Baltimore Blog Member News Morgan State University NEWS redlining symposium

The one-day Symposium at Morgan State University, School of Architecture and Planning on April 18th 2019 – AIABaltimore

By Cristina Murphy

Baltimore, MD (Might 10, 2019) – Who will Baltimore serve in 15 years? General, cities are struggling between accommodating new investments and avoiding displacement. Can spatial fairness be addressed by means of market-based solutions or are group land trusts the one viable answer? Can designers present progressive and artistic concepts to deal with fairness in the constructed surroundings?

On April 18, I organized a symposium at SA+P (School of Architecture and Planning) at Morgan State University in Baltimore that explored how redlining and gentrification have shaped and are still influencing Baltimore neighborhoods. This event was part of ARC540-Studio four, a Morgan State College School of Architecture + Planning graduate studio investigating the which means of a just metropolis utilized to Baltimore and Rotterdam. This spring 2019 design studio was curated in collaboration with the Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunst (RAvB), a Rotterdam based mostly Design Academy with a curriculum is just like what provided at Morgan. It was essential to know the legacy of the transformation of place, race, and class in Baltimore, and look at how redlining and other policies, practices, and disinvestments have created systemic disparities that not only perpetuate our most urgent social challenges, but impede democracy.

To be able to unfold this slightly complicated matter, the symposium was laid out in 5 elements, all of which labored in conjunction to offer a context for the historical past and legacy of redlining:


Antero Pietila, writer, Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Formed a Nice American Metropolis, revealed the key of American Cities’ urban planning buildings and how persisting discrimination (racial and financial) has been a figuring out issue of how our cities are designed even in the present day.

Wouter Veldhuis introduced the idea of just cities and introduced case research in the Netherlands. Here, the thought is to improve the life of the poor despite the presence of multi-national firms trying to flatten and globalize the socialist angle of the nation.

April de Simone, co-founder Designing the WE, based mostly in NYC, narrated true stories of segregation, emphasizing how redlining is a structural software that perpetuates institutionalized racism in laws and city providers. How can city enhancements occur when authorities permit for intentional group and neighborhood decay?

Panel Dialogue:

This was an animated dialog amongst lecturers and viewers on how redlining had, and nonetheless is, guiding American cities. Panelists included Antero Pietila, April de Simone, Wouter Veldhuis, Seema Iyer (Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at JFI), Lori Rubeling (Stevenson College), Zevi Thomas, Assoc. AIA (AIA Baltimore), Nneka Namdi (Struggle Blight Bmore), Colman Jordan (Morgan State College), and Jerome Gray, AIA (jerome c grey architect llc).

Exhibition “Undesign the Redline:”

We welcomed the “Undesign the Redline” exhibition at Morgan as half of the Redline in Baltimore Symposium. This superb nomadic and interactive exhibition, designed by Designing the WE, walks us via how structural racism and inequity was designed into cities. This narrative unfolds in a bigger historical context by diving narrating actual individuals’s stories. The exhibit also facilitates, explores opportunities and options which will continue to heal the legacy of redlining.

Discussion and Interplay:

Nneka N’namdi from Battle Blight Bmore shared experiences of these affected by redlining, blight, gentrification and displacement. N’namdi humanizes the teachings of historical past. She asks, “How are disinvested urban spaces impacting the health of the community?” N’namdi’s presentation gave us the opportunity to take a position on personal interest and capital versus equity and inclusion.


Pigtown in Baltimore and Hillesluis in Rotterdam are Just Metropolis Studio case research. On both sites, college students attempt to apply various models to undesign the redlining legacy. The work of our scholar’s think about built-in spaces for individuals and problem decision-makers not to permit neighborhoods to fall into unrecoverable decay.


After the Symposium, I asked a couple of friends to report their impressions:

Anthony Quivers: “There has never been a ‘symposium’ that has affected me in such a profound way. The conversations exposed me to the pathology and policy of structural racism. Think of all of the things that were created elsewhere but held back there because of known moral consequences. The shock is in how these same things, (i.e. slavery, modern capitalism), were later brought to America and implemented without restraint. The result was entire civilizations being wiped out and groups of people being enslaved. There is no narrative for reparations or reconciliation. Yet there are more silent methods being used to make people unaware of the history and keep others believing that these kind of injustices are the status quo. Morality is an idea. In the United States, repression happens at the level of an idea.”

