Sunday, April 5, 2015

Partnerships - an important element of community activism

Depending on who counts Baltimore is said to have over 500 community associations. It stands to reason that this is more than what can find a listening ear at the city council.
Union Square Baltimore
(Creative Commons)

The Southwest Baltimore Partnership is an attempt of bridging between various communities in an area that includes what were once Baltimore's most desirable communities around Union and Franklin Squares. Here Pie once lived and HK Mencken had his home and the B&O started the first passenger railroad in America.

Today the deficiencies are high:
The need is significant. Of the 11,232 housing units within the Southwest Partnership, about 29 percent are vacant, according to its report. More than a third of the households have incomes less than $25,000; about 27 percent of the population lack a high school diploma. (Baltimore Sun)
 There is reason for hope in spite of numerous failed attempts of making West Baltimore Street once again a vibrant Main Street or Sowebo a vibrant arts district. The biggest success may be that the University of Maryland finally jumped across Martin Luther King Boulevard and established a still expanding bio tech park along Baltimore Street, big investments on previous vacant lots. Less clear is if developer La Cite will ever follow through with its large scale mixed use and housing investments which were preceded by massive demolition and some displacement.

The Southwest Partnership includes the right partners to be able to make a difference. Maybe this time the stars are aligned properly.

“We envision an awesome, healthy, architecturally
beautiful, diverse, cohesive community of choice built on mutual respect and shared responsibility.

We embrace all diversity: from race, gender, and sexual orientation to economic, educational, and housing choice.

Our diversity is our strength.” (from Vision Plan)

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
updated 4/5/22:25h

ArchPlan was a consultant for the 2000 Poppleton Empowerment Plan based on the federal Empowerment grant program. 

SUN article
Southwest Partnership Vision Plan

No comments:

Post a Comment