Thursday, September 4, 2008

Destroying Baltimore to save it

I have a post on commenting on an NYT article on a major urban renewal project in east Baltimore. Spearheaded by Johns Hopkins and Forest City, the project is the single largest instance of urban renewal in the country. Though it's a highly controversial project, the NYT article, run in the real estate section, is unapologetically supportive. The Times essentially ignores the thousands of people who are being bulldozed and who were denied meaningful voice in the planning process.

You can find my article here.

New American City also has an article on the Hopkins project, covering mostly the same ground as my post, with some added revelations on how Hopkins may have induced the dilapidation of the neighborhood in order to facilitate the eminent domain process.
Long before the first phase of demolition occurred to make way for the Biotech Park, Johns Hopkins was already in the market for new property. In the New York Times, Dr. Edward Miller, CEO of Johns Hopkins hospital confesses to purchasing vacant housing in East Baltimore “with an eye to the future.” Some see this practice as having exacerbated the fundamental problem of urban decay, the very problem the institution seeks to address through redevelopment; purchasing vacant rowhouses and letting them rot caused further degradation of property value. Moreover, in the initial planning of the project, there was little or no appeal to the community; when the plan was finally announced to Middle East residents in 2002, it was already a done deal.

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