The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law
Volume 6, Issue 1, September 2003
By Sally J. Scott, Ph.D.*
Much of the literature assumes fundamental differences between civil society in the developed world and in the developing world, and thereby discourages comparisons. In my experience, though, organizations operating in strikingly different countries and cultures can exhibit quite similar behavior. From 1994 to 1995, I conducted doctoral research on civil society in the Republic of Benin in West Africa. Now, as the program officer of a foundation that makes grants in and around Baltimore, Maryland (USA), I work with civil society organizations of all sizes and types, from statewide associations with hundreds of members and far-reaching agendas to neighborhood groups with a dozen members fighting to stabilize a few blocks in the city. I have found that certain types of organizations in Benin and Baltimore engage in nearly identical patterns of defensive and even destructive conflict.
The similarities, I believe, hold lessons that apply beyond Benin and Baltimore. Those of us who work to strengthen civil society ought to recognize that organizations can fall prey to animosity, ambition, and all the other vices that afflict individuals. In addition, we need to acknowledge some limitations. Neighborhoods and nations alike can benefit from a robust civil society, but it is not a panacea. Civil society cannot compensate for every shortcoming of government, business, or economy–and, in turn, such shortcomings can prevent civil society from reaching its full potential.
Before tackling a Benin-Baltimore comparison, it is necessary to address a theoretical issue. My own perspective is greatly informed by the field of anthropology, and some anthropologists question whether the concept of civil society even applies outside the West. In a comparative study of China and Taiwan, for example, Robert P. Weller writes, “I have studiously avoided the term ‘civil society’ while writing about many of its core issues. The term ‘civil society’ comes with a set of problematic theoretical assumptions and historical connotations, which have strong roots in a particular European philosophical tradition.”
I share Weller’s concerns but not his reluctance to use the phrase. In both the developed and the developing worlds, civil society has become a common if loosely defined term, with which scholars and activists explain and sometimes shape the world around them. Political theorists Sudipta Kaviraj and Sunil Khilnani offer a lucid reason: “with the arrival of European colonialism, the state became an undeniable, unavoidable part of the business of social living; and the institutional organization of the modern state invites a discourse in terms of a state/civil society distinction.” The idea of civil society takes root, they contend, wherever the state has established a firm but not overpowering presence. Today, that description applies to much of the world, the exceptions being places where the state has successfully eliminated non-state organizations and those where the state itself has virtually disintegrated.
My view is that we can usefully study and compare civil society in a range of contexts. Insights from the developing world should inform our analysis of civil society in the West, and vice versa. This requires acknowledging the Western roots and biases of the civil society concept, giving the term a reasonably clear working definition, and being careful to find valid bases for comparing different places.
A Brief Comparison
Over 5,000 miles apart, Benin and Baltimore are certainly different. The Republic of Benin, wedged between Togo to the west and Nigeria to the east, has a population of 6.8 million in a land area two-thirds the size of Portugal. This narrow slice of territory encompasses a complex mix of histories, ethnicities, and beliefs. The different peoples of Benin speak French, Fon, Yoruba, and dozens of other local languages; practice Christianity and Islam as well as indigenous religions; and support a wide range of political parties. The Beninese achieved independence from France in 1960 and struggled with faction- and coup-ridden democracy until 1973, when General Mathieu Kérékou instituted seventeen years of single-party Marxist rule. In 1990, in the midst of severe economic and political crises, Kérékou called a national conference of political, economic, religious, and social leaders, the forces vives (dynamic forces) of the nation. Remarkably, this conference resulted in a nonviolent transition back to democracy and capitalism. In 1991 Kérékou lost the presidency to Nicephore Soglo, a Western-trained economist. Kérékou regained power in the presidential elections of 1996 and was reelected in 2001.
The district of Sakété, where I conducted my dissertation research, consists of two urban sub-districts (which residents usually call Sakété Center and Sakété II) and four rural sub-districts (Aguidi, Ita-Djébou, Takon, and Yoko). In the mid-1990s, the district held approximately 70,000 people: 20,000 in the town center and 50,000 in the 45 smaller towns and villages of the other sub-districts. In the older neighborhoods of Sakété Center, mud and cement houses sit tightly packed along dirt roads that often are eroded by pounding tropical rains. As one travels out of the district center, the distance between houses becomes greater, and houses are often bordered by fruit trees, gardens, or field crops.
