Using the power of the Internet
Both Q&As this week came to pass because I happened upon (or was pointed toward) a website trumpeting an idea. It's now cheap and easy -- beyond an investment of time -- to present your point of view to the world, and some local folks are taking advantage of the opportunity.
Here are other ones I've noticed on the subject of housing, development and/or neighborhoods, in alphabetical order:
Baltimore City's Past Present and Future. A blog with photos of past and present community conditions and suggestions for improvement. For instance, on the subject of whether Westport redevelopment will do anything for the wider neighborhood, blogger Spence writes that "we'll have to knock down some barriers in order to make it an all around success." The blogger also keeps a blog about the future of Columbia.
Baltimore Grows. "Real estate, development, and life in Baltimore," as the site notes. Bloggers point readers toward Baltimore-centric news, chat about new restaurants and opine on development proposals. A ongoing poll asks, "Who's Baltimore's Best Mayor?" (Schaefer is winning by a wide margin.)
Baltimore Housing Bubble. Started in 2007, this blog was among a number nationwide that predicted big declines in home values because prices rose much faster than incomes during the earlier buying frenzy. Bloggers Kevin and Adam officially retired the site last October, but they've posted a few times since then.
baltimore john watch. Residents of Washington Village/Pigtown blog about the problem of out-of-town men who troll the neighborhood for prostitutes and sometimes bother women who are not practicing the so-called oldest profession. The bloggers want to turn things around, whether by shaming the men or getting outraged residents to lobby for more city government help. One recent post describes a john, notes his license plate number and says "it is hazardous to one's health to try to pick up respectable women as they're trying to cross the light."
Baltimore Slumlord Watch. This blog -- which says it was started "by a resident who was tired of watching out of town 'investors' and others destroy neighborhoods as a result of their negligence" -- names names, lists addresses, posts photos and tells people which council district each derelict property is in, for ease of complaining to the appropriate council member. About a boarded-up North Fulton Avenue property, the blogger writes: "The owner has seen his fair share of foreclosure hearings and housing court violations — not surprising. We have to wonder is anyone in the city paying attention to this revolving list of names?"
What other local sites or blogs have you seen in this vein? Point me toward a bunch of other ones, and I'll make up a new list.