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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the lastest word about the RWN towers and 10 IH (and I'm not trying jinx us), I think we will have skyline in four or five years that shows we are a world class city. Certainly we will want more and will get more, but we will be looked upon much more highly with some signature buildings.

That leads me to this. What are the biggest challenges for this city to step up in other ways and realize greatness. I see three main issues: crime, schools and transportation.

School and crime problems are keeping families from moving into the city while transportation issues are clogging up roadways. When you look at other major cities, some have achieved greatness and notoriety despite school and crime problems. Cities that come to mind are NYC (although drastic improvement there) and Philadelphia, just off the top of my head.

I feel like mass transit is holding us back so much. The metro just kinda dead ends into nowhere abruptly while the Light Rail runs a long way along areas that aren't really that populated (see Jones Falls area). It's also super slow. They also don't really connect and take you anywhere important. As bad as Philly's mass transit is, at least you can take the trains to the subway and pretty much go anywhere you want from fairly far out suburbs to all the downtown and center city areas. Essentially a Philly train would be able to take you from say areas like Westminster to Owings Mills and then from there you could take a subway to anywhere in Baltimore. Or imagine if we had a system like DC's metro. Obviously thats a dream and will never happen but we should be able to strive for something that at least is remotely similar.

So I open this up to debate in this thread because I didn't want to clog up the development thread with all of this.
 

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I see three main issues: crime, schools and transportation.
I think you nailed it. Although, there is definitely an argument that a city can be world-class without tackling any of these problems. Los Angeles in the 1990s comes to mind as an example of a city with rampant crime, failing schools, and poor transportation. Los Angeles drew its world-class status from its institutions and cultural offerings, its population, and its economy. A few more examples of cities like this today would be Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, and any number of the rapidly growing Asian cities, Kolkata comes to mind.

Being that Baltimore isn't the top dog in its region, however, I think the city will have a better chance at gaining recognition by tackling the three issues you mentioned: crime, schools, and transportation.

I think Portland would be a good model for Baltimore. It was an industrial city that has managed to become a safe, clean, white-collar city despite not being able to attract many heavy hitter corporations. The city is also, like Baltimore, a lot smaller than its big time neighbors. Yet, it still has been able to garner a world renowned reputation. Granted, Portland never suffered from the severe crime and poverty that Baltimore does.
 

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For Baltimore to succeed, I think Baltimore needs to get over its “inferiority complex.” Baltimore almost certainly will never be a “big dog” like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago; but to construct unrealistic comparisons is self-defeating.

Baltimore is a small town with a big town feel; a big city comprised of many unique and special neighborhoods.

The next time any of you are in one of the larger metropolises, think about Baltimore. You’ll come to appreciate the fine attributes that make Baltimore…
 

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For Baltimore to succeed, I think Baltimore needs to get over its “inferiority complex.” Baltimore almost certainly will never be a “big dog” like New York, Los Angeles or Chicago; but to construct unrealistic comparisons is self-defeating.

Baltimore is a small town with a big town feel; a big city comprised of many unique and special neighborhoods.

The next time any of you are in one of the larger metropolises, think about Baltimore. You’ll come to appreciate the fine attributes that make Baltimore…
^^ Spot on!

I want to touch on the education issue this early morning. More money is allocated per pupil in Baltimore City than all the juresdictions in Maryland. However, it is the least performing. Money is not the issue when it comes down to education in the city, family values are. When I was in elementary school PTA night was always crowded with engaging parents. Now, when I accompany my niece and sister to PTA night it's so quiet you can hear a mosquito piss. It just amazes me that so much has changed in just a short time. Mothers are getting younger, fathers are hiding further and neighbors are just nonexistent. The African proverb, "it takes a village to raise a child" is now just a quote of distant memory.

Religion used to be the driving force in shaping family policy in the city. Now, church is known as early Sunday punishment and a sanctuary for the elderly. Mainstream culture can be argued as the culprit behind such downward spirals in education, but all things begin at home. Parenting doesn't begin when the baby is born anymore. It now occurs when a kid can walk, talk and think on its own. By this time it is too late to instill values that would make them productive citizens. Mothers can't force their kids to begin studying in high school when it wasn't implemented in the elementary years. Fathers can't teach their kids how to deal with complicated matters when they are used to living a life of simplicity.

I don't know how we could work on improving family values in this city. I'm sure every major city and town have the same problems. It's hard to change a lifestyle, but it isn't impossible. I have faith in the city's education system because more good is coming out of it. I went to my cousin's graduation at Northern (now Reginald Lewis HS) Sunday and was amazed that over 90% of the graduates were going to college. That fact that this isn't a citywide high school made this news even more intriguing to me. There is still some great households in Baltimore City.