About three-quarters of Sakété residents earn their living from farming. The main crops are corn, cassava (an edible root), sweet potato, and beans. Smaller, more industrially oriented crops include peanuts, cotton, cocoa, coffee, and palm oil. Along the stream valleys, farmers grow tomatoes, peppers, onions, other market vegetables, and fruit. Some other residents repair automobiles or manufacture and repair sewing machines, often in one-room shops. Still others earn their living from trade, large and small. A high percentage of traders are women, who sell legally purchased goods as well as contraband items smuggled over the highly porous border with Nigeria. Individuals who leave Sakété to pursue post-secondary education and higher-paying jobs elsewhere rarely return.
For its part, Baltimore is a post-industrial American city of 651,154 people, down from close to a million in 1950. Residents have left for other regions and for the greener pastures of suburbia that surround the city. The five-county metropolitan area now holds 2.5 million people. Unlike Sakété, Baltimore has very few people who make their living from agriculture. Many city residents earn solid to substantial incomes in the city’s health, legal, financial, and business sectors, but some find it difficult to make a living at all. Since 1950 Baltimore has lost jobs in every major industry–including manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, finance, insurance, and real estate–except services. As the city’s population has fallen, many neighborhoods have slipped into decline. Over 14 percent of Baltimore’s houses are vacant, primarily in lower-income neighborhoods, where they fuel crime and discourage investment. Between 1998 and 2001, a time of rapidly increasing real-estate values in many American cities, houses in over half of Baltimore’s neighborhoods either fell in absolute terms or did not keep pace with inflation. These falling values help explain why Baltimore’s tax base is diminishing and, in turn, why the city government has difficulty providing adequate services to residents.
Defining Civil Society
In three respects, I believe that common (though hardly universal) assumptions behind the concept of civil society are inadequate.
First, advocates often depict civil society as wholly positive, even flawless. For example, a 1998 article asserts that civil society organizations increase citizens’ participation in the policy-making process, enhance the state’s accountability to its citizenry, and provide civic education in democratic politics. This describes an ideal–an ideal that since 1989 has helped motivate hundreds of millions of dollars in international grants to civil society organizations in less-developed countries, with mixed results. Many organizations live up to the ideal, but should those that fall short be excluded from the civil society category?
Second, those who idealize civil society often talk about citizen engagement without mentioning citizen conflict. Yet conflict–over resources, laws, policies, influence–is central to the plurality of interests at the heart of civil society. For this reason, fundamentalist societies that believe in a single source of truth, such as the Soviet Union under Stalin or Iran under the Ayatollah Khomeini, are much less tolerant of civil society (though they may be unable to prevent it from bubbling up) than societies that welcome plural points of view.
Third, from Tocqueville onward, Westerners have generally placed individualism at the heart of civil society. Ernest Gellner, for example, describes the building block of civil society as “modular man,” an individual who is autonomous yet willing and able to associate. Like a piece of mix-and-match furniture, modular man associates with other citizens in a variety of voluntary organizations, depending on his beliefs and interests.
In much of the world, however, individuals do not consider themselves modular. They regard their identities as members of particular communities (determined by family, religion, ethnicity, caste, race, or something else) as fundamental, not choices easily made and unmade. For example, in Sakété Center, Muslims, Christians, and worshippers of local gods live together, and Muslims and Christians often sacrifice to local gods when facing particularly vexing problems. Yet this openness to different practices does not mean that individuals are modular and can easily exchange one faith for another. Religion, like family and ethnicity, embeds the individual in a web of social connections and cultural meanings that can be severed only at significant cost.
If individuals in non-Western societies tend to be more embedded than modular, how do we fashion a definition of civil society that works transnationally? Some have argued that civil society consists of all forms of non-state organization other than the family, but I do not share this highly inclusive view. It includes within civil society many social forms that are essentially private, and thereby fails to distinguish civil society from society.
