Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How do I use this blog?

How will you use this blog? I'd like everyone to start looking at Baltimore through the lens of access. When you're walking around the city, try to notice the subtle and not so sublte ways in which access is restricted. Become curious. Ask questions. Why do maps in tourist guidebooks crop out East Baltimore? If there is a public bus system, why is there a campus shuttle? Where does it stop? Where doesn't it? How does it influence a college student's perception of the city? In the inner-harbor, why are there armrests on all the public benches? Why is it so hard to access Guilford from Wavery? Who has the right to post "No Loitering" signs? Don't be afraid to ask bigger, more troubling questions like: why is Baltimore so racially-segregated?

Also, don't be afraid to think about things that facilitate access. Here's an example taken from another blog of mine:

My girlfriend lives in Baltimore. Her mechanic is on Greenmount Avenue, an often nasty street that separates the very rich, very white single-family house community of Guilford from the very mixed community of Waverly. About 200 yards from the mechanic's shop in the direction of Guilford (unaccessible from Greenmount by car, thanks to a "One Way" sign that directs traffic out of Greenmount but accessible by foot) is Sherwood Gardens, a really pretty six-and-a-quarter-acre park that is public, but that is usually only used by its (wealthy) immediate neighbors. What's amazing is that the mechanic likes to tell customers that instead of waiting at the shop for their car, browsing seven-year-old National Geographics, they should wait at Sherwood Gardens.

I Haven't been to Sherwood Gardens enough to know if this has opened the park to people who live in Waverly, but it certainly has the ability to, and thus, "Mechanic" gets a place in our Arsenal of Inclusion.

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