'The Economist' looks at the challenging history and strengthening future of Hopkins and Baltimore

An article in the Sept. 3 print edition of The Economist explores the complicated history—and repairing relationship—between Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore City.

The renowned weekly examines university and government policies of the past that had contributed to a strained bond between Johns Hopkins and the community. "The university did not help [the relationship] by reneging on promises in the 1950s and 1960s to build new housing for the city," The Economist reports. "The university became an island and, until fairly recently, its students were advised not to go into certain neighbourhoods."

But under the leadership of university President Ronald J. Daniels, the ties between Baltimore and Johns Hopkins are on the mend. Reports The Economist:

The university has promised to increase its use of local and minority-owned construction businesses, to favour hiring local residents, especially those from distressed communities, and to use local vendors. It has encouraged more than two dozen other Baltimore companies, including BGE, a large regional utility, which already relies on local suppliers, to do the same. Tim Regan, the head of Whiting-Turner a large construction firm which signed up, says that Mr Daniels has tremendous power as a convener. In April the companies he recruited pledged $69m over three years, kick-starting what Bishop Miles calls "the most significant economic and jobs initiative in the life of the city".

Johns Hopkins is helping to finish a long-delayed development on 88 acres (36 hectares) near the hospital; it is also overhauling the curriculum at nearby schools to emphasise science, maths and engineering. In May the university began working with the city's health department to help provide glasses for school-age children. Extra screening is now done immediately, and children can pick their frames in a "vision van" parked outside their school. Johns Hopkins is not only a fund-raiser for the programme; it will also evaluate it, to make sure it is working as it should.

The university's Bloomberg School of Public Health works with the city's police department. Daniel Webster, who heads its work on guns, has a project that crunches data to help study and reduce violent crime. He and Kevin Davis, the new police chief ... are working together, getting officers to walk the beat and to focus on the worst offenders. The university is also helping to improve recruitment.

The periodical sums up the renewed commitments between the city and the university with one of Daniels' oft-repeated sayings: "So goes Baltimore, so goes Hopkins."

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