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urban design News Archive

Placemaking in Legacy Cities, a report prepared for the Center for Community Progress, uses case studies in four cities to illustrate placemaking's potential in older industrial centers. The report explores how Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Pittsburgh have employed placemaking strategies in four different settings: downtowns, anchor districts, neighborhoods, and corridors.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency awarded $998,000 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants. Of the 29 planning studies submitted for consideration, NOACA selected 13 for funding, including nine in Cuyahoga County. The largest award, $118,000, went to support the Eastside Greenway initiative. Other awards went to studies in Collinwood/Euclid, Parma Heights, and Rocky River. NOACA staff also will provide technical assistance for six transportation studies in five Cuyahoga County cities.

Mayor DeGeeter of Parma established a 15-member Town Center Task Force. The group is charged with developing recommendations (PDF) for the area around the intersection of Ridge Road and West Ridgewood Drive. Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Executive Director Glenn Coyne is serving as its facilitator.

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced that they would work together to implement plans for downtown Cleveland development. The $350 million investment includes a 600-to-700-room hotel on the site of the County Administration Building at Lakeside Avenue and Ontario Street. The $260 million hotel would be attached to the new convention center. The action plan also includes implementation of plans for Public Square and the Malls, plus the construction of a lakefront connector bridge and a parking garage.

Seventeen architecture firms responded to Cuyahoga County's request for qualifications, and a committee recommended that Cooper Carry of Atlanta should design the hotel. Representatives of the firm were in Cleveland on August 8, where they gathered input from residents at a public forum.

Steven Litt said that "Cleveland finally seems to be getting the message" about the importance of vital public spaces, and said that the City should establish a set of urban design guidelines to preserve and enhance downtown views. He also said that the hotel represents "one of the most important design challenges in Cleveland in many years." In Crain's Cleveland Business, Jay Miller said that the partnership's success "will depend on continuing cooperation between city and county government," Stan Bullard compiled reactions from hotel operators, and Brian Tucker said that the new hotel must be more than "another lifeless rectangular box in our skyline." A Plain Dealer editorial praised the plans, while Roldo Bartimole denounced them.

Some transportation advocates disagree about the City of Cleveland's plans for making West 65th Street a complete street. At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz advocated for including bike lanes in the project.

NOACA conducted an evaluation of its Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) program (PDF). The report examined the program's accomplishments and shortcomings, and made recommendations for improving its effectiveness.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt drew connections between a series of seemingly-unrelated headlines to outline the "compelling overall narrative" of Northeast Ohio as a region "at odds with itself as it tries to figure out how to meet the 21st century."

The latest draft of Public Square redesign concept aims to unify the square. It calls for closing the section of Ontario Street that currently bisects the square, adding trees and grass, and creating new attractions. Landscape architect James Corner's Field Operations will continue to refine the plans. A Plain Dealer editorial supports the ideas, and Channel 5's Leon Bibb said he's "a fan of the proposal."

Update: The Architect's Newspaper described the proposal.

Update 2: WKSU aired a report on the Public Square plans.

Playhouse Square leaders unveiled a plan for $16 million in streetscape, signage, and lighting improvements. The plan's centerpiece is a 20-foot-tall LED chandelier that will hang over the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 14th Street. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "a bold and logical next step in the establishment of a vibrant theater district downtown."

Update: Steven Litt said that adding the chandelier "might turn out to be a brilliant move." Next City also wrote about the plan.

The site plan for proposed retail development at West 117th Street and Clifton Boulevard in Cleveland's Edgewater neighborhood shows a suburban-style shopping strip and includes the demolition of the former Fifth Church of Christ Scientist. A neighborhood group is seeking "good urban design promoting a pedestrian-friendly plan well suited for a historic district" and the rehabilitation of the historic church.

Update: the Sun News looked at a previous attempt to redevelop the church.

Update 2: the neighborhood group offered a plan for a park on the church site. The plan calls for retaining the portico and demolishing the remainder of the building.

Plans for skywalks in downtown Cleveland remain controversial. Rock Ohio Caesars may purchase the Higbee Building in an effort to advance its plans to build a skywalk connecting the casino to its parking structure. Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County leaders plan to renovate an existing skywalk that would link the County's new headquarters building to a parking garage. A group of young professionals is urging County Council to demolish the skywalk and the City to reject the casino's plan. They a released video showing the negative impacts of skywalks in Detroit. A Plain Dealer editorial also encouraged County officials to remove the skywalk. The Atlantic Cities looked at the debate, and said that "it seems like a step backward in time."

