Publishers’ Note: The Warnock Foundation is a client of What Weekly’s sister company, What Works Studio. We are proud to work with The Warnock Foundation and share its commitment to Baltimore, its people, and cultivating the great ideas that will help our city reach its full potential.

Online poll asks those who work and live in Baltimore to rate city’s assets, obstacles, and future

Intriguing results from a recent survey – Baltimoreans have hope for the city’s future but have a lukewarm view of the Baltimore of today, according to new survey results released by the Warnock Foundation.

In its month-long Speak Up, Baltimore survey, the Warnock Foundation asked area residents to assess Baltimore’s assets, obstacles, and make determinations about the city’s future. “Baltimore is populated with resourceful, creative people who, over and over, expressed their gratitude for simply being asked what they thought,” said David Warnock. “However, Baltimore is still a city whose residents are more likely to identify with the Wire than the Ravens, at a rate of more than ten to one. The information we’ve gleaned in the last month will prove invaluable as we join together to fight the scourge of low expectations, which stands firmly in the way of Baltimore’s path to a better place.”

The survey is followed by the upcoming launch of the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal. The Warnock Foundation plans to assemble the best ideas about how to improve Baltimore offered during the survey, and others collected at the BSIJ website, into the first edition of this new publication. The best ideas will be awarded funding and other resources to bring these ideas to life. Anyone with a good idea about how to improve Baltimore can submit the idea at the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal submission page for a chance to get published and win funding.

Cynics might expect, only 16% of respondents to the survey think that Baltimore is one of America’s greatest cities. However, 66% of respondents believe we should aspire to be one of America’s greatest cities, and almost half think that Baltimore can be one of America’s greatest cities within five years.

Survey participants identified poverty, drugs and education as the top three obstacles facing Baltimore, and universities, the medical community, and geography as the top three assets.  When it comes to the single biggest asset and the single biggest obstacle – respondents listed “the people who live here” as the biggest asset, and “political leadership” as the biggest obstacle. The results aren’t surprising given the general discontent many citizens are feeling towards the leadership at all levels of American politics as of late.

On a lighter note, the survey asked, “How would you describe Baltimore in a way that captures the city’s personality?” The responses are a mix of pop culture references, dramatic obstacles, and the genuine affection respondents have for Baltimore. A word cloud of all the responses:

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“We are deeply grateful for the hundreds of people who shared their perspectives on Baltimore with us,” Warnock said. “It will guide our activities at the Warnock Foundation in the years ahead.”

A full description of the survey and analysis of the results can be downloaded here.

Photo by Joshua Davis Photography

Photo by Joshua Davis Photography

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Ezra is a handsome writer and comedian. He is a member of What Works Studio, which produces What Weekly.