Greenbelt is a city in
George's County, Maryland, United
States. Contained within today's City of Greenbelt is
the historic, planned community now known locally as "Old
Greenbelt" and designated as the Greenbelt Historic District.
Greenbelt's population was 21,456 at the
Old Greenbelt was settled in 1937 as a public cooperative
community in the New Deal
Era. The concept was at the same time both
eminently practical and idealistically utopian: the federal
government would foster an "ideal" self-sufficient cooperative
community that would also ease the pressing housing shortage near
the nation's capital. Construction of the new town would also
create jobs and thus help stimulate the national economic recovery
following the Great
Greenbelt, which provided affordable housing for federal government
workers, was one of three "green" towns planned in 1935 by Rexford Guy Tugwell
, head of the
United States Resettlement
, under authority of the Emergency Relief
. The two other green towns are Greendale,
Wisconsin (near Milwaukee) and Greenhills, Ohio (near Cincinnati). A fourth green town, Roosevelt, New
Jersey (originally called Homestead), was planned but was
not fully developed on the same large scale as Greenbelt.
, wife of
President Franklin D.
, helped Tugwell
lay out the town on a site that had formerly consisted largely of
tobacco fields. Eleanor Roosevelt also was heavily involved
in the first cooperative community designed by the federal
government in the New Deal Era, Arthurdale, West
Virginia, which sought to better the lives of impoverished
laborers by enabling them to create a self-sufficient, and
relatively prosperous, cooperative community.
in Greenbelt include the Greenbelt News Review
, Greenbelt Consumers Coop
store, the New Deal Cafe
, and the
cooperative forming the downtown core of original housing,
Greenbelt Homes Incorporated (GHI).
The architectural planning
Greenbelt was innovative, but no less so than the social engineering
involved in this
federal government project. Applicants for residency were
interviewed and screened based on income and occupation.
African-Americans were initially excluded, but came to number 41%
of residents by 2000.
the community is located within the Greenbelt Historic District; listed on the National Register of
Historic Places in 1980.
Geography and Highlights
Greenbelt is located at (39.000460, -76.888325) .
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of
6.0 square miles (15.6 km¬≤), of which, 6.0 square
miles (15.5 km¬≤) of it is land and 0.04 square miles
(0.1 km¬≤) of it (0.50%) is water.
Greenbelt's ZIP codes
are 20768, 20770,
Greenbelt Road is a portion of State Highway 193
, a highway
connecting several suburban towns, with links to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway
and to the nation's capital.
Space Flight Center of the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration is located there, as is Greenbelt Park.
The Greenbelt Arts Center
located in Old Greenbelt.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 21,456
people, 9,368 households, and 4,965 families residing in the city.
The population density
3,586.6 people per square mile (1,385.3/km¬≤). There were 10,180
housing units at an average density of 1,701.7/sq mi
(657.3/km¬≤). The racial makeup of the city was 39.74% White
, 41.35% African American
, 0.05% Pacific Islander
, 3.11% from
, and 3.47%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 6.45% of the
There were 9,368 households out of which 26.9% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 33.1% were married couples
living together, 15.0% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families.
35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age
of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 39.1% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to
64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
32 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $46,328, and the
median income for a family was $55,671. Males had a median income
of $39,133 versus $35,885 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$25,236. About 6.0% of families and 10.2% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 12.7%
of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Greenbelt operates under a council-manager government
established by the city charter. The Council consists of seven
members elected by plurality-at-large voting
their members, the Council selects the Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem
(who assumes the duties of the Mayor when the Mayor is
unavailable). The Council has traditionally chosen the member with
the highest vote count to be Mayor, and the member with the
second-highest vote count as Mayor Pro Tem. Elections are held
every two years, in odd-numbered years, in part to diminish the
influence of political parties. Political party affiliations are
not an official part of the city election process, and are seldom
part of candidate campaigns. Regular council meetings are held on
Mondays, twice per month except during July, August, and December,
when meetings are held once per month.