Update: Rock Ohio Caesars will buy the Higbee Building for $79 million.

Update 2: on appeal, the National Park Service upheld its earlier rejection of the casino skywalk plans.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt described how Cleveland is becoming more welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrians, noting that it "echoes a rising national trend inspired by the new popularity of urban living".

CEOs for Cities looked at the potential for new transit-oriented development in Greater Cleveland, and predicted that in "10-20 years from now Cleveland's rapid transit system will turn some heads while possibly serving as a TOD beacon that helps stabilize the inner city population."

West side Cleveland neighborhoods are developing plans for the area's corridors. The final public meeting for the West 65th Street Corridor Plan was held in February. Its draft recommendations (PDF) call for implementing a road diet, while making streetscape improvements and increasing bicycle and pedestrian accessibility.

Meanwhile, Ohio City Incorporated and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization are leading a streetscape improvement plan for a portion of Lorain Avenue. They're currently conducting a survey. Further west, the Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation is working to improve Lorain Avenue's streetscape, and will hold a public meeting on April 2.

Northeast Shores Development Corporation posted the Euclid Creek Vision Plan (PDF, 47.8 MB), prepared by MKSK of Columbus. It's intended to offer "a compelling design that looked both inside and outside the park's boundaries to build momentum for capital improvements to the park."

At a January 8 meeting, the Ohio Department of Transportation presented its plans for the public areas at both ends (PDF) of the second new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The plans for the Gateway side include landscaping improvements and elements highlighting Cleveland's rock and roll history. The Tremont side would gain a natural area called the sideyard, plus a parking lot. Construction of the bridge will create traffic disruptions over its three-year work schedule.

Steven Litt critiqued the preliminary plans for the Upper Chester development in Cleveland. He called the design "deeply underwhelming" but added that it "clearly has enormous potential" and that its developer would be wise to emulate the "high-quality thinking and institutional collaboration that went into Uptown."

The Shaker Heights Planning Commission and Shaker Heights City Council adopted a plan's strategies for improving the Lee Road corridor. The TLCI-funded Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan "provides recommendations for traffic and pedestrian improvements along the corridor, intersection transitions, bike lanes and connections to the existing and planned non-motorized network, and streetscape renovations for the section south of Chagrin."

The Gund Foundation's November grant awards included $5 million for the Cleveland Museum of Art's expansion, $500,000 for Land Studio to continue its downtown Cleveland greenspace and trail planning, and $75,000 for Bike Cleveland.

The final public meetings for the Clifton Transportation Enhancement Program were held in November. Revised plans for the corridor include new bus shelters in Cleveland and Lakewood. The Cleveland portion will gain a landscaped median and will be widened by one foot in each direction. Construction could begin as early as spring 2013.

Participants in the fifth Cleveland Design Competition devised creative new uses for the disused lower deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge. The competition attracted 164 entries from more than 20 countries, with teams from Austin and New York City tying for first place. Ashley Craig, Edna Ledesma, and Jessica Zarowitz of Austin envisioned "Superior Pont-scape", an outdoor laboratory for education, exploration, and physical activity, while Archilier Architecture of New York proposed "Bridgewalk", three levels of connections that promote year-round activities. Images of the award-winning designs are available online, and entries will be exhibited at downtown's Colonial Arcade in January.

In a feature titled "New Life For the American City", Architectural Record examined how Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are reinventing themselves. Its exploration of Cleveland included an overview by Steven Litt and closer looks at the Cleveland Museum of Art expansion and the Uptown development. Meanwhile, The Atlantic Cities published a piece on the evolution of University Circle and a response from Rust Belt Chic editors Richey Piiparinen and Anne Trubek. They identified a lack of nuance in reporting about the region, and said that "urban journalism needs to allow for more ambiguity."

The American Planning Association named Shaker Boulevard as one of its great streets for 2012, saying that the 6.75-mile stretch in Cleveland, Shaker Heights, and Beachwood "remains proof of planning's lasting value." The organization celebrates quality places each year through its Great Places in America program, and named the West Side Market as one of the nation's great public spaces in 2008.

