Racialized social control and risk management: Baltimore
The New Jim Crow and while I am not sure how I feel about the book, the author Michelle Alexander makes a compelling argument about mass incarceration being the current stage of racialized social control (after slavery and the Old Jim Crow).
There is an article in the Baltimore Business Journal, "Real estate leaders say Baltimore's poor public image is 'exhausting'," where the real estate industry is complaining about the impact of the post-Freddie Gray riots on the city's image, business climate, and current economic success. From the article:
Baltimore real estate executives are weary from fighting a tidal wave of negativity and shaky city leadership that have hampered leasing, retail and tourism efforts around town. ...For the past few years, I've been thinking about these issues in terms of municipal asset and risk management ("Town-city management: 'We are all asset managers now'") and as key responsibilities of a city's political and economic leaders--elected, appointed, and stakeholders.
"The business community needs to step up and challenge the city leadership and create an environment where people want to live and work in our city," Deering said. "We can’t just complain, we’ve got to get them involved, and we have to hold them accountable."
Deering said no elected city officials attended the forum. Also absent were representatives from the Baltimore Development Corp., the city's quasi-public economic development agency, and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, a nonprofit that oversees the central business district, in part through funds collected from businesses.
Tom Fidler, executive vice president at MacKenzie, said the discussion ranged from Baltimore's positives to its negatives, which included a poor national and regional image problem.
"The word of the night was exhausting," Fidler said on Friday. "We're all exhausted with the constant battle of changing the perception of our city on the national and regional level. It hurts, and none of us can sugarcoat it."
I have written about this also in terms of policing and year after year settlements totaling tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in cities like Chicago being an indicator of systemic problems ("Managing the brand promise of cities in the face of corruption"). Instead of taking the cost as a given, address the process that generates unpreferred outcomes.
But I haven't always been thinking about this in terms of "racialized social control" or at least not in such stark terms.
-- "An outline for integrated equity planning: concepts and programs"
After all, my basic lesson from serving on grand jury duty was that the city spends billions of dollars each year on criminal justice, emergency services, human services and other social programs just to keep the city's low income households "the same."
That's doubly true for Baltimore.
-- "Social urbanism and Baltimore"
-- "The Tragedy of Baltimore," New York Times Magazine
Greater St. Louis has similar issues post-Ferguson, and for different reasons, so does the University of Missiouri ("Long After Protests, Students Shun the University of Missouri," New York Times).
Creating a transit network as a fulcrum for Baltimore revitalization. One thing that would make a huge difference is the creation of a city-focused transit network, because two relatively poorly placed transit lines that don't really connect--one a light rail, the other a truncated subway--aren't enough to spark substantive in-migration to neighborhoods across the city.
This piece, based on a paper I wrote for the Baltimore County master plan update process in 2009/2010, outlines a program equally focused on both jurisdictions, although the paper is a bit more focused on the County since that's where I was working.
-- "From the files: transit planning in Baltimore County"
Looking back at the original program for planning a transit network in Baltimore City, dating to the 1960s, would provide a template for a more complete system.
Also see "A "Transformational Projects Action Plan" for a statewide passenger railroad program in Maryland") and "Revisiting the Purple Line (series) and a more complete program of complementary improvements to the transit network" where I suggested that Baltimore City should leverage the PL project to get more modern light rail vehicles.