The “civil” aspect of civil society must limit the category to those networks, movements, and organizations that have a public dimension. In my view, civil society is essentially amphibious: private in origins but public in focus. Civil society groups represent private interests by employing nonviolent public means–such as association, education, and demonstration–to influence policy and polity, whether at the neighborhood, city, regional, state, or national level. The interests pursued can be individualistic, or they can be oriented toward religion, race, or other social groupings.
In this way, civil society leads to both integration and conflict: “Private organizations provide … individuals with an opportunity to build meaning and connection in their lives. When those emotions and relationships enter the public arena, to influence the broader polity, [they] can be a powerful force for change, but also for division.”
Neighborhood Associations in Baltimore
In both Benin and Baltimore, my experience is with relatively small-scale, geographically focused organizations that attempt to broker between their neighborhood or district and powerful outside forces, particularly government agencies and funding organizations. In Baltimore, I did not conduct rigorous research. My observations stem from thirteen years of experience as a volunteer with neighborhood organizations– among the most common and accessible forms of civil society in an urban American setting–and five years as a foundation program officer focusing on neighborhood revitalization. I should stress that the majority of Baltimore organizations with which I volunteer or work do not resemble the associations described below.
Many neighborhood associations in Baltimore date back to the 1960s and 1970s. Some are products of the mid-1960s Great Society efforts to empower residents to improve their neighborhoods. Others arose during the administration of Mayor William Donald Schaefer (1971-1986), who emphasized city partnerships with community-based organizations. The basic structure of a Baltimore neighborhood association, with or without formal bylaws, is straightforward. Interested individuals assemble, christen themselves the neighborhood association, and elect a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The officers and members of the association meet on a regular basis and work to help the neighborhood, in partnership with residents, local businesses, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and philanthropies. The associations usually emphasize improving city services, particularly trash collection and police coverage. They sometimes organize events and festivals and make neighborhood residents aware of programs and services. If an organization has formal bylaws and heeds them, the secretary keeps minutes of the meetings, the treasurer accounts for funds under the organization’s control, and all officers stand for election on a regular basis.
Certain neighborhood associations, however, have little structure beyond that created by the organization’s president. Meetings take place at the president’s house and are attended only by his or her allies. The president becomes known both within and outside the community as the “leader” of the neighborhood. Often he or she remains president of the neighborhood association for a very long time, until ill health forces retirement or another resident amasses sufficient support to mount a successful challenge. Baltimore has many neighborhood organizations, and the prevalence of this style of leadership among them is difficult to determine, though more systematic study is under way as part of the Vital Signs for Baltimore Neighborhoods project.
Certain behaviors characterize a distinct subset of Baltimore neighborhood associations, whether governed by officers and bylaws or by charismatic leaders who make the rules. First is the tendency to complain ceaselessly about the problems of the area. I used to attend well-run association meetings in a particular neighborhood, and over a period of ten years I regularly heard the same people making the same complaints about trash being dumped in alleys. They had not discovered how to solve the problem, but they valued coming to meetings and talking about the issue. Sometimes they spoke of a past in which this problem did not exist. In a city with a declining population and tax base but the same number of neighborhoods to serve, the quality of services has indeed declined over time; the city is less able to battle trash, rats, and crime. Residents whose quality of life has slipped, sometimes dramatically, but who feel unable to influence the general drift toward decline, often adopt a frustrated, complaining stance that focuses exclusively on what is wrong with the neighborhood.
A second characteristic of many neighborhood associations is a deep suspicion of individuals and organizations perceived as holding influence over the neighborhood’s fate, particularly landlords, government agencies, real-estate developers, and even other neighborhood organizations. For example, a small neighborhood in East Baltimore acquired funding to hire a young local resident as an organizer. When he tried to collaborate with an elderly woman who had long been president of a nearby neighborhood association, she either evaded his efforts to contact her or directly challenged his initiatives. Judging from his account, she saw his efforts as a threat to her role of broker between that part of Baltimore and the city government, which had previously funded the construction of new housing in her area. In a different part of the city, a neighborhood association has greeted virtually every building project proposed by local nonprofit or private developers with loud, angry, sustained rejection. When well-meaning newcomers attend the association’s meetings, they find a single-minded focus on battling any development projects proposed in or around the neighborhood.