Time to take a nap before work...rant over. :nuts:
 

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:) Funny how most of the neighborhoods that have undergone significant rehab have had a large gay population lead the way. Not exactly the family values you are expounding, yet very helpful to the health of the city since we use few services and pay tons of taxes.

I haven't set foot in a church in years nor do I plan to. Yet I consider myself to be a decent and productive citizen because I obey the laws we have enacted as a society. Anyone can be a good citizen, regardless of their religion or lack there of, as long as they obey the law. :applause:

Here are a few things not addressed here that I think would help.

I think the homeless/panhandling problem needs to be addressed. Even though cities like New York and San Francisco have large homeless populations, it is possible to walk the streets in those towns without being asked for money. In Baltimore, it is inext to mpossible - even with earphones stuck in your ears.

Also, I think we need to attract and grow more corporations. We have always been considered to be a branch town with regard to business. It would be nice not to have that label. In certain fields, such as medical care, we don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I understand we will never be a New York, but I look at a city like Boston as being slightly smaller than us but being held in much higher regard. There is no reason we can't boost our population to 800,000 or so in the next 10-20 years and continue improving other aspects of our city to become a city that is more highly regarded than a Boston.

People tend to group Baltimore in with St. Louis, Cleveland and Cincy or cities like that and I really believe we are already better than them. We just need to change that perception.
 

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Boston is a unique city, in that it is one of only a handful of cities (in America) where its population nearly doubles on a daily basis with the influx of workers. Plus, it has the added benefit of being the state capital, thereby providing another huge influx of government workers.

While Boston and Baltimore are similar in that both emerged as colonial era centers of shipping and commerce, one progressed to become not only a business and government center, but also a center of academics, while the other did not.

Boston would be a fine model for us to yearn for; while all American cities have great attributes, Boston just has that “edge” most lack. It really is in another league, and that is not dictated by how many tall buildings it has, or does not have…
 

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Challenges to becoming a "world class city" on the developmental front would include IMO:

- A new "big league" arena with 17-20k seating capacity that would attract at the very least an Arena League football team, major concert events, NCAA hoops, minor league hockey and more.

- A signature supertall building (or 2 or 3) that would stand out on the skyline and improve the density of downtown.

- A signature promenade. Hopefully the Pratt St. redesign accomplishes this and gives Baltimore a main drag that attracts tons of foot traffic and new retail and business while being astetically pleasing at the same time.

- An improved "theatre district". We may be on our way here with The Everyman moving in next to the Hippodrome. But nothing invigorates a city like people out at night for dinner and a show.
 

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Crime. Drugs. Education (or lack thereof).

Depending on how you look at it, they can all be traced to the same thing.

I really don't like the 'what does Bmore need to compete' discussion. We don't have to compete with anyone but Baltimore. For years, the City has not been able to get out of its own way. We can change this. It will be extremely difficult, but we can do it.
 

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Boston is the only big city in all of New England and is truly a regional urban center for the area.It has a large metro population and the only reason Boston proper has 1/2 million or so people is that it is so small geographically.Once you leave SW Connecticut going up 95 all the way to Maine you are in Boston's Turf. Imagine the Balto metro area with no DC or Philly.Bean Town and Crab Town do have some similarities but they really are apples and oranges.

Drugs and the crime that follows is a big problem and much of the educational under achievement springs from the impact of these. I would add jobs to the mix.. the loss of all the manufacturing this town did once upon a time still resonates in the working class neighborhoods.
 

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Without Washington and Philadelphia (and don’t forget Wilmington!) “Crab Town” wouldn’t be all that much:

Even during the Age of Sail, cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Norfolk, and to a lesser extent Washington, their prosperity were all interconnected. At the end of the Twentieth Century, it was by way of the Interstates. Today, it is via a loftier form: that of direct electronic communication, i.e. the Internet.

Speculation is merely guesswork at best. Unless if to market one’s distinct advantages over the other, I think it’s pointless to compare which city is larger in area, has the largest population, the tallest building (with or without mast) or the most Fortune 500 headquarters.

We all “feed” off of one another; contribute to “betterment” of society. Out chief aim ought to be to become “the best at what we do”…
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Boston is a unique city, in that it is one of only a handful of cities (in America) where its population nearly doubles on a daily basis with the influx of workers. Plus, it has the added benefit of being the state capital, thereby providing another huge influx of government workers.

While Boston and Baltimore are similar in that both emerged as colonial era centers of shipping and commerce, one progressed to become not only a business and government center, but also a center of academics, while the other did not.

Boston would be a fine model for us to yearn for; while all American cities have great attributes, Boston just has that “edge” most lack. It really is in another league, and that is not dictated by how many tall buildings it has, or does not have…
I think Baltimore gets shunned when it comes to academics. We have Hopkins and Loyola, two fantastic colleges.
 

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I see three main issues: crime, schools and transportation.

School and crime problems are keeping families from moving into the city
Thats pretty much it. I see transportation as less of a hinderence that the other two, although it certainly is an issue.

