EDC EVENT: “Highway to Nowhere” Walking Tour
September 21 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT
Join us for a walking tour of Baltimore’s infamous “Highway to Nowhere” (H2NOW)—the 1.4 mile ditch that displaced nearly 1,500 residents and separates neighborhoods in West Baltimore. Baltimore City Planner Martin French and community activist Eric Stephenson will provide commentary throughout the walk, discussing the bungled infrastructure project and its impact on Baltimore’s historic Black neighborhoods.
Facilitated by EDC Curator and Morgan State University Professor of Architecture Cristina Murphy, this event continues EDC programming on the H2NOW. This January, Cristina’s students presented proposals to transform H2NOW’s six concrete lanes into sustainable community resources—schools, greenhouses, playgrounds`(Read Cristina’s excellent blog post here). This walking tour will give attendees an embodied understanding of the devastation that the H2NOW inflicts on public space—with an eye towards the possibilities and radical potentials that lie just over the horizon.
This tour will be recorded and posted on the EDC platform following the event.
WHERE TO MEET:
The tour will start at the Walgreens located at 300 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21201. Arrive on Thursday, September 21st at 4:00pm. See the attached pdf for the detailed route.
WHAT TO BRING:
It is suggested that you wear shoes comfortable for walking and water. Total walking time is around 30 minutes (1.4 miles); we will stop at several points along the route for commentary and discussion.
Additionally, as the tour takes place during afternoon rush hour traffic, you may wish to bring a face mask if you are sensitive to air pollution. (The organizers will bring a handful of disposable surgical masks; be sure to ask them at any time if you need one!) Please RSVP so we can alert you to any schedule or route changes! (More info and suggested reading below the break!)
RSVP H2NOW Walking Tour
ABOUT THE GUIDES:
MARTIN FRENCH has worked for the Baltimore City Planning Department since 2004. After five years in the Research & Strategic Planning Division, where he was a contributor to LIVE EARN PLAY LEARN, the City’s Comprehensive Master Plan, he began working in the Land Use & Urban Design Division as the Department’s representative at zoning hearings. Apart from this principle responsibility, Martin is part of the LUUD team advising developers and citizens about possible development or redevelopment and how zoning may shape outcomes of those ideas.
ERIC STEPHENSON is Vice-Chair of the Baltimore City Planning Commission and a resident of West Baltimore. He’s a member of several community organizations including the No Boundaries Coalition Board, an advocacy organization unifying Central West Baltimore, and the Harlem Park Neighborhood Council where he serves on the housing committee. Eric is also a 2019 alumnus of the Department of Planning’s Planning Academy. Eric works as a Project Manager for Southway Builders, a Baltimore-based general contractor specializing in affordable housing, mixed-use commercial, and school construction.
We suggest the following materials, starting with this short blog post, to learn more about the history of the H2NOW’s explicitly racist objectives and the scar that it leaves on our city.
Paull, E. Evans. 2023. “The Anatomy of a Bad Decision.” Stop the Road (blog). June 22, 2023. https://stop-the-road.com/the-book/2023/06/22/the-anatomy-of-a-bad-decision/.
Equity in Planning Committee. 2017. “Racism in the Structure: An Overview of Baltimore, Maryland.” Baltimore, MD: Equity in Planning Committee. https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/l683c3pni7tkyw14jy4fz/Equity-in-Planning-Committee_2017_Racism-in-the-Structure.pdf?rlkey=61b4bv13332e5kximi1qrbly1&dl=0
Eric Stephenson, dir. 2023. Highway to Nowhere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01AunlcqDFc.
Lucas, Amanda K. Phillips de. 2020. “Producing the ‘Highway to Nowhere’: Social Understandings of Space in Baltimore, 1944-1974.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 6 (October): 351–69. https://doi.org/10.17351/ests2020.327.