To reiterate, most neighborhood associations in Baltimore are not characterized by chronic complaining or by deep suspicion of influential outsiders. As I will describe below, a strong city-wide effort, primarily funded by local philanthropies, is now working to build “healthy neighborhoods” by focusing residents’ energy on improving a neighborhood’s assets, not just addressing its deficits. Still, the city’s sustained and significant losses of people and investment have eroded local government services as well as social bonds. A persistent negativism permeates certain neighborhood associations.
Why? Civil society may have private roots, but it never exists apart from its public context. Though a limited number of neighborhoods may benefit from philanthropically funded revitalization, private giving cannot substitute for a well-funded, well-motivated, and well-staffed local government. As civil society organizations that represent residents to an overstrained city government, certain neighborhood associations become narrow, angry complaint groups, unable to restore the neighborhood to its former glory but unwilling to give up the meager influence they have amassed.
Development and Youth Associations in Southeast Benin
In the district of Sakété, the 1990 renewal of democracy in Benin led to the creation of two civil society organizations: ADESS, the district development association, and AJSS, the district youth association. Each was descended from similar organizations that had existed before the Kérékou regime disbanded organizations independent of the Communist Party in the 1970s.
ADESS was created by prominent residents of Sakété working with Sakétéans living in Cotonou (the de facto capital of Benin) and Porto Novo (the de jure capital). Professionals in the Cotonou delegation led the preparations by writing fact-filled background papers on topics they considered essential to promoting local development: laws, district economy and infrastructure, and health and social affairs, as well as education, culture, and the environment. At the founding congress, residents from Sakété Center and all the sub-districts participated, as did Sakétéans from other cities in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, and France. They elected as president a wealthy and well-educated engineer who had been living in Cote d’Ivoire and commuting back to Sakété. Born in Sakété, he had attended local schools before receiving his engineering training in France. He had worked for the government of Cote d’Ivoire for twenty years.
The other organization, AJSS, was founded principally by a local high school teacher respected for his knowledge and his oratorical skills. Frustrated by their inability to influence ADESS, which was led by members of the next-older generation, he and other younger men created AJSS and described its mission as improving the lives of young people in the district. They worked to restore a colonial-era youth center as well as soccer fields that had fallen into disrepair, and raised funds to improve a central road through the town. They had few links to youth organizations outside of Sakété Center. Behind the scenes, at least initially, a wealthy older Sakétéan living in Senegal provided financial support and political advice to AJSS leaders. His support helped AJSS challenge ADESS, which after an initial burst of activity in 1991-92 had trouble raising funds to pursue projects in the district.
When I reached Sakété in August 1994, the initial momentum of both ADESS and AJSS had faded, and the leaders of the two organizations were deriding each other. Sakété as a whole was not prospering at the time. A few entrepreneurs were making money from the more open economic policies instituted after the 1990 return to democracy, but farmers and small merchants were struggling. Many people continued to leave the district to search for work elsewhere. For instance, I lived in a new concrete house whose owner worked for a Belgian tire company in Gabon and returned to Sakété only for brief vacations.
With the approach of national parliamentary elections in March 1995, the rivalry between ADESS and AJSS grew more intense. The president of ADESS, who had moved back to Sakété in 1994, announced that he was seeking a seat in the national legislature as a candidate of a party prominent in southern Benin. He remained as head of the purportedly apolitical ADESS and postponed the organization’s annual meeting until after the election. At the same time, the leader of the rival organization, AJSS, led the local campaign for a political party based in northern Benin that was linked to the minister of agriculture, who was a close friend of AJSS’s main financial and political backer. As the political contest heated up, both organizations were distracted from their initial missions. Associational activity ground to a halt, and the leaders of the two organizations accused each other of various misdeeds. It was an example of what residents call politique politicienne–politics for its own sake, lacking a clear purpose or tangible accomplishments, and motivated by pursuit of individual advancement rather than pursuit of the public interest.
Though tense, election day was nonviolent–not a sure thing, given the rivalries at play among the different political parties. A day or so later we learned that the president of ADESS had been elected to the national legislature. The leader of AJSS and his allies were sorely disappointed that the party they had promoted had won few votes outside of Sakété Center.
Baltimore and Benin differ in enormous ways, but I found that their manifestations of civil society shared certain characteristics. These similarities do not encompass all civil society organizations in either place, only a subset of neighborhood associations in Baltimore and the particular associations I studied in Benin.
