School-Centered Neighbourhood Revitalization in Baltimore

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Despite the ways that schools are deeply tied to local conditions, we know less about how school change interacts with neighbourhood change. This study asks: How does a major investment in school facilities materially affect lived experiences in neighbourhoods? Using a case study approach, we present findings from a study of the policy apparatuses and impacts of Baltimore’s school closures, rehabilitation, and construction vis-à-vis patterns of uneven urban development and change in three Baltimore neighbourhoods that have each seen new school construction as part of the 21st Century Schools Buildings Plan (21CSBP): a cross-agency investment of nearly US $1.1 billion to build or renovate 28 public schools in some of Baltimore’s most neglected neighbourhoods. We argue that different agency stakeholders articulate competing operational theories of community development, which hinders collaborative efforts and creates obstacles to realizing deep impact of these school facilities investments on neighbourhood outcomes.

Keywords:  Community development; public education; school facilities; neighbourhood change.

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