EVERYWHERE WE TURN THOSE GLAMOROUS HOLLYWOOD AND MUSIC STARS ARE TELLING US-----WE ARE CITIZENS OF THE WORLD----NOT OF A SOVEREIGN NATION.
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'I don't think that cosmopolitanism has to be either elitist or unpatriotic; I think it's perfectly possible to combine a sense of real responsibility for other human beings as human beings with a deeper sense of commitment to a political community'.
OH, REALLY??? SO, THESE FEW DECADES OF CREATING EXTREME WEALTH AND POWER IS NOT YOUR DEFINITION OF COSMOPOLITAN?
I always hassle our local mainstream media reporters for being that 5% to the 1% ---telling them to MENTOR REAL CITIZEN JOURNALISM on the side after DOING WHAT THEY ARE TOLD. This is how they respond. Citizens can protect their jobs while also stepping out of that role to fuel some local media development. One thing these media reporters love to say when I shout to HOLD POWER ACCOUNTABLE----'that's what they are doing in California'. The far-right love that the most left-leaning social Democratic state of CA was taken far-right 1% Wall Street during the REAGAN/SCHWARTZNEGGER years and indeed CA is MOVING FORWARD as hard as they can to this ONE WORLD GLOBAL CORPORATE RULE. Hollywood is grand central in creating media selling this idea-----the stars come out to sell Wall Street candidates----and below we see the contribution to the global corporate neo-liberal reform -----the national charter change saying it all.
EVERYWHERE WE TURN THOSE GLAMOROUS HOLLYWOOD AND MUSIC STARS ARE TELLING US-----WE ARE CITIZENS OF THE WORLD----NOT OF A SOVEREIGN NATION.
Nations around the world have always had their largest cities known to be COSMOPOLITAN-----NYC and LA have been those cities in the US. Cosmopolitan in modern history never meant-------NO NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY------DEVELOPED NATIONS HAVING REAL ESTATE SET ASIDE TO OPERATE UNDER GLOBAL RULES. No doubt the rich in NYC and LA do what they want but the real estate and governance within those cities fell to US authority. In developing nations these several decades US corporations entered deals with third world leaders in exchange for wealth to do just that within THOSE DEVELOPING NATIONS---carve out real estate where foreign corporations like the US built global corporate campuses and global factories and were free to operate under their own rules inside those International Economic Zones. Some of Asia's more 'cosmopolitan' cities are inside these Foreign Economic Zones. The citizens are enslaved by a 1% and their 2% living that global life----with no rights as global citizens.
Now CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA want to bring that arrangement back to the US-----allow foreign corporations to come to our US cities to operate as they do in their own nations ignoring US governance and law----and doing so themselves BECAUSE multi-national corporations are the only corporations soon to exist in large part.
WE ARE NOT LUDDITES FOR REFUSING THIS DEFINITION OF CITIZEN OF THE WORLD.
Remember we discussed once left-leaning terms and journals now being bought and owned by 1% Wall Street now posing Marxist.....Here is our labor heroes------MOTHER JONES----
Who are global Wall Street pols waging all the empire-building wars for? These CITIZENS OF THE WORLD. Sure, all of that is civilized.
Cosmopolitanism: How To Be a Citizen of the World
A philosopher issues a call for a pragmatic, humane stance toward difference in a world of strangers.
Julian BrookesFeb. 23, 2006 4:00 AM MOTHER JONES
At a time when talk of a "clash of civilizations" looks increasingly like a self-fulfilling prophecy, when bin Laden-ites seek to reshape the world in the image of universal Islam, when our own leaders blithely hive off the good from the evil, us from them, Anthony Appiah issues a call for a more helpful posture toward a world of stubborn difference, an approach he calls, reaching back to the 4th Century Greece, "cosmopolitanism."
The cosmopolitan ethic starts from the thought that human knowledge is fallible—that no culture or individual has a lock on truth—and upholds "conversation," broadly defined as the respectful and candid exchange of views among individuals and cultures—as a good in its own right; agreement is not its ultimate goal. It understands individuals in the context of their cultures but tends, where the two clash, to give primacy to the former. What cosmopolitanism does not permit, however, is a kind of flaccid relativism; it insists that there are some universals—basic human rights, for instance—which are non-negotiable. Otherwise, it says, difference and disagreement are so much grist for mutually enriching dialogue.
