March 29, 2017 / Member News

March 2017 Issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine Features Story on Work Stemming From Mahan Rykiel's Social Impact Studio

Anthem Arboretum rendering
Baltimore, MD (March 29, 2017) – Mahan Rykiel Associates (MRA), a Baltimore based landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm, is pleased to announce that their Social Impact Studio’s Anthem Arboretum project has been published in Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM), a national publication of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The project fulfills the Social Impact Studio’s core mission of advancing equity, ecology, and economic development in design.
The article focuses on Mahan Rykiel’s process to recast Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (CBCA) “fee-in-lieu” mitigation payments as seed money for community benefit projects. Fee-in-lieu are fees paid by developers to the City of Baltimore to mitigate for trees and vegetation lost during the development process.
The Anthem House mixed-use development, located within the Locust Point neighborhood of Baltimore, was an opportunity for Mahan Rykiel to pilot a new, more creative way to direct these fees as seed money to enact positive change in the community and for the environment.
Partnering with the City of Baltimore; Anthem Ownership (Bozzuto, War Horse, Solstice Partners), and the local community MRA transformed a typical mitigation process into a community advantage by creating an education curriculum and collaborative design for students at the Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School (FSK).  The schoolyard design at FSK will be an outdoor educational and learning space that will integrate an array of landscape elements that tie into the STEM curriculum objectives, Next Generation Science Standards, modules from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study’s science education program, and a tree lab that investigates soil microbial ecology and tree vitality.
MRA President Richard Jones reflected, “What would have been a typical tree mitigation requirement has now interwoven a full-scale capital campaign for a city school, a city-wide design research project, and a catalyst for exciting new partnerships between developers, educators, environmental designers, and neighborhood communities. Building trust amongst these groups is essential in building a Baltimore that works for everybody.”
Release courtesy Mahan Rykiel Associates