"Everything that looks good ain't good!": Perspectives on urban redevelopment among persons with a history of injection drug use in Baltimore, Maryland

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Background: While urban redevelopment is intended to ameliorate urban decay, some studies demonstrate that it can negatively impact some residents. Few studies have considered its impact on persons with a history of drug use. Methods: A convenience sample of 25 current or former injection drug users from Baltimore, Maryland, enrolled in the AIDS Linked to the Intravenous Experience study, and reporting residence in or bordering a redeveloping neighborhood participated in 1-2 semi-structured in-depth interviews from July, 2011 to February, 2012. Interviews explored personal experiences with redevelopment and perceptions of community-wide impact. Data were analyzed using the constant comparison method. Results: Respondents rarely described urban redevelopment as solely negative or positive. Revitalization and increased security in the redeveloping area were reported as positive consequences. Negative consequences included the lack of redevelopment-related employment opportunities, disruption of social ties, and housing instability among relocated residents. Respondents also said that urban redevelopment led to the displacement of drug markets to adjacent neighborhoods and outlying counties. Residential relocation and displacement of drug markets were reported as beneficial for persons in contemplative and later stages of recovery. Conclusion: These findings support a holistic approach to urban redevelopment that increases access to employment opportunities and affordable housing, and ensures equitable coverage of public services such as law enforcement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-613
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013



  • Drug markets
  • Substance use
  • Urban planning
  • Urban redevelopment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine(all)

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