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University of Baltimore Journal of Land and Development

Abstract

The Homewood Community Partners Initiative (HCPI) is one of the newest waves of development based in Baltimore.1 HCPI has a different approach to development than other economic development plans in Baltimore and, in comparison to some failed attempts in other areas of the City, it seems to be working. Baltimore has long suffered from blight, high rates of vacant buildings, and high crime. There have been many previous attempts to address and repair those issues with only some success. HCPI is attempting to mitigate all those issues by way of a community development agenda and a five-part plan.2 While the execution of the plan extends beyond a simple five steps and will be spread out over many years, the HCPI agenda so far can be counted as a success. What makes the HCPI development plan successful? and can the elements that make the initiative so successful be applied elsewhere in city redevelopment? are questions to be discussed below.

HCPI was first conceived in 2010, prompted by an External Affairs and Community Engagement Committee created by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Board of Trustees. JHU launched HCPI in 2011 and brought in a consultant to engage the community in a manymonths effort with the goal of identifying methods for creating a more attractive community.3 With the formal launch of HCPI, JHU announced a $10 million pledge to launch the HCPI agenda4 and to be spent over five years.5 HCPI would not exist without the backing from an anchor institution like JHU, but one of the other major factors in the HCPI progress are its consultants and partners: McNeely Legal Services and Central Baltimore Partnership (CBP), a non-profit organization that exists to promote the betterment of central Baltimore, along with a wide variety of other partner organizations.6 CBP was founded in 20067 and worked on a variety of projects and programs before adopting the HCPI initiative as its own agenda. Thereafter, CBP committed to engage the community in the HCPI neighborhoods and to help design the issues to be addressed by HCPI, including starting with 37 recommended programs.8 Since the first agenda was envisioned, CBP and HCPI have narrowed the focus and chosen four key areas to target as part of the agenda: public safety and quality of life, housing creation and blight removal, public education, and retail and commercial development.9 In conjunction with those four areas HCPI plans to augment the agenda with targeted local hiring and purchasing.10 By targeting these areas, HCPI is set up to approach redevelopment with a holistic methodology. Rather than targeting only one issue at a time, HCPI attempts to bolster all aspects that contribute to neighborhood redevelopment.

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