Future City
Photo by Sam Howzit
In December I had the chance to participate in a discussion about the future of Baltimore moderated by Dan Rodricks. The panelists included Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski III (President of UMBC), Baltimore novelist Madison Smartt Bell, Joe Erhrmann (President, Coach for America and former Baltimore Colt/DETROIT LION), Janet Marie Smith, vice president of planning & development for The Baltimore Orioles, and myself. I enjoyed being on the panel, but thought that it suffered from its size, and its age range–Mayor Rawlings-Blake and I were the youngest members on the panel by about a decade or so. And although I am more likely than Mayor Rawlings-Blake to claim middle age, the fact remains that both of us are on the other side of 40. These dynamics were replicated in the audience–a few of my black politics students came to the event, but the audience was largely white and middle-age at best.

The discussion which lasted for two hours is here.

I tried to address this gap in a discussion with Dan Rodricks and Koli Tengella. One of the most profound technological innovations of the latter 20th century was the scratch. It transformed the turntable from a purely consumption oriented device to a productive device–rather than simply playing music it became a musical instrument. Grand Wizard Theodore’s technical innovation literally changed the world. How do we take that energy and use it to create a new vision of the city?

This discussion lasted an hour. Listen here.