Transportation issues may ultimatly help the city. As it becomes more expensive to commute, I see the growth of the exurbs slowing a revival in the cities. I think many, more people would consider the city if its crime and especially schools were fixed. Like most of you, I can see the problem, but I don't know what the fix is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I graduated from college about a year ago and work in the north part of the city up by Mount Washington. I'm hoping to save up money for another 6 months to a year and then try to find a place in the city so that I can cut down on my commute times and also find a happening area for a young guy like myself. For me, crime is an issue but schools really aren't. Transportation isn't a major issue but it certainly makes me want to find a place in a happening area and pay more as opposed to a quieter area for less and then take mass transit to the busy areas when I want to go out, if that makes any sense.
 

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This is not the first time I've seen the Baltimore/Boston comparison. It's a bad comparison because Boston is the hub of NE. I think Baltimore has a lot of potential. I work in DC and I hear repeated conversations from co-workers who are considering Bmore because the housing prices are not too crazy. Once the gentrification takes over, you'll see more people on the streets, businesses start to come back and a renaissance emerge. It's going to happen. It's a matter of time.
 

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This Baltimore defeatist bullshit needs to go. This crap about Baltimore never being a first tier city is misguided. Some people like to pretend that Baltimore is a city with peers such as St. Louis and Milwaukee based upon MSA population and economy sizes. This is completely ridiculous. Baltimore's metro area and sphere of influence extends well beyond it's government issued MSA boundaries. Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Frederick County are all suburbs of Baltimore. While they may associate more closely with DC, the people here frequently go to Baltimore for various reasons (basic state government services, food, shopping, jobs, head shops, etc). The same thing goes for DC, Fairfax, Arlington, Charles and Calvert to a lesser extent.

Hold Baltimore to the highest of standards. It's truly a city with an 8.5 million person metro area and a gigantic sphere of influence.
 

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This is not the first time I've seen the Baltimore/Boston comparison. It's a bad comparison because Boston is the hub of NE.
It's the "Hub of the Universe." (Oliver Wendell Holmes). They've even got a marker:



Seriously: it's a wonderful city and I haul the kids there 100 miles from the wilds of rural New Hampshire at least once a month so they don't forget what it's like to be in a city. (Which should help the transition when we move back to Baltimore City.)

It's no disrespect to Boston to say that there are a lot of things Baltimore has done (and has not done) that are the envy of Beantowners (or, in some cases, would be if they knew about them). Few samples:

1. Harbor redevelopment ... Boston's waterfront promenade will never be anywhere near as inviting as Baltimore's. Connectivity is poor. Widths are random, as if at the whim of the developers. Etc.
2. Camden Yards ... Fenway's great and I'm glad they saved it. But it's cramped. Nine innings with my knees in my eyes is no way to watch a game.
3. Waterfront highway ... it's cost(ing) Massachusetts toll-payers and US citizens $15 billion plus to rectify that mistake with the just-completed Big Dig. Baltimoreans didn't let one destroy Fed Hill, Fells Point, and Canton to begin with (tho' Canton did take a hit).
4. Crabcakes. Lobster? Feh.
5. Political hackery and corruption. Baltimoreans are pikers compared to up here.
6. Kenmore Square v. Hampden. Ask anyone who went to college in Boston in the 80s or earlier. They've killed the funk in Kenmore.
7. South Boston Waterfront v. Harbor East/Harbor Point. HEHP hands down. SBW is a really disappointing, disjointed collection of office buildings, a federal courthouse, a new convention center, and the much touted Institute of Contemporary Art.

Etc.

Chins up, Baltimoreans. Self-appraisal is fine, but don't go gettin' the idea that Mobtown is the only place with challenges ...

P.S. Rock on, modest! ^^ ^^
 

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Apropos Boston -- interesting series of articles in the Boston Globe Magazine last Sunday on Boston in ten years. This "green giant" is the sort of building I'd like to see on the current arena site in Baltimore. One-freakin'-thousand feet tall. As Dick Vitale would say, "It's awesome, baby!"
 

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Bureacracy, schools, transportation, business (or lack thereof) in Baltimore and the way the city sees it self (or shouldn't).

I went to Northern before they broke it up so I know what people are dealing with when addressing the schools. It's going to take a seriously comprehensive approach to change this situation.
 

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I think if Baltimore had a better transit system, it could somewhat compete with DC. Transit would create existing places of interests and would make them even more popular places within the region. To me there is no reason, Baltimore couldnt have en entertainment district like U Street in DC, which is in the middle of the city. U street used to be a tough street, 10-15 years ago just like Pennsylvania Ave in Baltimore. I know Penn Ave has a metro stop but the entire system is not well connected.

Or as a transit advocate told me, Baltimore does not have a transit system, it just has a collection of transit lines that sometimes cross each other.
 
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