Mayor Jackson of Cleveland proposed selecting a single development team to implement the City's lakefront development plan. He intends to work with a seven-member advisory committee to draft a request for proposals and review the responses. A Plain Dealer editorial said it "could mark a turning point in Cleveland's relationship with its greatest natural treasure, Lake Erie." Meanwhile, Cleveland City Council authorized Geis Companies to begin planning a 20-acre waterfront office park.

NOACA recently posted two plans conducted with TLCI funding: the East 55th and Euclid Avenue Crossroads Study (PDF, 26.8 MB), which calls for redeveloping the area as the Penn Square District, and also a full version of the West Park/Lorain Avenue Transportation & Redevelopment Plan (PDF, 41.5 MB). At the Civic Commons, NOACA shared details about the program and its projects. The agency is currently evaluating the program.

Mayor Alai of Broadview Heights said that he is committed to implementing the City's 2010 Town Center Master Plan. The Broadview Heights Planning Commission is studying zoning code changes that would permit mixed-use development.

Ohio City Incorporated and the City of Cleveland prepared a neighborhood transportation plan (PDF). It aims to "provide as many transportation options as possible" and recommends implementing complete streets, transit-oriented development, a wayfinding system, and parking improvements. The plan calls for reconfiguring parking lots near the West Side Market and limiting free parking to 90 minutes. Some market vendors and patrons dislike the idea of paying to park. A Plain Dealer editorial said it's "a thoughtful plan that can easily be adapted as revitalization continues." Krissie Wells presented arguments in favor of the plan, and Angie Schmitt shared her reactions to the news.

The CDC also issued its TLCI-funded Inter-modal Urban Design & Wayfinding Plan for the Market District (PDF). It offers ways to "strengthen both the Market and Ohio City neighborhood by organizing the streets, parking facilities and land uses surrounding the area in a manner that encourages economic sustainability."

The Ohio Department of Transportation shared design concepts for amenities that would accompany the planned second Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The designs show public art and greenspace elements (PDF) at the downtown and Tremont ends of the bridge. A Plain Dealer editorial cited it as evidence of a "kinder, gentler ODOT," while Steven Litt said that "the new public spaces planned around the bridges will compensate -- slightly -- for the urban damage ODOT will cause with its overall design."

This year's Cleveland Design Competition focuses on the disused lower deck of Cleveland's Detroit-Superior Bridge. Organizers encourage participants to re-imagine it as "a dynamic public space, performance venue and pedestrian experience." The lower deck was opened to the public earlier this month, and the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative used the opportunity to share its work and gather public input.

The TLCI-funded Lee Road Traffic Study and Corridor Plan makes recommendations for transportation and streetscape improvements (PDF, 9.1 MB) in Shaker Heights. A Sun News editorial says that "the upgrades called for in the study will only enhance the city's commitment to that area."

Consultants for the City of Cleveland released the results of their transportation study of downtown Cleveland's Public Square. The study (PDF) conducted by Nelson Nygaard recommends closing the portion of Ontario Street that runs through the square and retaining the stretch of Superior Avenue. Steven Litt said that the "study has taken Cleveland one step closer to a better downtown," and RTA said it "will continue to work closely with the consultants and other involved stakeholders regarding any changes to Public Square."

Fresh Water looked at how new investments in downtown Lakewood are creating a liveable neighborhood with a sense of place.

More bicycling news:

Update: Councilman Tom Bullock of Lakewood explained the sharrow proposal.

The City of Shaker Heights hired Berusch Development Partners of Cleveland Heights to help develop plans for a walkable, mixed-use business district as part of the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection reconfiguration project.

Through its Pop Up Rockwell event underway this week, the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative has created a temporary complete and green street along five blocks in downtown Cleveland. It includes a two-way cycle track, and Marc Lefkowitz said that the project provides "the kind of creative spark Cleveland needs to see." In Old Brooklyn, the second annual Pop UP Pearl event will take place on May 19. It will include a DIY Urbanism Competition.

Update: West Life described the Pop Up Rockwell project.

On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved the lakefront redevelopment plan introduced by Mayor Jackson in November. The plan covers the waterfront between the Port of Cleveland and Burke Lakefront Airport.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that recent decisions "will make it easier to move ahead" with the plans.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz described the City of Shaker Heights' plans to reconfigure the Warrensville-Van Aken intersection and redevelop the area as a mixed-use district. He concluded that it "has incredible potential to set the stage for Northeast Ohio's first significant retrofit from typical suburban shopping center to the walkable town center."

The Cleveland City Planning Commission adopted a revised version of the West Park/Lorain Avenue Transportation & Redevelopment Plan (PDF). The Planning Commission requested changes to the document in September 2011.

Cleveland City Council committees reviewed lakefront plans in a joint meeting last week. The plans would delineate responsibility for bulkhead maintenance along the lower Cuyahoga River.

In a presentation to Cleveland City Council about the region's housing market, Tom Bier said that Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs must work together on redevelopment efforts.

Cleveland residents asked questions about the City's new lakefront plans at a public meeting last week. Meanwhile, Lute Harmon of Inside Business advocated for following Chicago's example and reserving the waterfront for public uses.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt analyzed the Cleveland Clinic's master plan for its main campus in Fairfax. The plan, prepared by Foster + Partners of London, calls for the creation of a green corridor through the center of the campus. The plan suggests redeveloping the former Cleveland Play House complex as an education center, but does not address the edges of the campus or the possible demolition of two historic churches.

Cleveland Magazine briefly considered arguments for and against the possible reconfiguration of downtown's Public Square.

A group of Cleveland leaders, residents, and bicycling advocates traveled to Columbus last Thursday to demonstrate their support for the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. They attended a Transportation Review Advisory Council meeting and spoke with ODOT officials.

Update: Scene reported on the project, as well.

The TLCI-funded East 22nd Street Corridor/Campus District Transportation and Redevelopment Plan (PDF) makes recommendations intended to strengthen the connections between the Campus District's three anchor institutions. It "illustrates how community-involved planning can tap into large transportation projects to make meaningful corridor enhancements."

Last week's public meeting about the West Shoreway plans attracted a large audience. Cleveland officials criticized ODOT's approach to the project and encouraged residents to attend the December 15 TRAC meeting in Columbus as a show of support. GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz said that to succeed, the project must expediently serve the the bicycle and pedestrian communities.

Update: Fresh Water provided the City's views.

Mayor Jackson and members of Cleveland City Council expressed anger with the Ohio Department of Transportation's handing of the West Shoreway reconstruction plans. Streetsblog, Rust Wire, and a Plain Dealer editorial were all sharply critical of the agency, as well. Bike Cleveland is encouraging interested citizens to attend a public meeting on December 1.

Mayor Jackson unveiled his plans for the downtown Cleveland waterfront. Prepared by EE&K Architects of New York and Van Auken Akins Architects of Cleveland, it complements lakefront planning efforts by the Port Authority and Cleveland Browns, and calls for Burke Lakefront Airport and the Port of Cleveland to remain in place. The plan seeks to balance recreation and entertainment with port and airport operations, while strengthening connections to downtown. Steven Litt described the plan as a "collection of the most logical and sensible concepts for the downtown portion of the lakefront that have surfaced in earlier plans." A Plan Dealer editorial supports the concepts.

Update: Scene's Michael Roberts was more skeptical about the ideas.

Mayor Jackson's vision for Public Square includes the unification of its quadrants by closing the portions of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street that run through the square. A traffic study is scheduled to be completed in February, and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has set aside funding for landscape architect James Corner to develop a second set of design concepts. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey considered the political implications.

Next month, ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art will merge to create LAND Studio. Its "mission will be to create places and connect people through public art, sustainable building and design, collaborative planning, and dynamic programming." The new organization will combine ParkWorks' staff of 12 with the four at Cleveland Public Art and have an annual $1.3 million budget. An introductory video explains the merger.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission asked the Kamm's Corners Development Corporation to revise its West Park/Lorain Avenue Transportation & Redevelopment Plan. They said that the current version is too broad.

Brent Larkin of the Plain Dealer says that a quality redesign of downtown Cleveland's Public Square should be a priority.

At a special joint meeting of the Cleveland City Planning Commission, Landmarks Commission, and Downtown Design Review Committee on Friday, members voted to approve plans for a casino welcome center and parking garage. The designs include a diagonal skywalk across the intersection of Ontario Street and Prospect Avenue. Steven Litt remained critical of the process, and said that "it was another confirmation of how Cleveland differs from cities that insist on better planning and urban design."

Steven Litt considered local design trends over the past 10 years, and said that "the new mood of openness in architecture and planning in Cleveland is a product of regional characteristics and national trends in architecture and urban development that have been evolving for decades."

The West Park/Lorain Avenue Transportation & Redevelopment Plan (PDF, 27.1 MB) is now available. It's intended to "outline strategies to envision a unified main street corridor for the Kamm's Corners neighborhood."

The City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and MMPI each intend to contribute $200,000 for preliminary engineering and design work for the Mall in downtown Cleveland. It will cover planning for infrastructure to support potential amenities at the Mall.

NOACA posted the Gateway District Streetscape and Transportation Plan (PDF, 32 MB) a November 2010 document intended to "provide a vision for the streets that will create a memorable downtown neighborhood." GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz wrote about the plan and the Ohio City Market District Plan, currently in progress. Both plans were funded through NOACA's Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative.

Ruth Durack, the former director of Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, died on July 4 in Australia. She led the CUDC from 1998 to 2004.

Cleveland Heights City Council adopted the final version of its new strategic development plan (PDF). In the Cedar Lee district, officials and businesses are working to advance the streetscape plan (PDF, 71.2 MB) prepared in 2008.

ParkWorks posted the report from Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission. It presents a vision for "a central district woven throughout with dynamic places teeming with energy and people."

The State of Ohio and Rock Ohio Caesars reached an agreement covering taxes and fees for the casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Rock Ohio Caesars will pay an additional $110 million in fees over the next 10 years, and the state agreed to drop its proposal to apply the Commercial Activity Tax against total betting. The agreement (PDF) also says that the phase one and phase two casinos in Cleveland will be considered one casino, and authorizes slot machines at racetracks. Construction is expected to resume soon.

A Plain Dealer editorial said the agreement "appears to be a true win-win for Ohioans", while an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said it "must be seen as a limited victory over gambling interests." An anti-gambling group said that it will challenge the deal in court. Steven Litt reflected on the recent Cleveland Landmarks Commission decision, and said that Rock Gaming needs to improve its casino planning efforts.

The City of Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission reviewed and approved the latest designs for the Medical Mart and new convention center. They include concepts for incorporating the current site of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building into future phases. Marc Lefkowitz has concerns about the plans for Malls B and C.

At its meeting on Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved plans for a casino parking garage and welcome center. The Cleveland Landmarks Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposal on Thursday. Steven Litt was disappointed by the plans, calling them "the kind of actions that can erode a city's visual integrity and sense of place."

Supporters of the plans to remake the Mall in downtown Cleveland have about two months to raise $500,000 for preliminary engineering and design work.

Members of Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission and students from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University discussed downtown Cleveland design issues (MP3, 53.8 MB) at the City Club last Thursday.

The Cleveland Coalition published a report on the planned Cleveland casino. It builds upon two events held last year, and includes a variety of suggestions for integrating the casino into the city.

The Cleveland Browns unveiled a redevelopment concept for 20 acres north of Cleveland Browns Stadium in downtown Cleveland. The team intends to act as a catalyst for the mixed-use lakefront development, and its initial vision for what it is calling the Lakefront District includes mixed-use structures, athletic facilities, additional parking, a covered walkway, and possibly a sports medicine center. Steven Litt encouraged the Browns to set high design standards, consultants said that the project could be successful, but Roldo Bartimole described it as a case of corporate welfare. The Browns posted video and a transcript of the Wednesday press conference.

Update: editorials in the Plain Dealer and Morning Journal found the premise enticing. Michael Roberts, on the other hand, called it "curious and alarming news."

Officials from RTA and the City of Lakewood met last week, and agreed to proceed with a scaled-back implementation of the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program. The City's financial contribution will be reduced from $486,000 to $50,000. Approval from the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council is required.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the situation in more detail.

Steven Litt says that traffic studies for the proposed Public Square redesign and the forthcoming Cleveland casino "could determine the character of downtown for decades to come." They have the potential to decide the balance between a downtown that is pedestrian-friendly and one that is automobile-oriented. A Plain Dealer editorial on the casino parking proposal says that the challenge of downtown development "is to balance the needs of new development against the existing architectural and visual elements that make downtown interesting and desirable."

On Friday, NOACA awarded $845,000 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants to 13 transportation projects (PDF) in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Lorain counties. Eight of the selected planning studies are in the City of Cleveland, and the others are in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Euclid, Eastlake, and Elyria. Eastlake City Council refused its grant.

Update: the Sun Press described the projects in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.

Citing budget cuts, Mayor Summers of Lakewood withdrew the City from the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program. In December, the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council recommended $7.1 million in funding for the project.

Update: RTA will continue to pursue the project.

