May 24, 2010

JHU undergrads propose ideas for a better Baltimore

How do you make Baltimore better? Johns Hopkins students have a few ideas.

This past intersession, a dozen undergraduates participated in B’more Innovative: Studying Change Through Charm City. The seminar-based course explored how ideas and innovations spread through society using case studies connected to Baltimore. For the final assignment, each student proposed an innovative project to be implemented in the city.

The students wrote essays about their projects that can now be viewed at Four of the essays were published in The Baltimore Sun’s May 20 edition on the op-ed page.

One student advocated for local universities and colleges to purchase run-down and vacant row houses, which would then be redeveloped as businesses initially run by students. Another called for a self-sustaining gym, where the energy people expend using treadmills, elliptical machines and the like could be transformed into electricity used to power the facility’s lights, air conditioning units, televisions and other electric devices. Using Hampden’s “Miracle on 34th Street” as a model, one student proposed a citywide project to collect holiday lights from local citizens and identify sponsors to install the lights in various neighborhoods across Baltimore.

The blog archives the final proposals for the course, part of B’More: A Common Freshman Experience, a one-week academic program for freshmen to introduce them to their adopted home city.

The B’more Innovative course, held Jan. 16 to 22, was taught by Mike Reese, associate director of the Center for Educational Resources and a doctoral student in sociology.