Hi, my name is Laura Bianca-Pruett. I’m 32 years old and live in Bel Air, MD. I’ve had the opportunity to live in rural, suburban, and urban settings in the Baltimore area: I previously lived in the Old Goucher and Charles Village neighborhoods in Baltimore City, MD; Perry Hall, Baltimore County, MD; and grew up in Jarrettsville, Harford County. My maternal grandparents had a farm in Chase, Baltimore County until I was 13 years old, where I spent a lot of time as a kid.
I work as a transportation planner and I am a self professed transportation, transit, and road geek and expert in Baltimore transportation geography and planning history. My nickname – Mrs. MD Roads – comes from the road enthusiast community, where my husband Mike is Mr. MD Roads, named for the website he began in 1998. In my spare time, I’m probably working on either OpenStreetMap, OpenStreetCam or Mapillary with my Mike and our daughter Rainee.
I have always had a heart for people experiencing homelessness, but really started to get involved in grassroots advocacy in Baltimore in 2016. I’m a member of local grassroots group Housing our Neighbors (HON). In 2017, I finished my graduate capstone project/thesis Helping the Last, the Least, and the Lost: Compassionate Planning for Baltimore’s Unsheltered Homelessness. I examined the condition of unsheltered homelessness in Baltimore and chronicled the lives of ten people who lived in a homeless encampment west of the downtown central business district. I documented their perspectives in the hopes of informing urban planning practices concerning homelessness and the governance of public space.
I originally launched this blog as an extension of Helping the Last, the Least, and the Lost and published posts on housing, homelessness, and urban planning from August 2017 to October 2018. With the COVID-19 pandemic, I realized that I wanted to write on my other passion interests related to urban planning as well – transportation and history – so it made the most sense to expand this blog rather than to create and maintain multiple blogs. Hence the name change and layout!