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August 9, 2022

Baltimore: 29th best city to live in, Bloomberg says

By ANN CAVERS | October 4, 2012

In a recent study conducted by BusinessWeek, Baltimore was ranked among the 50 best cities in the United States for 2012. Based on data such as population size, educational attributes, economic status, crime rates, air quality and recreational activities, Baltimore was ranked 29th, roughly in the middle of the pack, with obvious cities such as New York, Boston and San Francisco, which took the number one spot, preceding it. Baltimore did not make the nation’s best city list by BusinessWeek in 2011, though the list was compiled using similar data.

“Baltimore misses the top 25 due to its high unemployment, 11.1 percent, and its crime rate, fourth worst on our list,” the BusinessWeek article said, explaining the ranking system. However, the article also mentions many redeeming qualities of Baltimore, such as a great geographic location, a beautiful waterfront and even Hopkins itself.

Some students were shocked at this ranking. “Are you kidding me? Baltimore should be lower on the list because of safety. But some places are nice,” freshman Kanami Mori, who grew up in the Baltimore area, said.

Nancy Ochieng, another freshman from Baltimore, said that the city should have placed lower on the list as well.

“The poverty level is too high, I think. I think it’s a great city, but you have to find the positive side of it,” Ochieng said.

Others thought that this ranking was justified. Among the United States’ fifty most populated cities, Baltimore was placed roughly in the middle. While Baltimore is a great city and unique in its own right, it may not compare to other grand cities in the nation, such as Chicago or Philadelphia, which both placed above Baltimore on the list.

Senior Irma Zhang compared San Francisco, which was ranked first in the BusinessWeek survey, to Baltimore.

“As a native, I’m really happy [that San Francisco is ranked number one],” Zhange said. “It’s a really nice place to be. There are so many things going on in San Francisco that you don’t see in places like New York. I grew up in an area that wasn’t that connected with the major cultural aspects of San Francisco, so I’m not why they were ranked as high, but I’m happy we were.

“Baltimore sucks compared to San Francisco. It took me years to get used to this place and if it weren’t for the fact that I’m getting used to it, I wouldn’t like it.”

As a smaller city, with a population according to BusinessWeek of 612,701, Baltimore does offer a quieter, smaller scale city which may be appealing to those who do not like the hectic atmosphere of bigger areas.

“I love it,” Patricia McGuiggan, a Baltimore resident, said. “It has a small town feel. Everyone is very connected.”

As students decide where they want to attend college, the atmosphere surrounding the campus can play a large role in their choice.

Student Arielle Kaden described the city as an important factor in her decision to attend Hopkins this fall.

“I thought it was an epicenter of culture. Baltimore seems to be a very active city that would have good opportunities for research and internships. I thought it would be fun,” Kaden said.

For other students, the city had a negative influence on their choice.

“I don’t think it should impact people negatively when they are deciding to come to Hopkins, but for some people yes, it would influence their decision,” Ochieng said.

Shelly Placek, the Communications Specialist in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Hopkins, and a self-described “lifelong Baltimorean,” thinks that the city has much to offer students.

“Baltimore is a great city, especially for college students — a lot of people don’t realize that there are more than 120,000 college students in the area, creating a ‘college town’ full of resources. Baltimore is big enough to offer job and internship opportunities and small enough that it maintains a quirky charm... There are so many music, visual art and performing art venues all around the city — many that are close to the Homewood campus — that our students can and do take advantage of,” Placek wrote in an email to The News-Letter.

Many Hopkins students consider returning to the city upon completing their education. “Many of the students we talk to have adopted Baltimore as their second homes and really appreciate all that it has to offer,” Placek wrote.

Student Brian Kong has taken an immediate liking to the city.

“Yes I would consider it. I think it’s a very culturally rich city with lots of interesting things to do. I feel completely at home here, even after just a short amount of time,” Kong replied, when asked whether he would consider living in Baltimore after graduating from Hopkins.

One worry for those who live in Baltimore is safety. McGuiggan said that whether or not one feels comfortable in the city depends on one’s background, but she also noted that crime is among one of the city’s main problems.

“My friends worried for my safety while I was in the city,” Lance Shen-Kinny, a freshman, said.

Kong has been pleasantly surprised regarding safety in the Baltimore.

“I had heard rumors that there is lots of crime here,” Kong said. “But once I arrived I was reassured that Baltimore was very safe.”

“Use your best judgment. Avoid traveling alone at night and take advantage of the services that Johns Hopkins offers, including escort vans and Blue Jay shuttles,” Placek wrote.

Hopkins students are lucky to be able to experience such a vibrant city during their college years. As Placek noted, there are various way for students to get involved in the city. Though students should be cautious as they venture out into Baltimore, they should also take advantage of all that it offers during their years at Hopkins.

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