Cosmopolitanism is a title in the "Issues of Our Time" series from W.W. Norton, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr., in which big-name intellectuals tackle important contemporary themes. (The series launched with, in addition to Appiah's, books by Amartya Sen and Alan Dershowitz.)
Kwame Anthony Appiah, who was raised in Ghana and educated in England, is professor of philosophy at Princeton University. His books include In My Father's House, Thinking It Through, and The Ethics of Identity. He's the editor, with Henry Louis Gates Jr., of Africana.
Mother Jones: "Cosmopolitan" is a word with a certain pedigree, a certain amount of baggage, so let's start by defining terms.
Kwame Anthony Appiah: Sure. The word comes from a Greek phrase, which means "citizen of the world." The first person we know to have used the word about himself was Diogenes the Cynic in the 4th Century BC. It was a metaphor then and still is. It's been attacked from both the left and the right. From the right, as you know, it was used as a term of anti-Semitic abuse, and their point was that people who had a sense of responsibility to the human community as a whole were going to be bad nationalists, bad patriots. The other direction of attack, from the left, was that cosmopolitanism was something very elitist. It came to mean a kind of free-floating attitude of the rich person who can afford to travel all over the world tasting a little bit of this culture and that one and not being very responsible about any of it.
I don't think that cosmopolitanism has to be either elitist or unpatriotic; I think it's perfectly possible to combine a sense of real responsibility for other human beings as human beings with a deeper sense of commitment to a political community. As far as I'm concerned, the key things in cosmopolitanism are, first, that global concern--the acceptance that we're all responsible for the human community, which is the fundamental idea of morality. What's distinctive about the cosmopolitan attitude is that it comes with a recognition that encounters with other people aren't about making them like us. Cosmopolitans accept and indeed like the fact that people live in different ways; that free human beings will choose to live in different ways and will choose to express themselves in different ways. And that openness to difference comes, I think, from a kind of toleration combined with a recognition of human fallibility. One of the reasons why we're glad there are people out there who aren't like us is that we're pretty certain that there are a lot of things we're wrong about.
MJ: So the goal isn't to have everybody agree.
KAA: Absolutely not. It's not evangelical. You enter a conversation, and conversation is about listening as well as talking; it's about being open to being changed yourself, but it's not about expecting consensus or seeking agreement. You can seek understanding without seeking agreement.
MJ: Sounds like a sort of relativism.
KAA: Well, there's a certain truth to the relativist view, which is that very often when people evaluate other people and other societies they haven't the slightest idea what they're talking about. You can't make a sensible evaluation of, say, the Turkish university regulation about the wearing of headscarves if you haven't the faintest idea of the historical context or the meaning of that practice. Blithely wading in and saying whatever you want to say about it without that knowledge is just silly, and it's wrong. If you're going to have a productive cross-cultural conversation, or, within a society, a cross-identity conversation, you've got to listen and understand what you're evaluating.
MJ: And not to seek to impose values on others.
KAA: Not at all. The world is full of people trying to make everybody else like themselves. Mormons, Catholics, Wahhabi Muslims. I happen to prefer them in this order: Catholicism, Mormonism, Wahhabism; but that's not important here. What's important is that they share a problem, which is that they're not open, in their standard forms, to the second element that cosmopolitanism depends upon, which is that it's okay for people to be different. Now, just to be clear, there are forms of Islam, for example, that are open to that form of cosmopolitanism. I'm not objecting to religion, because I don't think religion has to be universalist.
There are two strands to cosmpolitanism, and both are essential. The first is universalist: it says everybody matters. But they matter in their specificity, as who they are, not who you want them to be. The problem is that there are people going around who want to reshape the world, want to reshape everybody else, in their own image. That's dangerous. Some of them are more violent than others; some aren't violent at all. But none of them are cosmopolitan, and in that sense I'm against them.
MJ: But aren't there some things that we do want to universalize, right? Like basic human rights.
KAA: Yes, and the challenge is to identify those things. I would say the cosmopolitan view about that has to be that nobody can decide that by himself or herself; we have to engage in a global conversation in order to create instruments, like the human rights instruments of the United Nations, that are the product of a dialogue among nations and across civilizations. Now, we might disagree on what those things we want to universalize. I have no objection, for instance, to the Catholic claim to know what the universals are. They're entitled to their claim; what they're not entitled to do is impose these things without negotiation.
