Downtown-Westside Baltimore

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Health Impact Project

At the request of the city of Baltimore and the University of Maryland, the Baltimore City Health Department conducted a rapid HIA to identify potential health equity issues associated with redevelopment of the Lexington Market area of the Downtown-Westside neighborhood. The redevelopment would feature mixed-income, mixed-use development and implement the Complete Streets approach to roadway design.

To identify community values and concerns related to the proposed redevelopment plan, the HIA team conducted workshops with neighborhood groups, and received feedback from residents living and working near Lexington Market and from vulnerable groups, including substance abusers and those receiving mental health care. The HIA team learned that economic issues, walkability, and safety were the top priorities for the community.

The proposed goal of the redevelopment plan is to attract investment, bring new job opportunities, and increase healthy food options and civic activities in the Lexington Market area. The HIA made recommendations to support this goal, including prioritizing leases to companies that hire locally and provide training, benefits, and a living wage to employees. To support the Complete Streets concept, the HIA recommended landscaped medians, marked crosswalks, and weekly sidewalk cleaning. Roads and parking cover 40 percent of the neighborhood’s surface area, so the HIA recommended a freeze on new first-floor or surface parking lots and suggested that the first floors of existing parking garages be converted into commercial spaces for child care, fitness, or health services.

This project was funded by a Health Impact Assessment to Foster Healthy Community Design grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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