Greenbelt, Maryland: An Ecological Perspective on a New Town (CANCELLED)
Thursday, August 13, 2015: 9:30 AM-6:00 PM
Charles St. Entrance, Baltimore Convention Center
Charles Nilon, University of Missouri
V. Beth Kuser Olsen, University of Maryland
On this field trip, we’ll take the role of ecological futurist using our knowledge of ecological systems and human social behavior to chart the future of our planet. Our goal is to examine retrospectively an attempt 76 years ago to build an environmentally-just society by offering affordable ‘green’ living space to working-class Americans. We’ll critique the success of those early human ecologist by touring the community that presently exists as a result of their efforts – Greenbelt, Maryland. What did they get right? What were some unforeseen consequences? How might a retrospective view of their work inform the recommendations we make for shaping an environmentally-just society in the future?
Greenbelt is one of three planned communities developed by the U.S. federal government during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. It’s sister communities are Greenhills, Ohio and Greendale, Wisconsin (A Greendale tour was part of the 2008 ESA Conference in Milwaukee, WI). These communities were intended originally to serve as prototypes for a grand social experiment designed to bring together diverse sections of ‘working-class’ society where green space was valued and decision-making was shared equally among the residents in a cooperative communal environment. More information about the history of the Greenbelt community can be found on the Greenbelt Museum website at http://greenbeltmuseum.org/history/
Participants will take a walking tour of the community, including visits to the Greenbelt Museum, the interior community green-spaces, the community garden plots, the 225-acre community forest preserve, and the co-op café (for draft beer and a bite to eat).
Registration Fee: $42
Equipment and Attire: Participants should plan on bringing good walking shoes, sun screen, hat, bug repellent, camera, personal drinks, and other personal items for outdoor walking in the summer sun and an umbrella in case of rain. Bring cash or VISA/MC card and shopping bag(s)/backpack for purchases you may want to make at the Co-op grocery store and cash for the New Deal Café.
Itinerary: 9:00 am: Arrive at the Baltimore Convention Center for fieldtrip check-in.
9:30 am: Leave the Baltimore Convention Center, travel about 30 miles, 45 minutes – 1 hour, to Roosevelt Center, 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt, MD 20770 (From Baltimore, travel south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to the Greenbelt exit. Turn right onto Southway and travel about one-half mile until it ends at Crescent Road. Roosevelt Center is located at the intersection of Southway and Crescent Road. Bus parking is available.)
About 10:30 am: Walk to the Greenbelt Museum to view the 1939 documentary film, “The City”, describing the planned utopia of Greenbelt.
About 11:30 am: Visit the Co-op grocery store for drinks and lunch items to take on the walking tour. Take a walking tour of the community homes and green spaces in Historic Greenbelt, view the sculptures and frescos in the public spaces in Roosevelt Center, the original community Victory gardens (now community garden plots), and the Greenbelt community forest preserve. About 3:30 pm: Return to Roosevelt Center for a stop at the New Deal Co-op Café for refreshments and light fare and a discussion of our findings.
About 5 pm: Board the bus and travel to the Baltimore Convention Center, returning at about 6 pm, Thursday.