MJ: But, again, from the cosmopolitan point of view some things are not negotiable.
KAA:That's right, because cosmopolitanism starts from the core thought that everybody matters. Each person is entitled, in the context of his or her community, to seek a life of significance and dignity. Well, that sets a boundary on tolerance, because you can't tolerate those who actively prevent people from doing that. So cosmopolitans have to be hard-line about that; they can't be tolerant of people, say, who think that torture is just fine, or that it doesn't matter what a woman wants—if a male member of her family wants her to marry someone that's the way it's going to be.
You want to converse with anyone who's conversible. So the mere fact that somebody has an illiberal thought or idea isn't a reason for not talking to them. The liberal tradition is one in which even intolerant speech and thought is permitted until it crosses a boundary to intolerant or dangerous acts, or threatens to. At that point you have to take sides. And in many cases it's easy for me to know which side I'm on.
Now, of course there are going to be cases where we differ about whether a boundary is being crossed, but my view is that if you think the boundary is being crossed and you've made a serious effort to understand what the other person is doing then you're entitled to stop the conversation and start trying to get something done.
MJ: Okay, so let's apply this frame to the row over these Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
KAA: Well, I think that representing the prophet Mohammed in the way that they did is genuinely insulting, and it's not the sort of thing that a person who cared about cross-cultural communication would do. It's perfectly fine to say that of course people have the right to do this—of course they do—but they shouldn't be surprised if it upsets people. And the corollary is that the upset people have a right to express their upset—again, so long as it doesn't cross that boundary I mentioned.
On the other hand, carefully phrased criticisms of, say, the fact that women aren't allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, seem to me very much on the agenda. And I don't think we should be troubled by the fact that some people in Saudi Arabia will say, What business is it of yours? A deep part of cosmopolitanism is an engagement with making the world a place in which everybody has, as a baseline, the resources to live a life of dignity and significance. It seems to me perfectly fair to point out that that standard is not met in Saudi Arabia, not only in respect to gender but in respect to lots of things, as of course it isn't fully met in the United States.
If we have a cosmopolitan conversation one of the things that will come out of it is, for instance, how many Europeans find it morally astonishing that the United States tolerate the level of racial inequality that it does, and that our prisons fall way below what anyone in Europe would take to be appropriate human rights minimums. The fact that, in the United States, the attitudes of white people and black people toward these questions is so different suggests that there isn't an adequate conversation going on. If it's a conversation, that's part of what we should expect to hear, and I would have thought we would be enriched by it as it will make us think about things we need to think about.
MJ: How does the cosmopolitan balance regard for the individual with consideration for the community?
KAA: Well, the deeply liberal view—and this has been the project of much of my recent work—takes the central question of ethics to be the shaping of the social world in order to give each person the chance to make a life of significance to himself or herself. And it takes things like identities and nations as valuable to the extent that they contribute to that, but not as valuable in themselves.
MJ: In light of that, how should we think about identity politics, which put such a high value on membership of a group?
KAA: Well, there are limits to identity politics, of course. Identity can be an instrument of individuality, but when it's invoked to constrain or resist individuality it's usually bad. But you can't responsibly talk about identity politics without taking into account that it arose in response to genuine injustices, and that it was helpful, in the first instance, in response to those injustices, around gender, race, sexual orientation, religion. It's a way of coming together as a way to establish a sense of self-respect. So, there's a good side to it.
Also, when people on the right criticize identity politics they tend to forget that one of the most vigorous and effective forms of identity politics by far is nationalism, and many people on the right are nationalist. Now, I've nothing against nationalism as such; I think there's good nationalism and bad nationalism. But to object to the very idea of caring about identity as a political matter would rule our nationalism.
However, if you're a cosmopolitan you understand that it's important not to be captured by any one identity and not to feel that because you don' t have identity as a basis for communicating with other people that you shouldn't communicate with them. We have lots to share and gain from one another, whether we have exchanges based on shared identity or based on the fact that we have different identities. Another problem is that often identity politics looks like asking for symbolic acknowledgments when what's actually needed is readjustments of power and money. Turns out, it's relatively easy to get a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but much harder to abolish racial discrimination in employment.
