When: Thursday, April 04 / 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Where: MICA Brown Center
Organizers: AIA Baltimore / Baltimore Architecture Foundation / Maryland ASLA

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Categorized under: Amplifying Innovation

Spring Lecture Series: Transforming Urban Waterfronts


AIA Baltimore and Baltimore Architecture Foundation presents the 2024 Spring Lecture Series, taking place on 4/04, 4/10, 4/17 and 4/25 at the MICA Brown Center.

We are happy to continue our partnership with Maryland ASLA to provide 1.0 LA CES HSW for this lecture, in addition to AIA 1.0 LU | HSW.

AIA, ASLA and NOMA members may register at a discounted rate.

We are offering school students, faculty and staff free admission! Please bring your school ID to show upon arrival.

Join us on April 4 at 6:00 PM at for Transforming Urban Waterfronts with Chip Place, AIA and Matthew Urbanski of MVVA, Inc.

Registration and reception to begin at 5:00PM. Light food and drinks will be also be available immediately following the lecture. 


How does underutilized urban infrastructure become world class parks?

Chip Place and Matthew Urbanski will present the political, financial, land acquisition, planning, design, construction, and long term management process that led to the creation of Bayou Greenways in Houston and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. Inspired by landscape architect Arthur Comey’s 1912 plan for the City of Houston, and encouraged by Buffalo Bayou Park through downtown, Bayou Greenways 2020 transforms Houston’s other major waterways into linear parks with 150 miles of hike and bike trails.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, designed by Mathew’s firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, followed a community led process to reclaim 1.3 miles of the old industrial waterfront to create a diverse, ecologically based and economically self-sustaining signature park.

Both projects represent key features of a greater parks renaissance in both cities and were conceived as essential to their cities’ resilience, environment, health and economies.


Charles (Chip) H. Place AIA

A graduate of the Rice University School of Architecture and the University of Houston Law Center, Chip Place’s career has focused on large scale land development and the public policies of land use.

Early inspiration included working on the first Master Plan for Buffalo Bayou Park through downtown Houston. He went on to direct major land programs in New York and Houston including:

  • 5000 acres of land development projects in the Hudson Valley which he ended up selling for conservation as state parks and the protection of New York City’s water supply.
  • The planning and design of the economically self-sustaining, world class, Brooklyn Bridge Park encompassing 1.3 miles of the old industrial waterfront facing lower Manhattan.
  • Numerous projects and major events for New York State Parks in New York City including the creation of another waterfront park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from a former railyard site.
  • The planning, programming, design, land acquisition, budget controls, community engagement and construction of Bayou Greenways 2020 which transforms Houston’s major waterways into linear parks with 150 miles of hike and bike trails.
  • Further expanding Greater Houston’s public realm by directing Beyond the Bayous, a landscaped based planning initiative that immediately generated additional park and greenway projects.

Chip is a member of the AIA and ABA and has served on many community and professional boards. He and his wife Mary live in Havre de Grace MD where he sits on the City Planning Commission.

Matthew Urbanski

Matt is a Partner at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), where he has planned and designed waterfronts, parks, college campuses, and gardens in North America and across the world. Matt’s work is inspired by the power of landscape to affect the way people feel, and he is devoted to making landscapes that draw on the unique capacities of each site.

For 25 years, Matt taught an ecological approach to planting design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. As the son of a family physician and a painter and ceramicist, Matt believes that making landscapes is a matter of both wellness and artistic expression. Thirty years ago, Matt and his father founded Red Hill Nursery, a specialty plant farm that grows hard-to-find species that are unusual in shape and character.