Charles Eubanks – Activist/Organizer in Baltimore Metropolis: “Getting into the symposium area at CBEIS on the Morgan State campus was dazzling. The area was open and shiny, and there was a forest of TV cameras in the back of the room. I really loved the plethora of scrumptious pastries and refreshments offered. My pal Cristina (who planned the symposium) welcomed me warmly quickly after I arrived. The area was crammed with smiling, talking individuals: school, college students, and visitors. I might inform that this is able to be a really particular event, but even my anticipation did not account for the facility and interest embodied in the day’s proceedings. We heard first-hand a fascinating account and description of redlining practices and their devastating effects on Baltimore’s poor communities, and notably these of shade. It was a deeply shifting emotional and mental expertise for me, as a white cis-male from the agricultural South. Listening to the keynote tackle from Antero Pietila was riveting, and I scribbled notes furiously. To listen to his skillful, well-researched, private account of the history of redlining in Baltimore was an invaluable expertise for me. His lecture offered me with valuable context for my organization’s (Democratic Socialists of America) current organizing work around Housing Justice in Baltimore City. The second speaker, Wouter Veldhuis was also extremely fascinating and informative. It was intriguing to listen to a Dutch perspective on potential solutions for ‘just’ cities. The third speaker, April de Simone was wonderful too. I skilled her mother’s personal story as a strong emotional rollercoaster, and her story grounded the truth of financial genocide and disinvestment for communities of colour in American cities.

I additionally enjoyed the walkthrough she offered of the Redesign the Redline exhibit, and I discovered rather a lot from her presentation of numerous American insurance policies and historical occasions as being refreshed institutionalized racial assaults on individuals of colour. I loved the panel as properly. I have two associated pieces of feedback, and they actually relate to timing, and the dimensions and process of the panel. I might have beloved to have more time with panel members, however the time-frame and measurement of the panel actually limited the power of sure members to have their full say. Additionally, a panel moderator may need helped to direct the move of this part of the symposium. My suggestion can be to have multiple, narrowly targeted, smaller (4 panelists + one moderator) panels for an hour or so every. I also would have beloved to have more interplay and a longer time frame to actually dig in and digest the exhibit with April. All of these procedural updates would in all probability necessitate having a multi-day symposium, or extending the time frame of the symposium into the evening and adding dinner (or permitting a break for dinner). All-in-all, the event was rather well deliberate and executed, simply certain elements left me wanting extra, which is a superb drawback to have. I’m so grateful for this present day at Morgan. I’ll treasure this experience in reminiscence, and I have already shared the live-stream video with many of my fellow organizers and peers. Understanding these policies and grounding them in historical events, together with their materials impacts is completely essential to creating better coverage, political, design, and investment selections going ahead. We’ve got to completely acknowledge and reckon with this drawback with a purpose to start solving it, and this event was a incredible first second in that process for me.”

Lori L. Rubeling, Professor of Art and Design, Stevenson University: “The ‘other’ is weaponized by politicians. Its continued use in American political spaces sustains polite racism. I think that citizen ignorance or inability to perceive the 400-year injustice of the slave trade is the heart of the issue. How might we narrate the slave trade injustice so that all Americans relate to it as their injustice, too? The City of Baltimore governance is a too-perfect example of just what happens to the ‘other’ whose citizenship is ‘less-than.’ Antero Pietila’s excellent research and reporting present Baltimore’s injustice narrative as it played out in City Hall. Here, institutionalized racism and bigotry are sustained by the city’s 1908 residential segregation laws. Throughout the 20th Century, Pietila provides us detail after detail of how segregation is sustained through a national-level execution of redlining neighborhoods, of denying the ‘other’ equal access to political representation, property ownership, educational advancement, and safety. How might Baltimore’s narrative transform into a ‘Just City’? How might ‘all men are created equal,’ American democracy idealism, become reimagined as a new citizen contract? The April 18th Baltimore Redlining Symposium offers us an opportunity to be a witness to redlining and gentrification injustice and inspires us to frame citizenship in new and inspiring ways to help us realize the ideal that all citizens are created equal.”

Naomi Wong Hemme, Candidate, Master of Architecture at Morgan State College: “I attended the morning session of the symposium. As I had some exposure of the subject of redlining through a previous NDC conference and from reading Richard’s Rothstein’s ‘The Color of Law,’ I came away from the symposium with messages of hope from the speakers. Specifically, I was inspired by the presentation of Prof. Wouter Veldhuis and Ms. April de Simone. Prof. Veldhuis laid out the basic needs of just urban neighborhoods, while Ms. de Simone shared her deeply personal account of the impact of redlining and planned shrinkage. As a designer, I have always wanted to create spaces that promote a just society, and while there are many resources out there on the subject, symposiums like this provide a safe space to have candid, non-judgmental conversations among people coming from the side of good will. I hope SA+P continues to lead this type of symposiums, and perhaps organizes sessions that dove into how designers and planners can create just communities or help remedy systematic injustice–from access to healthcare, healthful food options, to social connections. I think it takes sustained efforts to educate and support the next generation of designers and planners on this topic and provide forums like this for dialogues and networking.”

Ryan Eubanks, AIAS Architecture and City Design Scholar at Morgan State University: “The symposium was powerful! The speakers were very knowledgeable and helpful in sharing the unjust practices of the past and how they are still having an effect in today’s society. These lectures challenged me to take some time, and consider how I would feel if my narrative was a life marginalized and disregarded. It caused me to think about what an unfree life might be like. I pause to think about how redlining affected generations of minorities negatively. On the flip side, it causes me to feel regret the way the majority was given the priority for socioeconomic climbs. I believe there has to be some way to calculate the effects that greed has had on the Black community. We must find a way to make it right. We must find a way to lift the racism and improve the lives of those whom have been taken advantage of. If we can admit there are things we did wrong, then we must be willing to coffer restitution for those wrongs. The only way to arrive at equality is to offer the advantages to all and raise all citizens together to have what is owed. Until we are willing to make this step, we are damned to continue creating the same disparities between those who can and those who want to but are blocked from doing so.”