MJ: You argue in the book that one of the standard criticisms of economic globalization--that it threatens the survival of "authentic" local culture—is misplaced, precisely because such a view implicitly sets a higher value on the group (the cultural community) than the individual.
KAA: Well, first of all, once you start out on the cosmopolitan exploration, one of the things that's bound to strike you is that among the most interesting civilizations that the planet has produced, hardly any have produced what's interesting about them by themselves. Think of the places we think of historically as great centers of civilization—Mogul India, Venice in the Renaissance, Greece in the 5th Century BC, London in the 19th Century—they all borrow; and this is what people do, they borrow, they exchange, that's how cultures work. Often when people talk about things that are supposedly "authentically" this or that—what could be more authentically Italian than spaghetti, say; except that the Chinese invented it. What could be more authentically American than jazz, which in fact comes out of a city that was black and Irish and Latin and French? You can go on all day. So the first thing to say about the apostles of purity is—what are they talking about?
Now, the people who make these arguments are responding to a genuine problem, which is that there are places where people who want to go on with certain practices are prevented from doing so by force. Tibet is a perfect contemporary example. A historical example is the eradication the traditional religions of Latin America by the Spanish. That's terrible. And yet, if everyone in Latin America had consented to become a Catholic, then who would be against it?
The other genuine problem is that there's often a kind of crowding out because the things some people would like to continue with become expensive relative to things from other places. The proportion of people in my home town in Ghana who still wear what we call a cloth, which is a sort of toga, has noticeably declined in my lifetime, and it's because t-shirts and shorts are cheaper. We're not a particularly poor place, so there are people who still wear the cloth, particularly on certain formal occasions, because they can afford it. If they stopped wearing it because they couldn't afford it, that would be very sad, because they wouldn't be able to do what they wanted to do, not—again—because the culture was changing. But even then, the solution isn't to force them to wear the cloth no matter what, but to change the world economy so that they can afford to wear it.
MJ: Isn't another problem that the global cultural exchange is lopsided—that the rest of the world gets American cultural products, but the US doesn't get much of anyone else's
Well, that's a problem for us—that's to say, we miss out. Remember, though, that, if you take the example of movies, while it's true that not many movies from elsewhere gain real traction in the United States, especially if they're not in English, nevertheless more movies from India, or Turkey, or Hong Kong are watched in much of Asia and Africa than are movies from Hollywood. Nigerian films--they call it "Nollywood"—are very big in West Africa. Because of new technology it's much cheaper than it used to be to make and distribute films. So there are lots of exciting things happening in the world that the United States is depriving itself of, and it does so at its own cost.
The cost to other people is that because of the great penetration of especially American culture, they have a little bit better sense of what we're like than they do of what we're like. That's a problem for them, because we're busy reshaping the world. And if you're doing that the very least you ought to do is know the contours of what you're reshaping, and we don't. It's also a problem for us, because they notice our lack of interest and they resent it, and that's the kind of attitude that, at the extreme, turns Osama bin Laden into somebody's hero.
MJ: You also argue in the book that when people complain about American-led globalization making the world "homogenous" they're overstating things.
KAA: Yes. The world is full of people consuming things we know nothing about here. And anyway, even if they were (God forbid) force-fed a diet of American television they'd interpret it in their own context. They literally wouldn't see what you see. There are famous studies—I mention two of them in my book—that show this. People tend to borrow the things they find useful and ignore the rest. They interpret and respond; they're not a wax on which you're imprinting an image. People even interpret plot in their own cultural context. There are these famous studies of the reception of the American television series Dallas in Israel and Palestine. They talk about a moment when a female character leaves her home and goes to stay with an older man. They saw her going back to her father. In fact he's her boyfriend, but in that world that would never be. They saw her doing what they would do in like circumstances. When you send a television series to Ghana or Mexico or South Africa you don't send a guy with it to interpret it; people interpret it for themselves.
From TV reality shows to gossip media we have these several years been hit with the phrase----OH, HE/SHE IS A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. They have no national ties and this is making they and their children better world citizens. I don't know about anyone else---but the NOVEAU EXTREME RICH with their global income are not the examples of world citizenship WE THE PEOPLE want. They are setting that stage where we do not see ourselves as Americans but as following these global 1% wanting to be just like them.
This is taken so far as to be in an underserved community in Baltimore talking to a black community leader who tells me----it's not about this one community---it's a global world now you know.
If these leaders inside a US city thinks taking the US to a third world societal structure will end well for the 5%----we need everyone researching what life looks like for the 99% in third world nations.
IF CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA ARE WINNING THIS PR CAMPAIGN IN US UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES SAYING ----TOO LATE WE ARE ONE WORLD COSMOPOLITAN NOW----WE WILL NOT REVERSE THESE POLICIES. REMIND ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS WHAT LIFE WILL LOOK LIKE IF THEY THINK OUR US CITIES ARE UNJUST.
These stars were of course designated the UN CITIZENS OF THE WORLD. Meanwhile citizens in these African nations are saying----STOP TAKING OUR CHILDREN.
'lah, I disagree...those kids (if they are raising them with values, and passion, and compassion) are going to be true citizens of the world'.
Are Brad and Angelina homeless?
Seriously, everytime I turn around I see photos of them in every country you can imagine. Where the hell do they actually live?
05/05/2008In our hearts.
05/05/2008Those are going to be some messed up kids.
05/05/2008lah, I disagree...those kids (if they are raising them with values, and passion, and compassion) are going to be true citizens of the world.
05/05/2008I appreciate your position [R3], but I stick by my position based upon the recent research that is being based down to us [workers in domestic courts/I get it because both my girlfriend and law partner are domestic attorneys] which is disavowing the implimentation of joint custody/week to week on the basis that a child who lacks continuity of education lacks necessary socialization, despite opportunities presented by the family. There is also a movement against home-schooling for the same reason.
No, I am not a fan of the Pitts. I think that they are both morons, actually. But, I appreciate their charitable work, even though I believe that they could achieve more if they finished a charitable project rather than hopscotching over the globe.
Anyway... I am rambling. Just my opinion.
05/05/2008No, they just bathe that way.
05/05/2008lah, I agree with you. I think those kids are going to have tough times. Although, it is nice they have each other, they are so isolated from any sort of normalcy and it is impossible for them to form any relationships outside their family because they aren't in any one place enough.
Even military families stay places for a few years before moving on, thus they do go to school and integrate in their community.
05/05/2008How many homes do they own? I know they have one home in New Orleans and another that's somewhere in Europe.
05/05/2008I know they attend the Lycee Francaise (or close to the spelling) that has branches all over the world. That's one reason they picked it and it has an excellent reputation. Also, they have likely arranged to have homework at projects to take along between schools since they continue to go to the same international school program. People with these kind of advantages are very different from people of lower SES that are itinerant.
Also, home schooling when properly done can be very advantageous. It can give kids a much better education that they would get in a local school in a poor neighborhood.
05/05/2008When Maddox had his birthday party, they had to invite their bodyguards children. He doesn't have any friends of his own.
The Lycee might be a great school, but how much of an advantage is it when you change your school every couple of weeks?
I agree with lah.
05/05/2008Exactly, [R9]. The point isn't that they continue with the same school franchise. Kids need stability and friends. They go for a few months at a time to a place. These kids have no friends, and I assume that's how that needy control-freak AJ likes it.
05/05/2008Normally I'd say they seem like great parents and then I heard about the decoy birthday party for Maddox that he wasn't allowed to attend. I can't wait for the tell-alls.
05/05/2008bourgeoisie fraus alert! When posters start getting huffy about "the children!' "the children" we're deep into frau normative territory.
Go back to Iowa bitches.
05/05/2008You know nothing [R8]. Maddox only attended Lycee Francais when he was in NY. We are bombarded by them constantly so it is always pointed out where the kids go to school. Maddox went to two other schools when they moved to LA and Austin, unrelated to the Lycee Francais. Notice no more pictures in his uniform after they left NY?
I completely agree with lah, those kids are going to be fucked up for many reasons.