To begin with, the organizations’ leaders failed to establish strong links to the broader community. In Sakété, the congresses that launched ADESS and AJSS attracted a wide range of residents, but once the officers were elected and the congress was over, the leaders undertook little structured communication with other residents. This lack of interest in maintaining regular contact flowed both ways. Its leaders described ADESS as the “mother association” for the district, but when they tried to hold meetings with their associational “children,” the sub-district leaders often failed to show up. I was told that these sub-district leaders did not see how ADESS would serve their interests. And while the officers of AJSS complained that ADESS ignored them, AJSS failed to maintain consistent contact with other groups of young people in the district. Only when gearing up for the legislative elections did AJSS leaders regularly reach out to residents, and then in the context of seeking votes.
In Baltimore, the complaint-oriented neighborhood associations were formed, like ADESS and AJSS, to assemble representatives of the broader community to address local problems. But over time the number of people involved diminished, until the active membership amounted to only a small band of officers or a leader backed by a few allies. Other civil society organizations, governments, and philanthropies reinforced this dynamic when they considered one person “the leader” of the community and channeled all dealings with the community through him or her.
In a related characteristic, the organizations in Benin and Baltimore tended to engage in the kinds of conflict that lead to paralysis, not action. Benin, a resource-poor former colony still influenced by French norms and statutes, has great cultural and religious diversity and a centralized legal-political system. Baltimore, racially diverse and struggling to regain population and investment in an increasingly suburbanized America, operates within a relatively decentralized legal-political system but depends heavily on federal and state funding for basic services. In both countries, civil society organizations routinely square off against each other and against the government to pursue their own interests.
Conflict may be inevitable, but, for the particular set of organizations I have described, it often leads to paralysis. In Baltimore, certain neighborhood associations have battled with city government for years over crime and grime, winning such temporary victories as one-day clean-ups or one-night vigils, but rarely catalyzing long-term engagement with outside partners or producing tangible improvements. In Benin, political ambitions and rivalries overwhelmed associational goals. I have described the Sakété organizations in detail, but this phenomenon is not limited to southeast Benin. One African observer writes of civil society organizations: “In numerous instances they have withered or changed character as key leaders have taken posts in the new post-authoritarian governments or plunged into party politics.” One explanation is that African civil society remains relatively weak. As a result, dynamic leaders interested in wielding power and resources are drawn back into the state’s orbit.
Despite negative economic trends and political conflict, some civil society organizations in both Baltimore and Benin avoid paralyzing or destructive patterns and achieve some limited success in revitalizing their communities. A current example in Baltimore is the Mayor’s Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative, an approach borrowed from another, much smaller declining postindustrial city, Battle Creek, Michigan. The Healthy Neighborhoods approach regards depopulation and disinvestment as linked to weak housing markets and the losses of connection and confidence among residents. In response, the initiative seeks two basic outcomes: increasing housing values and reconnecting neighborhood residents. To avoid the negative dynamics I described earlier, neighborhood meetings do not focus on crime and grime; organizers maintain that a negative focus will not help the housing market or the social fabric. Neighborhood organizations offer low-interest loans for home purchase and home improvement, identify and market the neighborhood’s assets, and organize block parties and other events to restore connections among residents. On a handful of target blocks in the initiative’s pilot neighborhoods, nearly $2 million in loans have closed in just two years, and over $4 million more in loans are in the pipeline. Residents’ attitudes, particularly on the target blocks, seem to have become less angry and more confident.
While I did not observe a parallel example in Benin, I did meet students from northern Benin attending the national university in Cotonou, a southern city, whose living expenses were being covered by their district development associations. They told me that the development associations in northern Benin were more effective in maintaining cohesion and promoting local interests than those in the middle and southern regions of the country. It would require more detailed research to determine if this is true, and, if so, why.
The civil society organizations described here operated in local environments of economic stagnation or decline. Despite high rates of economic growth in the United States throughout the 1990s, Baltimore continued to suffer from the flight of population and investment to the suburbs, while the return of democracy and capitalism to Benin brought growth to certain areas and industries but not to the many farmers and small merchants of Sakété. This is not an argument for economic determinism; some organizations managed to thrive despite the local economy. Rather, it is an argument against the widespread notion that civil society organizations routinely can find a way around, or compensate for, poor governments and poor economies.
