Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore : Rethinking the 21st Century Public School book cover
1st Edition

Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore
Rethinking the 21st Century Public School

ISBN 9780367509613
Published May 30, 2022 by Routledge
210 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore examines the role of the contemporary public school as an instrument of urban design.

The central case study in this book, Henderson-Hopkins, is a PK-8 campus serving as the civic centerpiece of the East Baltimore Development Initiative. This study reflects on the persistent notions of urban renewal and their effectiveness for addressing the needs of disadvantaged neighborhoods and vulnerable communities. Situating the master plan and school project in the history and contemporary landscape of urban development and education debates, this book provides a detailed account of how Henderson-Hopkins sought to address several reformist objectives, such as improvement of the urban context, pedagogic outcomes, and holistic well-being of students.

Bridging facets of urban design, development, and education policy, this book contributes to an expanded agenda for understanding the spatial implications of school-led redevelopment and school reform.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Preface: From Dunbar to Henderson-Hopkins

Introduction: Why Henderson-Hopkins Matters

Chapter One: Baltimore and Its Schools

Chapter Two: Competing Visions for Middle East

Chapter Three: School as Anchor

Chapter Four: A New Park and a New School

Chapter Five: Between City and Classroom

List of Interviews



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Erkin Özay is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Özay’s research is concerned with institutional and cooperative settings and their ability to serve as mediators against structural inequities affecting the lives of vulnerable urban communities. Özay previously taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, University of Toronto, and Northeastern University. A registered architect in the United States, he also practiced with various international firms including Foster + Partners in London, UK and Hashim Sarkis Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


"Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore: Rethinking the 21st Century Public School offers valuable insight into the powerful roles that schools and anchor institutions play in place-based development and community building. Through his depiction of the development of Baltimore’s Henderson-Hopkins School, Ozay deftly highlights the iterative and difficult process of planning and development and the dynamic and often fraught relationships between designers, developers, public officials and communities. The story illustrates why any act of architecture or planning should be grounded in an understanding of the community’s unique socioeconomic and physical context and the necessity of engaging people in a meaningful, collaborative process anchored by a collective vision and values."

Anne-Marie Lubenau, FAIA
Director of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence at the Bruner Foundation


"Erkin Ozay’s account of the Baltimore Schools is truly masterful at many levels: at exposing the importance of past reforms and their cumulative impact on education today, at explicating the complexities, challenges  and benefits of the collaborative process in the programming and design of educational facilities, and at conveying to its readers, in a responsibly uplifting way, the crucial role that architecture plays in enlivening education and democracy while it is being enlivened by them."

Hashim Sarkis,
Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, MIT


"Urban design and urban politics are tightly interwoven, and education often stands at the juncture of the two. Erkin Ozay’s Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore is a clear-headed, sensitive, and often poignant recounting of East Baltimore’s chequered attempts to leverage community renewal, neighborhood reconstruction, and renewed neighborhood education in the early 2000s. As distressed American cities continue their struggle for more equitable and accessible public education, Ozay’s analysis of the Henderson-Hopkins school’s challenging birth will be a reassuring tale of institutional partnerships to some, a cautionary tale of state-led gentrification to others. For all readers concerned with the intersectionality of planning, design, politics, and society in American cities, this is essential reading."
Brent D. Ryan,
Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy, MIT


"Urban Renewal and School Reform in Baltimore is a clear and compelling exploration of redevelopment efforts in East Baltimore. Erkin Özay delves into the evolving relationships between public schools and urban neighborhoods, exposing a persistent gap between civic intentions and community outcomes. A must-read for public officials, designers, and anyone committed to equitable community development, this book asks important questions about urban revitalization, displacement, and whether market forces can be leveraged for the benefit of distressed communities." 
Terry Schwarz
Director, Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative