1 Apr 2020

An urban photo essay on capturing "accidental art" in Cleveland.

11 Nov 2017

 [CAPTION: Trick or Treating at neighborhood green space in Cleveland Heights]

In our Cleveland Heights neighborhoods, most of us live fairly close together.  And when we live close together, we will, for better or worse, be affected by the actions of our neighbors!

So in Cleveland Heights, it’s particularly important that our neighborhoods function as communal places, where neighbors communicate and socialize and work together to make the neighborhood a better place.  For people who choose to live on a secluded lot in, let’s say, Geauga County, this kind of “community” may not be as important or necessary a value.

Not every neighborhood is a community.  A neighborho...

10 May 2015

A city is very much like a living organism.  Cities are born, cities grow, cities age, cities become ill, cities heal, and cities regenerate.  Although cities rarely die, elements of a city often die, and they are sometimes reborn.

 

In the healthiest of cities, elements that become ill are quickly healed, and elements that decay and die are quickly replaced.  In less healthy cities, buildings and properties that become vacant often remain in a decayed condition for many years, like dead branches on an otherwise living tree.

 

For those of us who love cities, we love them not only for their pristine buildings and thriving neighborhoods, but we love them in their...

26 Feb 2015

Cleveland stood the city planning profession on its head forty years ago with publication of the Policy Planning Report by City Planning Director Norman Krumholz and his staff in 1975.  That plan placed “social policy” on its center stage, replacing the land use and infrastructure plans that had played the lead roles in city plans up until that time.

 

Cleveland’s new plan was unabashedly ideological in setting policies for Cleveland’s future.  In the words of the plan: “In a context of limited resources and pervasive inequalities, priority attention must be given to the task of promoting a wider range of choices for those who have few, if any, choices.”

 

Promo...

3 Jan 2015

 

Pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development – with housing or offices above streetside retail stores – was the norm in most communities during the first half of the 20th century.  People walked or biked or took the trolley for most local trips.  During the second half of the 20th century, however, automobile-oriented shopping centers and shopping malls became the norm for commercial development, particularly in suburban communities.

 

In recent years, these auto-oriented shopping centers and malls have lost much of their luster with customers as well as with community residents.  Despite the fact that these retail centers remain economically viable in many ca...

5 Dec 2014

A GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD!

 

Every day I walk my dog along tree-lined sidewalks, past closely-spaced houses with welcoming front porches that reach out toward the street.  Often my wife and I take a short two-block walk to one of several restaurants that are part of our neighborhood.  Once in a while we take a few-minute drive to the art museum, where we can have a meal in one of our favorite indoor spaces and then stroll through the current special exhibit.

 

I am lucky to live in what many people consider a “great neighborhood.”  It is the Coventry Village neighborhood in Cleveland Heights.  As a city planner, I decided that, after living here for the past 12 years,...

25 Oct 2014

Architecture and Memory

 

For nearly thirty years my home-away-from-home was Cleveland City Hall.  During my time with the City Planning Commission, I spent tens of thousands of hours walking the hallways, climbing the staircases and working in the spaces of this historic building.

 

Last year, after I had made the decision to retire from this job, my walks through City Hall began to take on new meaning for me.  I began to focus on the architectural details that I had been rushing by for years.  I began to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the place.

 

Although Cleveland City Hall is not unusually ornate for its time, it was built in an era (1911-1916) when de...

22 Sep 2014

THE PERSISTENCE OF POVERTY IN A “COMEBACK CITY”

 

Most people would agree that the city of Cleveland has been on the upswing in many visible ways in recent years.  Several city neighborhoods are now attracting well-educated young people who would not have considered “city living” ten years ago.  And many new businesses have followed those new residents into these neighborhoods.  At the same time, Cleveland’s downtown and University Circle districts are generating significant new development and thousands of new jobs.

 

Why is it, then, that the city of Cleveland remains among the very poorest big cities in America?  A new US Census Bureau report shows that C...

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