Creative Alliance

What does Baltimore do right? A federal conference in town to study just that.

What does Baltimore do right? A federal conference in town to study just that.

When tour buses drive through Southeast Baltimore on Monday, loaded with dozens of government planners and business and nonprofit leaders, they’ll be looking out on a part of the city that is attempting something tough: a recovery from the death of the old, industrial economy.

While thousands once worked at the nearby Bethlehem Steel plant, now some 6,000 people earn a paycheck at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

From Boston Street’s Can Co., workers decades ago cranked out hundreds of tin cans a minute. Now, a $30 million transformation has turned the decrepit factory into offices and shops.

At McElderry Park, in place of a traffic median surrounded by ramshackle...

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