A guest post from Dr. Kate Drabinski
As someone who doesn’t own a car, I travel my bike and foot, bus and train, the occasional ride thrown in by a generous driver. Truth is, even if I had a car, I’d still travel without one, because that’s how you get a sense of where you live. Walking and biking in Baltimore has helped me understand how neighborhoods are organized, segregated, and cut off from each other by streets, transit systems, and urban planning policies. Cities look like they do not by accident or as the result of a series of individual choices, but because of planning decisions and the choices that follow. Even when we “choose” where to live, work, and play, our choices are circumscribed by stories space tells us about whether or not “we” belong. In a car you don’t have to see that, but walking or on bike, you become intimately familiar with the changes that take place as you get from here to there.
The separation of West Baltimore from the downtown area is particularly striking to me, the two sides of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard like two different worlds. UMBC’s downtown shuttle drops students, faculty, and staff on the east side of that divide, but both sides are integral to our lived sense of the city, belonging, and who are our neighbors. This walking tour will take us along MLK and both east and west as we learn about the history of this stripe that has made all the difference for difference.
To learn more about the neighborhoods we’ll be visiting during the walking tour, check out these resources:
- David Harvey’s article A View From Federal Hill
- The Battles of Lexington: City Paper goes deep inside and under Baltimore’s oldest market
- Where a 1997 Lonely Planet Guide Will Take You Today in Baltimore
To learn more about Baltimore be sure to check out the kick-off to #CSJ365, Baltimore 101: Why Baltimore Matters on Monday, October 19th at 12pm.
Tickets for the #CSJ365 walking tour are going fast! If you want to join us on Friday, October 23rd, pick up your free ticket at the Commons CIC desk asap!