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Mobilizing For Sustainable Development
Volume 2, Issue 1 Spring, 2009 Sojourner-Douglass College

"Top-Down" Model: A Community Development Dilemma
What the Planning Does Not Take Into Account

The Planners say that they want to create in Oldtown
A “mixed use” and “mixed income” community that meets current housing market conditions where current residents, mostly Black and poor, will be joined by new, more upscale, mostly white residents, without addressing the issue of race and ethnicity.

What the Planners do not address are the existing racial realities of living in Baltimore, where:

  • There has persisted for decades extreme disparities in income and wealth based on race
  • Existing housing patterns are racially segregated at a level considered “very high”
  • Long established migration patterns of upwardly mobile residents in which financially able Black home buyers are more likely to look outside Baltimore City while the proportion of financially able buyers relocating to Baltimore City are overwhelmingly White

Baltimore Income – American Community Survey
American Community Survey

“The Baltimore area's rating was 67.9; ratings over 60 were considered "very high" in the study; it means that ‘over 60% of the members of one racial group would need to move to a different tract for the two groups to be equally distributed.’" HOW RACIALLY SEGREGATED IS THE BALTIMORE METRO?, A Working Paper by William P. Kladky, Ph.D., GBCHRB Administrator, December 18, 2001,

If these existing conditions are not addressed by the Planners for Oldtown, the plans will work as they always have:

  • to make Oldtown unsustainable as a “mixed income” community
  • to drive poor Black residents away because of the economics, or/to drive upscale White residents away because the Black residents remain along with crime, blight, and declining property values
  • a completely gentrified community
  • another missed opportunity to transform the existing families
  • And a complete demographic flip in population from a White presence of 2.5% in 2000 to 75% - 90% in 2020

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