Episode 13: Inequity Shaping Baltimore

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When I talk to my grandparents about growing up in East Baltimore, they speak fondly of their childhood. As they would have you remember it, Baltimore during WWII and just after was teeming with children playing ball games in alleys, women scrubbing the marble stoops of rowhomes, and men marching to and from the steel yards and breweries. It was an idyllic place for poor immigrant families who had strong community ties and left their doors unlocked.

Today Baltimore is still a diverse city with many strong communities and a unique arts scene. The physical landscape of the city has changed significantly, in both good and bad ways. When we see the problems of crime and vacancy that permeate the city, the stories of a bygone Baltimore start to seem especially appealing. We cannot make the mistake of sensationalizing a golden past.

The problems I mentioned that the modern city faces are a physical manifestation of structural racism that has always been present in Baltimore, even if it was once better concealed or more easily ignored. I brought my friends, many of whom are fellow Baltimoreans to discuss what this manifestation looks like, to see if we could begin to offer each other a deeper understanding of the root causes.

-Gabriel Maslen, Baltimorean

Referenced Works:

  1. Lawrence Halprin - General Information (The Cultural Landscape Foundation, 2018)

  2. “White L, Black Butterfly” (City Paper, 2016)

  3. Race, Riots, Real Estate, Architecture - University of Maryland, Master’s Thesis, Robert Grooms (DRUM, 2017)

  4. Liz Ogbu TED Talk (TEDWomen 2017)

  5. Not In My Neighborhood, Antero Pietella, 2010

  6. Arch Social Club, Baltimore, MD

  7. The Uses of Disorder, Richard Sennett, 1992

  8. The Baltimore Plan, 1954 (YouTube)

  9. Creating Defensible Space, Oscar Newman, 1996

  10. Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order And Reducing Crime In Our Communities, Kelling & Coles, 1998

  11. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs, 1961

  12. Good Design, Good Health - Gabriel Maslen & Vincenze Perla, 2019

  13. The Void - Adan Ramos, 2018