Saskia Naaf, Investigative journalist at Investico – Platform voor onderzoeksjournalistiek: “To me, it was a really informative day. I actually favored the speakers Cristina arranged for us. Mr. Pietila, who zoomed in on the particulars on redlining and contract selling in Baltimore, and then Mrs. de Simone who gave a broader format of racist legal guidelines and insurance policies in the US, have been wonderful! Mrs. de Simone presentation was particularly robust as it was a personal story and she appeared extra activist than Mr. Pietila who was extra calm and collected and factual in his presentation. I also favored the input of Mrs. N’namdi as she brought in the perspective of a Baltimore resident, and what residents can do. General, it was a very informative symposium with fascinating speakers talking about totally different features of a really difficult drawback that is redlining (and its results) and discrimination within the housing market normally. From a Dutch perspective, the knowledge the audio system shared with us was typically fairly surprising, as we do have discrimination and racism within the Netherlands, but not on an institutional and legal degree as in the USA. Also from a Dutch perspective, I feel we’re all the time considering in terms of planning options, so I used to be wondering what has been tried to treatment this primary inequality in entry to correct housing. So much of small and bottom-up non-profit initiatives have been talked about by Mrs. N’namdi, however maybe it will have been good to have somebody representing government or somebody concerned with metropolis planning at the desk as nicely, to provide an concept of how Baltimore is making an attempt to deal with these problems with redlining and discrimination in mortgage lending, but in addition with segregated neighborhoods and vacancies. Later, Rachel Sengers, Chair Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister Cities Committee, gave me a ebook by Klaus Philipsen, ‘Baltimore: Reinventing an Industrial Legacy City’ and I need to say that has been very informative: it talks about what has been tried with vacant properties and making the housing market extra just and equitable.

Only one small point of suggestions: the day was fairly lengthy as a result of we had the scholar shows afterwards. In the direction of the top it was arduous to remain concentrated and give the students the attention they deserved. Some more breaks would’ve been nice, or maybe a shorter program. Lastly, the touring presentation by Mrs. de Simone is a very cool solution to share this info with a broader viewers and make it more interactive. I additionally appreciated that there was a lot of room for discussion and questions.”

Urban redlining is a concept I only discovered of a yr in the past at the Motor Home in Baltimore when the “Undesign the Redline” exhibition was on show. Before that, my information of the town was built round concepts resembling renewal resulting in progress and group’s enchancment. Ideas like gentrification have been incomprehensible to me at the time! Educated in Europe, any urban transformation is evolution; it is constructive improvement and group oriented—a strategic plan to make life for all residents higher.

Once in Baltimore, the truth of totally different city buildings which are pushed by monetary and racial circumstances dawned on me, and received me curious. How was I unaware of such a big concept and, most importantly, such an enormous driver of city design? How was I not aware of how cities have been divided? Is there a “White L” and “Black Butterfly” (Professor Lawrence Brown) in Baltimore? Are there undesirable areas, or is that a simplification, a perception constructed by realtors to steer markets? At present, I consider cities evolve following a monetary logic, and now, extra so, the structural organization of cities continues to be influenced by racial circumstances which might be so challenging to resolve. I now consider that a lot of the American Metropolis’s genesis is driven by a robust cultural angle we should always challenge by providing a special perspective on the way to design cities for individuals.

I’m additionally glad this conversation is, at this time, entertained in the correct setting: that is where the new era of designers is cast. That is the place we educate them to steer the longer term within the hope that they’ll form higher, more equitable and livable cities. That is where we will practice them on the concept that justice is possible not as an choice but as the one strategy to transfer forward.

I’m now working so that this conversation is simply the beginning of many more to return. Martin Luther King Boulevard in Baltimore is a tough border that represents a website the place activists ask: can we deliver our intelligence together and generate extra sustainable and equitable infrastructure for this necessary city connector? Keep tuned!



FY-2019 on-campus activities


Antero Pietila, April de Simone, and Wouter Veldhuis


Colman Jordan, Jerome Grey, AIA; Lori Rubeling, Nneka Namdi, Seema Iyer, and Zevi Thomas, Assoc. AIA

Article contributors

Anthony Quivers, Charles Eubanks, Lori Rubeling, Naomi Wong Hemme, Ryan Eubanks, and Saskia Naaf

Rotterdamse Academie van Bouwkunde

Margit Schuster, Rowin Petersma, and Wouter Veldhuis

Morgan State University

Evan Richardson, Luther Moore and Terrance Baker

Special Because of

Rachel Sengers and Wouter Portegijs

This one-day symposium has been filmed and recorded by college students from the School of International Journalism & Communication at MSU and aired on the Bear-TV.

Redlining in Baltimore Symposium was additionally LiveStream, right here: