Cheryl Washington on Rebuilding East Baltimore and its Future

The Annie E. Casey Foundation
May 29, 2019

In 2003, a mix of pub­lic and pri­vate part­ners — includ­ing the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion — estab­lished a non­prof­it called East Bal­ti­more Devel­op­ment Inc. (EBDI) to over­see the rede­vel­op­ment of 88-acres in East Bal­ti­more, Maryland.

The neighborhood’s before pic­ture was grim — plagued by high rates of unem­ploy­ment, vacan­cy and crime — and EBDI’s first move was con­tro­ver­sial, neces­si­tat­ing the mass dis­place­ment of res­i­dents liv­ing in a 30-acre sec­tion of the project area.

What ensued is one of the most talked-about and trans­for­ma­tive urban renew­al projects in Amer­i­ca today. It’s an evo­lu­tion that Cheryl Wash­ing­ton — EBDI’s pres­i­dent and CEO — has been work­ing to real­ize for years.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Lisa Hamil­ton recent­ly spoke with Wash­ing­ton about the ambi­tious project, its progress and next steps. Their con­ver­sa­tion explores how the com­mu­ni­ty shaped the plan in unex­pect­ed ways, how the project accom­mo­dat­ed impact­ed res­i­dents and what oth­er cities should know about tack­ling large-scale urban renew­al work.

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