HOW IMPORTANT IS URBAN GEOGRAPHY?
A small "Crime Brief" in last Thursday's Sun describes a typical senseless shooting on the streets of Baltimore: "Butchers Hill man fatally shot near home Wednesday". Except technically, the man did not live, nor was he shot, in Butchers Hill. But I live in Butchers Hill so the story really stuck out for me.
Real estate agents often exaggerate boundaries of more popular neighborhoods to catch people's attention, so it seems plausible that a newspaper might do that too. Several of my neighbors caught the error and notified the Sun, which soon corrected the online version of the story, although this time they omitted the neighborhood from the headline. Seems that Middle East doesn't sell as well as Butchers Hill.
So what's in a neighborhood boundary? If it's the waterfront, the answer is fairly obvious, but any urban street can be imbued with perceptions that can change property values, racial composition and feelings of safety that become no less real. The street of the shooting, North Collington Avenue, is a classic case in point.