Wellington: Baltimore Inner Harbor’s Aspirational Peer


Academia regularly uses the term “Aspirational Peer.”  When planning, institutions will list who they think their peer institutions are, but they will also make another list of institutions they aspire to become – something to shoot for and communicate their most important values.  This post is for Lee Boot who loves oceans, sailing, humanity, and cities.  He also has visions and limitless energy to make Baltimore the best.  This is a seed to plant that Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, should be one of Inner Harbor’s aspirational peers.

But first, let me get the facts out and then ignore them.  Metropolitan Baltimore’s population, according to Wikipedia, is 2.7 million.  Baltimore City is 620,000.  Wellington is 210,000…  All of New Zealand is 4.2 million.  Maryland is 5.7 million. …..  Somethings clearly aren’t going to scale here, but let’s just forget these pesky details…

So Lee, here is how you will arrive in your aspirational dream.  Wellington has steady winds of 20-50 mph, so you will move in at a pretty good clip.


And here below are all your buddies.  Note the little boat in the lower left foreground, it gives a sense of scale for your buddies. (No photoshop work here).


The following images are the downtown harbor.  There are ocean going freighters constantly being loaded and unloaded. There are national museums, restaurants, swimming, snorkeling, factories, fisheries, marinas, you name it. People just dive in off the wharves.




The water is crystal clear.  This is Emily sitting at a wharf right downtown waiting for a water taxi.


And these two following show how the city builds diving platforms for anyone to jump off of.  This is right by a national museum.  This would be like having Baltimore build this by the Science Museum.



And here are two shots (reverse angles) of a downtown harbor side restaurant with cushy pillow outdoor chairs on grass overlooking the harbor with kids learning to kayak.



I’ll end with this.  At the height of producing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s Weta studio hired a British sculptor, Max Patte, to work on creating creatures.  He loved Wellington and his favorite thing to do was stand on the edge of the wharf heading into the wind.  He would lean out as far as the wind would support him. When he left he made this sculpture, Solace In The Wind, commemorating this feeling.  He installed it temporarily, but after a few months the citizens of Wellington loved it so much that they voted for the city to purchase it. It is now a permanent fixture and probably the most photographed butt in all of New Zealand. Wellington has a great working living harbor.


One thought on “Wellington: Baltimore Inner Harbor’s Aspirational Peer

  1. It is taking every fiber of my being not to simply move to Wellington. Seriously? That’s what it’s like. They forgot to use their rivers and streams as sewers? I really have to go there to see this for myself. What hurts is that the Chesapeake could be every bit as beautiful—or nearly. We should adopt them as a sister city and ask them how to build the kind of values that make everything in the images possible. People used to jump off the peers in the harbor and swim. (Probably unwisely if it was after, say, 1750.)

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