When the American people especially right wing Republicans get mad about all those illegal aliens----global labor pool ----shouting at Obama----we know Foreign Economic Zones were designated by Congress at the end of Clinton/beginning of Bush and Bush was the one MOVING FORWARD with ONE WORLD. Obama simply super-sized this. As an academic I knew all this occurred around 2000----as this CNN video shows-----but no US media ever discussed this AT ALL. THAT IS WHAT WE CALL MEDIA CAPTURE. This is why BUSH/OBAMA felt free to just allow massive and systemic corporate and Wall Street fraud go wild....the designation of FEZ in the US was tied to this Clinton/Bush era open borders policies. It was not only a trade agreement just as TPP is not only a trade agreement----and terms like ONE WORLD---GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL RULE---were used but only in these international discussions. Our local and national media never mentioned a word through Bush/Obama.
This is when WE THE PEOPLE understand we have no journalism----no news media-----and certainly no left-leaning leaders.
Doesn't it seem these issues are more important than the issues pushed by Aspen or Roosevelt Institute ----home of Clinton/Obama 1% Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal policies? The 5% to the 1% of citizens working towards this these few decades have known to where this leads----from Erhlich/O'Malley/Hogan----to Dixon/Rawlings-Blake/ Pugh and the establishment Baltimore mayoral candidates----all Maryland pols have been MOVING FORWARD to install these ONE WORLD policies.
Lou Dobbs was a great journalist and we thank him for holding power accountable. CNN was sold to 1% Wall Street that will not allow these kinds of new reports in the future.
Please Google this video-----
NORTH AMERICAN UNION
baronderothchild CNN with Lou Dobbs
Uploaded on Aug 24, 2006george bush has already sold our country to big business...slavery begins shortly.
- Standard YouTube License
United We Fall: North American Union
The Unfeigned Witness 2.0 YOU TUBE
Published on Nov 23, 2015
United We Fall is a documentary about a North American Union that is being developed right now between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. For years this topic has been debated in the news and in political circles as being a possible future for North America. In recent years, the mood has shifted and a rift is developing between those who want a deeply integrated North American community, and those who wish to retain their national sovereignty. This film takes a look at both sides of the issue by interviewing insiders such as members of the ultra-secretive Bilderberg group, the Trilateral Commission and the Council On Foreign Relations and also journalists and activists such as Luke Rudkowski, Alex Jones and producer Dan Dicks who have been at the heart of this heated debate. The film also explores the global elite’s broader agenda for the formation of a One World Government. Will a North American Union be beneficial to you and your family, or will it be the downfall of three sovereign nations? You be the judge!!! United We Fall.
In Baltimore there are lots of citizens walking around---new to Baltimore and mostly young citizens saying----BALTIMORE WILL BE MADE COSMOPOLITAN to what has been largely a middle/working class city for a century and more. I will bet that almost NONE of those citizens know what COSMOPOLITAN means to the 1% Wall Street global rich and their pols. If one imagines two decades from today how city expanded around Owings Mill downward to Upper Park Heights-----then imagine a Towson expanding as described in this article-----and add the global corporate campuses and global factories that will take Greater Baltimore---and then allow them to grow together one can see the size of an International Economic Zone all controlled by the same global 1% and their 2% with no developed nation Rule of Law or rights as citizens. WE DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE.
'County Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who represents Towson, said he has been guided by Master Plan 2020 in many of the decisions he has made for the area'.
The New Towson: Emerging cosmopolitan hub or chaotic patchwork of developments?
By Jordan BranchTowson Times
A few nights later, the coach stood his ground against three football teams trying to use the field when he was scheduled to use it for soccer practice.
The Towson resident of nine years said the two instances last fall are symptomatic of the lack of recreational space in and around Towson as it undergoes transformational development.
Click on the pinpoint in the map above to learn more about a particular development.
A Baltimore business owner, Healy sees the new development as positive. He enjoys a beer at the Towson Tavern and a lively nightlife in downtown. He also appreciates the opportunity for his 15-year-old daughter and some of the other young soccer players he coaches to catch a movie at the new Cinemark theater at Towson Square.
With more than $1 billion in private investment in Towson's redevelopment since 2009 – which includes 2,700 completed and proposed townhomes and apartments — Healy is among many looking for the funding necessary to provide more open space in Towson to accommodate that growth.
In addition to the residential developments, a new fire station is under construction. Towson has also added to its office, entertainment and retail space Towson Commons, which features a L.A. Fitness; the $27 million renovation of Towson City Center, a 155,000 square-foot, 12-story commercial space; and a 4.2-acre entertainment center, Towson Square, which is anchored by a Cinemark movie theater.
