Building and Strengthening Neighborhoods and People

Strong City Presents Discussion Panel on Neighborhood Change

Neighborhoods are constantly changing. How does Baltimore’s history of redlining and segregation continue to affect housing patterns today? Is gentrification inevitable? And what are people doing to manage change in their communities?

These and other urgent questions will be on the table as Strong City Baltimore presents a panel discussion on “Investment, Disinvestment, and Neighborhood Change in Baltimore,” Saturday, November 2, at Brilliant Baltimore, the combined Light City/Baltimore Book Festival. The event will take place at 2 p.m. at Baltimore’s World Trade Center, 401 E. Pratt St.

“Strong City was founded in 1969, and from the beginning our goal was promoting neighborhood integration and stability in the face of rapid change,” says Strong City CEO Karen D. Stokes. “A half-century later, it’s clear we still need to have these conversations.”

This event is part of Strong City’s yearlong celebration of 50 years of building and strengthening neighborhoods and people in Baltimore. We have assembled a diverse panel of distinguished local writers, activists, and journalists for a forum on one of the most important issues facing our city.

Meet our panelists:

Marisela Gomez, M.D., a Baltimore-based community activist, public health professional, and physician scientist, is the author of the book Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore, published by Lexington Books. She received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and a Ph.D., M.D., and M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University. She spent 17 years as an activist/researcher or participant/observer in East Baltimore during and after training at the Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health. She is a co-founder and current care-taking council member for Village of Love and Resistance (VOLAR, a Black and Brown-owned collective organizing for community investment and land ownership in East Baltimore) and Baltimore and Beyond Mindfulness Community (BBMC).


Klaus Philipsen, AIA, is a Baltimore architect and author originally from Stuttgart, Germany. In his book Baltimore: Reinventing an Industrial Legacy City (Routledge, 2017), he connects his work as an architect, transportation planner, preservationist and smart-growth advocate to advance an urban agenda that will propel legacy cities such as Baltimore into the 21st century and the “age of cities.” Philipsen also writes frequently about urban issues in his “Community Architect Daily” blog. In 1992, he founded ArchPlan Inc., Philipsen Architects, a design firm with offices in downtown Baltimore that has received design awards and gained special recognition in rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, revitalization, and transit projects.


Elizabeth Nix, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of history at the University of Baltimore, where she chairs the Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies. She was part of the steering committee for the award-winning Baltimore ’68 public history project. With project organizers, she co-edited an anthology entitled Baltimore ’68: Riots and Rebirth in an American City (Temple University Press, 2011). She also co-wrote Introduction to Public History: Interpreting the Past, Engaging Audiences with collaborators in California and Indiana. Her work and interviews with her about Baltimore’s history have appeared in SlateTime, CNN, NPR, The Washington Post and The New York Times. This is her 25th year living in Baltimore City.


Lisa Snowden-McCray is the editor of Baltimore Beat, an independent news outlet in Baltimore City and fiscally sponsored project of Strong City Baltimore. Her work has appeared in outlets including The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Essence magazine, Baltimore City Paper, the Afro-American, Real News Network, Baltimore Brew, Baltimore Fishbowl, and Bmore Art.



The panel will be moderated by China Boak Terrell, CEO of American Communities Trust, where she is overseeing development of the Baltimore Food Hub and working with New Broadway East Community Association to secure the return of traditional business and retail to Broadway East, and to develop Last Mile Park, a one-mile urban ecological and public art trail. An alumna of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Minnesota Law School, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, she has served as a corporate lawyer; business developer; liaison and advisor to agency heads, elected officials, and corporate leadership team members; and General Counsel for the District of Columbia’s legislative committee on human services. She has led on issues of police legitimacy and tenants’ rights, and is published through Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies on the topic of supportive housing for the homeless.

The panel will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Inspire Stage (Top of the World) on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center. The event is free and open to the public, with no reservation required. More information about this and other Brilliant Baltimore events can be found here.