The City Council is supported by 14 advisory boards and committees
of citizen volunteers. The council appoints a professional city
manager responsible for supervising government operations and
implementing the policies adopted by the council.
The 2009 election selected the current city council:
- Mayor: Judith "J" Davis
- Mayor Pro Tem: Emmett Jordan
- Council Members: Konrad Herling, Leta Mach,
Silke Pope, Edward Putens, and Rodney Roberts.
The council selects the City Manager:
- City Manager: Michael McLaughlin.
2009 Election Reform
Of the ten
incorporated cities in Prince George's County
, Greenbelt is one
of three with at-large elections for council and mayor. (The others
are District Heights and New Carrollton.) The remaining seven use
combinations of districts and at-large voting. On 2008-02-28
, the Maryland ACLU
and Prince George's County NAACP
sent a letter
to the Greenbelt City Council claiming that Greenbelt's at-large
system may violate section
of the Voting Rights Act of
. According to the letter, the 2000 Census indicated that
African-Americans constituted 38% of Greenbelt's voting-age
population, Asians 13%, and Latinos 6%. At the time, however, all
members of the city council were white. The letter proposed that
the city switch to single-winner district-based
, cumulative voting
, and indicated a lawsuit
would follow if no reform were implemented. While the city
population is racially diverse, only two African Americans had run
for Council in the 30 years preceding the 2009 election.
2008, the United States Department of
Justice opened an investigation into the city's election
In 2008, the city government hosted three public community meetings
regarding election reform, in concert with the ACLU
, and FairVote
. Over 100 residents attended the forums,
including one of the unsuccessful African American candidates,
JeanetteGordy, who said, "My concern is that people don‚Äôt get off
their royal behinds. By going to meetings I got what I wanted and
found out I had power as a citizen."
In 2009, the city implemented several election reforms with the
goal of increasing diversity: increasing the city council from five
to seven members, adding an additional precinct in Greenbelt East,
and adding early voting to the city charter.
In the election held 2009-11-03
American Emmett Jordan was chosen by 75% of voters,electing him to
the Council as Mayor Pro Tem, the second-highest city official.
Voter turnout increased from 1,898 to 2,399 voters (a 26% increase
in ballots cast) from 2007 to 2009.
Greenbelt is served by Prince George's County
The city is served by four elementary schools:
- Greenbelt Elementary School (Greenbelt)
- Magnolia Elementary School (unincorporated
Prince George's County, Lanham address)
- Springhill Lake Elementary School (Greenbelt) and
- Saint Hugh's Parochial School
All of Greenbelt is served by Greenbelt Middle School and Eleanor
Roosevelt High School
, a highly-rated magnet school; both
schools are in the city.
Two major highways pass through and have interchanges in Greenbelt:
and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway
addition, Greenbelt is served by the Greenbelt
Metro Station, which is the northern terminus of the Green Line of the Washington
Metro system and along the Camden line of the MARC Train, using the original Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
track route between Washington and Baltimore.
Image:2008 04 02 - Greenbelt - Apartments 4.JPG|Apartments in
GreenbeltImage:2008 04 02 - Greenbelt - Apartments 6.jpg|Extensive
pedestrian paths connect residences, in this case feeding into a
tunnel beneath the primary collector roadwayImage:2008 04 02 -
Greenbelt - Centerway pedestrian path 2.JPG|A grade-separated
pedestrian path / roadway crossing, inspired by such configurations
in Radburn, New
Image:Greenbelt - Albert S Buddy Attick Lake Park
06.JPG|Albert S. Buddy Attick Lake Park. The artificial lake
replaces the open parkland of the Radburn plan
Image:Greenbelt - Southway
02.JPG|Southway, a road on the southern portion of Old
GreenbeltImage:Greenbelt-md-USA-1937-03.jpg|Aerial view of
Greenbelt under construction, March 1937.