When I moved to Baltimore five years ago, it was one of the most vibrant cities in the country.
The food scene was buzzing, bars were popping up, and downtown was buzzing.
Today, it feels like we’re stuck in the 1960s, the 1990s, or even the 2000s.
I grew up in the middle of Baltimore’s renaissance, and the city’s been doing well for a long time.
But it’s been hard to maintain that sense of vibrancy.
Now, the same people who brought Baltimore to life are leaving, and its hard to feel optimistic about the future.
Annapolis, the city where I grew to love shopping, has fallen to the bottom of the heap.
Annapolis has lost half of its residents since 2007, and a whopping 46 percent of its businesses have closed over the past two decades.
It’s a city that’s more diverse than its population.
I’ve seen a lot of people of color in Annapolis.
In fact, I’m half-white, half-African American.
And in places like Baltimore, Baltimore’s the city I’m most likely to encounter when I’m walking the streets of Baltimore.
What can I do to make Baltimore better?
Annas malls are a magnet for a large portion of the city.
The city has the lowest percentage of young adults of any major American city.
As a result, Annapolis’ residents are living longer, spending more money, and less on the things they care about.
As I’ve learned from watching Baltimore’s economy deteriorate, there’s no escaping the fact that Annapolis is a place where we need to invest in things like education, housing, and health care.
But it’s also important to remember that Annas malls and other retail spaces are not the only places in the city that are suffering.
There’s a serious shortage of affordable housing in Annas.
Annas also has the highest rate of unemployment in Baltimore.
I’m not suggesting that we go to war on Annas mall or Annas grocery store, but if we’re serious about the long-term health of Baltimore, we need a new strategy for how we think about the city and the region.
Baltimore is one of America’s most dynamic cities, but we have to make the effort to diversify the city by focusing on things like the arts, education, and social justice.