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John Hopkins revitalizing East Baltimore or gentrifying a community?

John Hopkins University in the background of rowhouses
John Hopkins University in the background of rowhouses
Mosaic Urban Partners

The community of East Baltimore is filled with a rich history of perseverance and uprising against hardship, but with that rich history a new wave of problems of crime, poverty, and drugs has plagued the community. In the center of it all stands one of those prestigious institutions in the county, John Hopkins Hospital and University. After years of witnessing the deterioration of the community John Hopkins has begun a series of projects to revitalize the community and it’s causing uproar among the residents.

There has been a long history of mistrust and hostility from the residents in East Baltimore as each year many individuals and families who have lived in the community for decades are being uprooted by the redevelopment project by John Hopkins.

The revitalization of East Baltimore has been progressing since its initial inception in 2000 by then Mayor of Baltimore Martin O’Malley. O’Malley has garnered many prominent business and investors along with government funding to invest close $2 billion dollars into the community. A community which is slowly becoming an up and coming neighborhood for families, faculty and young professionals from John Hopkins.

As the faces of the community start to change one must wonder, “Is John Hopkins helping a community or taking over?”

The fact of the matter is an intervention is needed to uplift the community who has been going downhill for several years. The entire city of Baltimore has been plagued with crime and drugs issues that have not seen a significant change for the better. Dubbed the U.S. Heroin Capital by ABC News, Baltimore does need help to reshape it’s rough and rugged image.

According to Ronald Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, the revitalization project is exactly what the community of East Baltimore needs.

“The new school and surrounding new development, he said, will end the “pernicious” perception of Hopkins as being walled off from a majority black and poor neighborhood…“It’s not gentrification; it’s a mixed-income community.”

Daniels beliefs are at odds with many current and uprooted residents who believe their voices and interests have not been taken into consideration. East Baltimore is facing a long road ahead of them and it will be interesting to see the community in ten years’ time as the revitalizing project show signs that it will continue to move forward.

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