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How Can Baltimore Put Abandoned Factories Back Into Good Use?

Library of Congress

In the latter half of the last century, Baltimore lost roughly 100,000 manufacturing jobs. The factories shuttered, but the buildings remain, many of them clustered in desolate stretches of industrially zoned areas in Southwest Baltimore.

Like other former industrial cities along the East Coast, Baltimore is trying to figure out how to regain its manufacturing footing. The big factories may not return to their former use, but can other types of businesses blossom? And if so, what role can these shuttered factories play?

That’s a question that Andy Cook has been asking. As an Americorps VISTA volunteer, he’s working as an urban planner in the Baltimore City Department of Planning. He’s creating a database of former industrial buildings and sites across the city. So far, he’s noticed about half of them are in Southwest Baltimore. Along with the non-profits ‘Baltimore Heritage’ and ‘Housing Policy Watch,’ Cook is organizing a tour of a few sites in Southwest Baltimore next Friday. Andy Cook joins Sheilah in the studio.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.