"It doesn't mean that we think that the movie plex took over a space that could have (been) a baseball field," Healy said. "What we're saying is the funds that should be there to allow us to develop other green space in other parts of the community should be made available."
Towson officials and residents are split on the execution of the development prescribed in the Baltimore County government's Master Plan 2020, released in 2010, which includes a vision for the future of Towson as the urban center of the county. County officials and business leaders look forward to a revitalized Towson as a modern cosmopolitan community with a thriving economy, while many community members take issue with the density and speed of development, which they say is being approved without attention to traffic, infrastructural and open space needs.
Above: The Mews at Towson
County Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who represents Towson, said he has been guided by Master Plan 2020 in many of the decisions he has made for the area.
Del. Stephen Lafferty said that while much of the redevelopment has been positive, no one has taken a "comprehensive look at Towson's growth and how to accommodate that growth."
"I don't think Baltimore County is unique in that their failure to plan the cumulative impacts has a lot greater impact overall than what people expect. They do it project by project," said Lafferty, a Democrat whose district includes Towson. "If it gets to a level where it's too much, that's when the county ratchets back."
Klaus Philipsen, architect and president of ArchPlans, an urban design, planning and architecture firm in Baltimore, said transit, pedestrian mobility and open space, all of which have been part of the dialogue surrounding Towson's redevelopment, must be looked at when designing an urban core.
Philipsen, who also helps form master plans for nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and private owners, called Master Plan 2020 "loosey goosey." He said a comprehensive plan should layout specific guidelines that create a complete puzzle for new development to fit into a thriving urban area.
Philipsen, president of the land preservation group NeighborSpace, said the Urban Rural Demarcation Line, developed in 1967 to protect rural areas from dense development, has successfully kept part of the county rural but that within the boundary, development has been chaotic. As a result, 90 percent of Baltimore County residents live inside the URDL.
"Baltimore County was successful in restricting development outside the URDL, but inside, it's kind of a free for all," he said.
Towson under construction
The largest piece of the puzzle in Towson's redevelopment has been Towson Row, a $350 million, 1 million-square-foot project that would include 61,250 square feet of retail space, 226,000 square feet of office space, 374 apartments, a 170-room hotel, 900 beds of student housing, 1,586 parking spaces and a Whole Foods. The project's land, which is bounded by York Road, Towsontown Boulevard and Washington and Chesapeake avenues, has been cleared and its open space requirement waived.
The project's final hearing before the Planning Board is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Aug. 6 in the county's Jefferson Building, said Darryl Putty, a Baltimore County project manager.
Towson Row, which is being developed by Caves Valley Partners, is joined by a number of other projects in the works, including The Flats at 703, a 105-unit apartment complex on Washington Avenue; Southerly Square, with 175 apartments at 901 Southerly Road; and Towson Mews, with 34 townhomes, bounded by East Pennsylvania, Jefferson and Virginia avenues.
Completed projects include Towson Green Townhomes and The Winthrop, The Quarters, The Palisades and Towson Promenade apartment complexes.
Marks said he has also discussed with property owners the possibility of building an apartment complex above Towson Circle, where Barnes & Noble bookstore and Trader Joe's, among other shops, are located.
Above: The proposed Royal Farms at former Towson fire station site
The conversation on new developments has also included the controversial student housing complex 101 York, which Marks said recently withdrew its second planning proposal after the project grew to be larger than what was initially presented. The project's original proposal, which was never withdrawn, is still in the planning process. Also discussed was redevelopment of the old Towson fire station property that was purchased by Caves Valley Partners after it proposed a Royal Farms for the lot.
Open space at a premium
Mike Ertel, Greater Towson Council of Community Associations president, has lived in Towson for two decades. He said young families began moving to the area in the late 1990s and that that demographic has continued to grow.
To keep them here and attract more people, he said, amenities, such as community pools, fields and walking trails, need to be updated along with new developments.
"When you have a young family, they want to drive a 2013 Toyota minivan and what you're giving them is a 1992 Ford Escort wagon," Ertel said. "They don't want it. They want something newer, nicer, that's got the amenities in it."
The county's decision to waive Towson Row's open space requirement for a fee of $55,000 has many residents concerned that other projects on the planning department's agenda will receive the same treatment.
