Thursday, April 29, 2010

change of tone

When the semester began and this process of learning all about the Station North developmental plans began, I was worried that the “charm” of the city would be in full assault. After living in Baltimore for more then three years I have adopted Baltimore has my home and have found comfort in everything that Baltimore City has offered. The DIY framework of the city is what initially attracted me to Baltimore. The availability of space within the urban environment, and the fluid transition of abandoned building to functional music venue is something I still have difficulty figuring out, but love nonetheless. While the city at certain moments may appear to be deteriorating all around me with vacant lots scattered throughout and certain blocks being completely abandoned, the arts scene is up and running 24/7.
Prior to hearing anything in the class my fear of developmental plans in the area was that this current relationship with the arts within the area would cease to exist. The status quo would not be able to handle the economic revision of the area and would be outsourced and the area completely gentrified. While potentially this would not need to be a bad thing (it would change the area and could have a functioning economically driven cultural area) it would not be the same North Avenue region which has attracted many artists and musicians to the area.
Fortunately, after hearing from a slew of active players in the developmental future of SNAED I can honestly say that I am optimistic about this project. While it will be impossible to say that I am “sold” that my Baltimore will not change too drastically for my liking until I check out the region twenty years from now, it has been presented to the class that it is in the best interest of Baltimore that the atmosphere stays the same. Even in the last couple of years huge changes have been made—for the better in my opinion. The Windup Space, Artists and Craftsmen Supply, Joe Squared and more have been built and have tapped into and encouraged the current music and arts scene of the city. Restaurants, galleries, theatres, markets, and green spaces seem to appear in every developmental plan, and if these spots remain affordable and universally welcoming, SNAED developmental plans can maintain the “charm” of North Avenue while improving the city and continuing to having a fully functioning culturally driven area.

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