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Baltimore Living

Best Reason to Live Here

Baltimore Needs You

Posted 9/17/2003

In order to fill this space over the years, we have come up with a string of good reasons to lay your head in Baltimore. It's friendly, it's unpretentious, it's still shockingly affordable, it's full of great neighborhoods, it's full of great people, it's got that certain je ne sais quoi, it's surprisingly hip in its own odd way, it's not D.C. . . . the list goes on. This entire Best of Baltimore issue is full to bursting with reasons to live in the Land of Pleasant Living, as we were reminded while compiling it. And having been so amply reminded of what Baltimore has done for us, and does for us every day still, this year we thought we'd direct a nod to something that Baltimore needs from us.

It's no secret that, for all its charms, Charm City is a troubled city as well. Many young men and women struggle through our strapped public education system to graduation, but many drop out and hit the street. Either way, they are often faced with limited options: low-paying jobs if there are any jobs to be had at all; the lure of crime and drugs, a vicious cycle of cause-and-effect that fuels much of the city's wider ills; a society that is often well meaning but equally often too underfunded, poorly organized, and lacking the understanding needed to help effectively. While property values, new construction, and economic development are booming in some areas, many parts of our city are crumbling into ruin, taking neighborhoods and communities with them. The city's leadership--in City Hall, in the business community, among activists and community organizations--is making some strides, but our city sometimes seems too exhausted, too worn down, to go the next mile. And despite our many common bonds and concerns, despite our general welcoming nature, mistrust often divides class and race and sexual orientation, neighbor from neighbor.

Sounds like almost any big city, true, but as we all know, Baltimore isn't just some generic big city. Even those who curse its name must admit it is something of a special place. And if that special quality is going to endure and flourish, if we're going to overcome years of inertia and edge things forward to some kind of tipping point, Baltimore is going to need your help. And ours. All of us. Even more of us. Together. Our tax dollars. Our votes. Our helping hands. Our generosity--both of wallet, when we can, and of spirit. Our care. Our warm bodies and lit porch lights holding down the fort and making a bright spot.

We're not asking you to Believe. No one had to tell un-self-conscious Baltimore to believe in itself. What choice do we have? No one's going to believe in us for us. But the simple fact remains that the city won't get better unless we make it better. No one's going to do that for us, either.

So if you're thinking of moving here, welcome. If you're thinking of leaving, please reconsider. If you're staying put, we thank you and respect you, and we'll do what we can if you will. We'll do what we can anyway. We know this can be a hard city on even its most dedicated citizens, costing them sleep, property, prosperity, health, sanity, and even life on a bad day. But we promise that if you show Baltimore some love, it will somehow find a way to love you back.

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Other Awards for Best Reason to Live Here:

You're already prepared for the collapse of society, 9/16/2009

The Eternal Return, 9/17/2008

Crime, 9/19/2007

To keep it from being taken over, 9/20/2006

We Can’t Wait To See What Happens Next, 9/21/2005

Because of What We’re Not, 9/22/2004

It's Cheap, 9/18/2002

We're So Cool, 9/19/2001

Neighborhoods, 9/13/2000

It's cheap, 9/15/1999

One degree of separation, 9/17/1997

The architecture, 9/18/1996

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