Below: Towson Row
Towson Recreation Council President Janine Schofield said developers should be charged fairly and apolitically to waive open space and that any change to the open space requirement should be retroactively applied to current developments.
"We'd like to use that money to rehab the fields that we have and explore options for acquiring more fields," Schofield said. "We are the ones who are directly affected by the development that's going up downtown, directly affected by the traffic and we're directly affected by the increase in population."
State Sen. Jim Brochin said that while well-thought-out redevelopment is positive, "packing everything into every square inch that's available is not the way to do it."
"It should be a quality-of-life issue," said Brochin, a Democrat whose district includes Towson. Towson Row "could be a beautiful project if it was scaled down, and it would be an amazing project if, right adjacent to it, there was a ball field or a soccer field," he said.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced in June that the county had purchased 2.5 acres of property off Aigburth Avenue to create a park in Towson. The county is also contributing $3.2 million to new turf fields at Towson High School and the Carver Center for Arts and Technology and to repurpose Patriot Plaza into a small, city park near the courthouse.
County Councilman Tom Quirk, a Democrat who represents Catonsville, is working to introduce a countywide revised open space bill that could increase the price developers might have to pay to waive this requirement.
But, Katie Pinheiro, executive director of The Greater Towson Committee, a nonprofit that supports investment to redevelop Towson for its community, said the county should be careful to increase open space fees for developers so it doesn't "chase them away."
Above: Site of the new Towson fire station
"We don't feel that developers — who are doing a great job in turning Towson into an urban atmosphere — need to be charged so much that it doesn't make sense for them to develop in Towson," she said.
David Schlachman, of DMS Development, which is proposing the 101 York student housing complex, did not return a phone call seeking comment. Arthur Adler, of Caves Valley Partners, which is developing Towson Row, said he did not wish to comment on the development for this story.
Towson resident and professional architect and planner Fred Hiser said, though he welcomes the private investment coming to Towson, its current infrastructure can't handle the development's mass.
He said this is evidenced by intersections with F ratings from the Department of Public Works. In 2011, the intersection at Burke Avenue and York Road, between Towson University and the location of the proposed 101 York, received an F rating that was upgraded to an E rating the next year.
"Anyone that lives in Towson or works in Towson that either tries to get home or leave in the evenings ... can sit through any number of traffic signal cycles," Hiser said.
To remedy some of the city's transportation needs, Marks has been working to get a Towson Circulator bus, similar to Baltimore City's, with the help of funding from Gov. Larry Hogan's administration.
"We don't have any more room to build highways in Towson," he said. "We have to do a better job with what we have."
But Kamenetz said Towson doesn't have a traffic problem and that discussions about a Circulator are premature.
"Most people who will live in downtown Towson will walk and those people who are arriving are beyond the radius of a Circulator so that doesn't fit into this core," Kamenetz said.
Though a circulator is necessary to provide mobility to Towson residents, Philipsen said, many people often get the traffic issue backward. Urban areas make for fewer drivers as people walk and take other forms of transportation, he said.
A widespread area of development creates more traffic than an urban core, he said. Philipsen said this explains why large urban areas like Manhattan have the same amount of traffic as Towson.
Above: Southerly Square
At the same time, county officials see a bright future for Towson. Marks said he envisions "a cosmopolitan community that reflects the best of college life and family amenities."
Kamenetz said he sees the future of Towson as being similar to that of Bethesda, in Montgomery County, but better.
About eight years ago storefronts were empty and the new development has boosted the city's economy, said Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce.
"We want more than anything more bodies living here in Towson, because the more people that live here, the more people support the business community, not just 9 to 5, but on Saturdays and Sundays, too," said Hafford, who is also an at-large member of the Baltimore County Planning Board.
Officials do listen to the communities when it comes to development plans, though someone is always going to be dissatisfied with the result, Hafford said.
"Baltimore County doesn't spoon feed everybody. There was a lot of input that went in for a long time," she said. "You can never make everybody happy whenever you make a change."
Kamenetz said he looks forward to a city with round-the-clock bustle.
"Towson traditionally has been a sleepy little town that goes to bed very early," Kamenetz said. "What we're trying to do is create a wonderful downtown experience, not only during the daytime but also at night."