Americans seeking to strengthen democracy at home and to export democracy abroad often harbor unrealistic expectations for civil society organizations–that somehow those groups will overcome decades of suburban flight or brutal tyranny or religious conflict and knit a fractured society together. There are remarkable civil society organizations in poor and troubled places, including America’s inner cities, but they are part of larger social, political, and economic fabrics. Whether we seek to help neighborhoods, regions, or whole countries, we must be patient and avoid assuming that any one sector can solve deep-rooted problems. Effective solutions to widespread decline, where they exist, must engage government and business as well as civil society.
* Sally Scott is a program officer at the Goldseker Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland (USA), and an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Copyright 2003 by Sally J. Scott.
 Sally J. Scott, Not a Circle but a Spring: A Case Study of Civil Society in the Republic of Benin, Ph.D. diss., March 2001, Johns Hopkins University.
 I work for the Goldseker Foundation (https://www.goldsekerfoundation.org), which makes grants only to organizations working in the Baltimore metropolitan area, and focuses its grantmaking and technical assistance on community development, regional initiatives, and nonprofit sector development.
 Robert P. Weller, Alternate Civilities: Democracy and Culture in China and Taiwan (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999) p.14.
 Sudipta Kaviraj and Sunil Khilnani, “Introduction: ideas of civil society” in Civil Society: History and Possibilities (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001) p.4.
 Association Pour le Développement de la Sous-Préfecture de Sakété, ADESS-AJOBI, Document du Congrès Constitutif. Sakété (November 8-10, 1991) p.19. (All population figures are rough estimates.)
 ADESS-AJOBI, Document du Congrès Constitutif. Sakété (November 8-10, 1991) pp.20-21.
 Unless otherwise indicated, demographic and housing information for Baltimore City is from the United States 2000 Census, as presented in Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, Vital Signs for Baltimore Neighborhoods (2002). For additional data on Baltimore’s neighborhoods, see www.bnia.org.
 Job Opportunities Task Force, “Baltimore’s Choice: Workers and Jobs for a Thriving Economy” (2002) p.8. For additional information on employment and workforce issues in Baltimore, see www.jotf.org.
 Paul C. Brophy and Kim Burnett, “Building a New Framework for Community Development in Weak Market Cities” (April 2003) p.8. Prepared for the Community Development Partnership Network.
 Harry Blair, “Civil Society and Building Democracy: Lessons from International Donor Experience” pp.65-80 in Bernard, Helmlich and Lehning, (eds) Civil Society and International Development. North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1998.
 For an excellent discussion of international efforts to support transitions to democracy by funding civil society organizations, see Marina Ottaway and Thomas Carothers, “Toward Civil Society Realism” pp.293-310 in Ottaway and Carothers (eds) Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion. Washington, D.C., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2000.
 With the significant exception of Marxist scholarship, which views civil society as determined by economic relations of production.
 Ernest Gellner, Conditions of Liberty. Hamish Hamilton, 1992.
 Scott, Not a Circle but a Spring, p.41.
 In particular, the overwhelming majority of the organizations with which I have worked during my years at the Goldseker Foundation accomplish a great deal on lean budgets thanks to the skill and dedication of their remarkable staffs. I have great respect for their work.
 The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) sponsored a statistical survey of neighborhood associations.
 ADESS is l’Association pour le Développement de la Sous-Préfecture de Sakété; and AJSS is l’Association pour la Jeunesse de las Souspréfecture de Sakété.
 Association pour le Développement de la Sous-Préfecture de Sakété, A.DE.SS-ADJOBI, Document du Congrès Constitutif. Sakété (November 8-11, 1991).
 E. Gyimah-Boadi, “Civil Society in Africa: the good, the bad, the ugly” in Civnet Journal (May 1997, Vol.1, No.1).
 For an explanation of the Healthy Neighborhoods approach, see David Boehlke, Great Neighborhoods Great City (2001) at www.goldsekerfoundation.org. In the interests of full disclosure, I helped edit this publication and have served on the Baltimore Healthy Neighborhoods advisory board.