vacant and abandoned lots, neglected neighborhoods, overlooked communities, and polluted watersheds into places where residents want to live, work, and play.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Hines, Sarah J. Grove, Morgan
Research Location : Baltimore City
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1274

Summary

The Forest Service has a long history of working in and with communities to restore land and watersheds. Whereas most of this work takes place in rural or semi-rural areas, research by Forest Service scientists and their partners is facilitating community transformation in blighted neighborhoods of Baltimore. Their work has informed salvage operations of abandoned rowhomes, allowing diversion of valuable lumber and bricks from the landfill toward new uses. Research tools such as STEW-MAP are being used to inventory and assess how generators, processors, and producers of urban wood are connected, and to grow these networks, while social-ecological research measures the benefits of the effects of urban restoration in terms of jobs, businesses, and markets, as well as environmental restoration and community revitalization. The Forest Service’s Northern Research Station has developed the Urban Wood and Restoration Economy Business Model, which is attracting private sector businesses willing to source and/or invest, and creates an urban wood economy that enables land reclamation and ecosystem restoration, promotes economic development, and improves lives in urban areas. The scientists are working with social impact investing firm Quantified Ventures and furniture seller Room & Board to further catalyze Baltimore’s urban wood and restoration economy.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • State & Private Forestry
  • City of Baltimore
  • Humanim
  • Room + Board