Revitalizing with "The Ramble" in Laurel, Delaware

Small towns are considered an icon of American society. Both as social constructs and physical realities, they have been part of U.S. national identity and heritage. Unfortunately, external forces have negatively impacted the social and economic viability of many small towns throughout the country. This is the case in Laurel, Delaware, a town founded in 1683 that over time developed a thriving economy around the waters of Broad Creek and eventually the railroad. However, as stated by its mayor, “Like most American towns, Laurel experienced the effects of a rapidly changing

American economy in the latter part of the 20th Laurel lost its commercial centrality after the development of Route 13 in 1925.

At present, Laurel is home to approximately 3,835 residents and has approximately 800 historic buildings registered in the National Historic Record. According to the town’s Comprehensive Plan, the citizens of Laurel envision building on their proud heritage while creating new and exciting residential neighborhoods, commercial centers, recreational venues and job opportunities.

In February, 2014, Jules Bruck was commissioned to pursue a project to work with the community of Laurel, DE to suggest ideas supporting the revitalization of the downtown area and providing specific landscape design recommendations for the waterfront. Working with Lorelly Solano, University of Delaware doctoral student in urban affairs and public policy, and Ed Lewandowski, UD’s Coastal Communities Development Specialist, the team proposed recommendations that were crafted after three distinct frameworks including ecological design, place branding, and collaboration, with the purpose of improving the quality of life of residents and attracting visitors and business owners.

Three specific objectives for this project were:

  • To improve the sense of connectedness through a user-friendly greenway extending between existing Creekside and Riverview parks.
  • To design a highly visible residential project, consistent with the architectural style of the town and ecological restoration values.
  • To propose a mixed-use design alternative for Thompson Block, to be included in the long-term vision of the Laurel Redevelopment Corporation.

The plans were presented at an open town forum at the Laurel Library on September 18, 2014.

For more information, click here to read an article published by the Laurel Star and UDaily article,"Reimagining Laurel."

Please also see Design Proposals from UD students and the Conceptual Design Site Plans as presented by Dr. Jules Bruck, Lorelly Solano, and Ed Lewandowski.

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Design Philosophy

Gardens are constantly evolving; therefore, the creation of a garden is a commitment to the present and the future. Evolution Landscape Design is committed to sustainable practices and encourages the use of regionally native plants, the reduction of high input landscape elements, and water conserving/harvesting techniques. Of equal importance is the value that people bring to the garden environment. Our gardens are most successful when people live in the garden spaces we create - and naturally chose to participate in the outdoor environment.

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