Housing

Hannah Dobbz "Nine-Tenths of the Law"

Last weekend, Hannah Dobbz came to Baltimore and spoke at Red Emma's about her new book, Nine-Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States. Published by AK Press, Nine-Tenths of the Law is about the history of squatting in the US, and offers new perspectives on property in the midst of the foreclosure crisis and recession.

On Thursday evening, Nov. 8, 2012, a rally to stop Governor Martin O'Malley from building a new youth jail facility in Baltimore City and instead to reallocate those funds ($104 million-plus) to a more constructive use, was held at the War Memorial Building. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the noted civil rights leader, was the main speaker. He urged the governments to convene a plan to "build houses, not jails and to keep hope alive." Excerpts from Rev. Jackson's remarks are on this video.

Hurricane Sandy shut down businesses all across the east coast—even businesses that pride themselves on never closing their doors. Photo by: Iris Kirsch.

With the dystopic, unreality show "Jersey Shore" in its waning sixth season, residents of the long Atlantic Coast in New Jersey have some rather more pressing concerns. Last week, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record crashed into the coast, plunging more than 8.2 million people into darkness, and flooding thousands of homes.

A mix of vacant and occupied homes on a neighborhood block in Park Heights Baltimore. Photo by Casey McKeel.

A powerful tool for the development of affordable housing -- the community land trust -- is getting its debut in Baltimore. John Duda sat down with Will Hanna, president of the New Park Heights Community Development Corporation, to discuss how in Park Heights this tool will be used to encourage real estate development in a way that “preserves culture and deals with the fear of gentrification.” In his report back, Duda explains how the structure of the land trust ensures that residents are not displaced by skyrocketing home prices when redevelopment succeeds and an area is revitalized.

Professor David Harvey. Photo: Clayton Conn

Distinguished professor, activist and theorist, David Harvey was invited to speak at the 10th annual Ric Pfeffer Memorial Lecture series on his new book, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. Known for his theoretical work on "historical-geographical materialism", and his sharp critique and analysis on neoliberalism, Dr. Harvey focused his lecture on the dynamics and resistance against the dominance of finance capital.

Photo: Clayton Conn

On the eve of the two month anniversary of Occupy Baltimore, participants and allies of the emerging movement gathered at the 2640 Space to reflect upon the previous two months of an intensive experiment in mass participatory democracy; it's successes, pitfalls, challenges and potential new directions.

Denial letter page 1

This past week the City of Baltimore denied a permit request submitted by Occupy Baltimore to maintain their now two-month-old encampment at McKeldin Square. The denial was sent by letter from Gregory Bayor, director of the Department of Recreation and Parks, prohibiting the request to remain at the inner harbor site legally through to April 2012.

Right off the large main lobby of Healthcare for the Homeless in downtown Baltimore, there is a small, tile-floored room with folding tables and plastic stackable chairs. Offering some small respite from the loud TVs and chatter of dozens of people in the main lobby, the room reminds me of a school classroom.

On a hot August morning, I sat down with James Crawford at a table in the apartment building where he lives on North Avenue. I had first called him less than 24 hours before, and he had told me to come see him the next morning at eleven. As we sat alone in a large room full of chairs, tables, and couches, in what I guessed was the lobby of the apartment building, I asked him about his work for Bmore Housing For All (BHFA), an activist organization of currently or formerly homeless people and their allies in which he is an active member.

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