Baltimore has a history, like most colonized cities, that was erected at through the genocide of indigenous peoples. Baltimore was established as a result of white supremacy, colonialism, slavery, oppression, and exploitation. It is also a city rich with culture, art, diversity, ecological beauty, and deep communal ties. Many of us are guests in this space either because we were not born in or grew up in Baltimore. As a result, it is important for us to learn as much about this city, Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, and the communities that reside here. We must defer to the community and work to actively listen and learn from them as experts on their experience in the space Pigtown Climbs is calling “home.”
Southwest Baltimore is our organization's target community; the space that we are building will most directly impact the residents that live here. As defined by Southwest Partnership (SWP), Southwest Baltimore is comprised of seven neighborhoods: Pigtown, Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Roundhouse, Mount Clare, Poppleton, and Union Square. Pigtown Climbs works to prioritize our neighbors in programming, community engagement, and leadership opportunities to ensure that the community voice is captured from start to finish of this project.
Pigtown Climbs proposes to address health disparities and connectedness for black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in Southwest Baltimore (SWB) by providing green space for community- led climbs and health programming.
SWB occupies approximately 10.26 square miles and includes ten communities. The total population is 68,727; the vast majority (82.6%) of whom are BIPOC vs. 70% for the City. The built environment consists of 15.7% green space (vs. 33% for the City) and 30% pavement (vs. 25.5%). Vacant lot density is 1,249.3 (vs. 677.3) Source: 2017 SWB Profile. Moreover, life expectancy is 65 years of age vs. 72 for the City; likewise, age-adjusted mortality is 157 vs. 110; total annual years of potential life lost: 2,245 vs. 1,372; and avertable deaths: 57% vs. 36%. The top cause of death is heart disease: the rate is 42 vs. 28 (Source: 2011 SWB Health Profile).