The AsiaTown Transportation & Streetscape Plan (PDF, 29.0 MB), completed in December, recommends mutimodal enhancements for Superior Avenue and East 36th Street in Cleveland. The TLCI-funded plan is "intended to serve as a first step in the process of realizing a vision for a main street district within AsiaTown."

(via Cool Cleveland)

The Planning and Urban Design Working Group of the City of Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission presented its recommendations (PDF) on Thursday. Its set of recommendations for the Mall and Public Square suggest ways to improve downtown's connectivity and to shift from an automobile-focused pattern to a more human-oriented scale. The estimated cost of the investments is $87.6-89.6 million.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Cleveland can't afford to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine its center".

Representatives from the City of Cleveland, the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation, and Cleveland Public Art shared the latest plans for the redesign of Ohio City's Market Square Park. The $1.5 million project at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue is scheduled to be completed by this fall.

Update: an OCNW video describes the project.

Cleveland's Downtown Design Review Committee approved the latest plans for the Medical Mart. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the designs need more refinement.

Update: committee members want more information about the Mall designs before approving that portion of the plans.

Update 2: the Cleveland City Planning Commission also approved the Medical Mart and convention center plans, but not the plans for the Mall. shares the latest ideas to emerge from the plans for Madison Avenue streetscape improvements, offers a critique, and looks to the future.

Architects from GGN and LMN presented more ideas for remaking Cleveland's downtown Malls and surrounding areas to the City's new Group Plan Commission on Friday. They reviewed current conditions and made a variety of suggestions for making the area more connected, attractive, lively, and sustainable. The presentations by Mark Hinshaw of LMN (PDF, 30.8 MB) and Shannon Nichol of GGN (PDF, 44.1 MB) are posted at

Participants at Tuesday's design charrette suggested a variety of ideas for improving downtown Cleveland, focusing on concepts around the major planned developments.

The Kamm's Corners Development Corporation kicked off the the Lorain Infrastructure Plan at a recent brainstorming session. The TLCI-funded project will develop concepts for integrating land use, transportation, and livability for a stretch of Lorain Avenue.

Cleveland leaders are seeking public input on ideas for the downtown Malls at Your Changing Cleveland. The new Cleveland Group Plan Commission will hold a design charette on November 30.

Update: Steven Litt described the process.

Cleveland's Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee approved conceptual designs for public spaces at the Uptown development in University Circle, including a plaza outside of MOCA's planned building at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road.

Consultants from JJR presented the latest plans for lakefront development in Euclid to City Council's Growth, Planning and Development Committee. The Committee also recommended accepting three grants for lakefront projects.

The Lakewood Observer summarized bicycle planning efforts in Lakewood, while the City of Lakewood provided a recap of the recent Birdtown/Madison community meeting. On November 9, LakewoodAlive will hold a community forum titled "Bailey Building & Beyond - Downtown Lakewood's Renaissance."

At a public forum sponsored by Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission, architect Mark Hinshaw of LMN Architects and landscape architect Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol presented observations and ideas for the future of public space in downtown Cleveland.

LMN Architects released the latest design concept for the Medical Mart in downtown Cleveland. The renderings show a concrete and glass building at the corner of Ontario Street and St. Clair Avenue. Members of the Cleveland Design Review Committee and City Planning Commission were generally positive about the designs, and granted them conceptual approval. LMN and landscape architects Gustafston Guthrie Nichol continue to prepare designs for Malls B and C, and want to create a space that can be enjoyed in all seasons.

The third issue of Fresh Water includes articles about designs for Cleveland's public spaces, plans to extend the Towpath Trail through Cleveland, and the transplantation of prairie grasses from Mall B to the Morgana Run Trail in Slavic Village.

"Designing a Better Cleveland" is a new booklet written by Steven Litt and published by the Cleveland Public Library and Cleveland Public Art. An outgrowth of last year's Lockwood Thompson Dialogues, it's meant to be "a call to action and a mini-primer on the ways in which citizens, developers, planners and designers can raise standards of civic design in Cleveland." Electronic copies (PDF) are available online, and paper copies can be obtained from Cleveland Public Art.

Plans for Malls B and C in downtown Cleveland identify a set of guiding principles for open spaces, gardens, promenades, and an urban edge. Mayor Jackson recently extended the new Group Plan Commission's deadline for recommendations, and the Commission will continue to work with architects GGN and LMN.

Here's Looking at Euclid described the recent history and current status of lakefront planning efforts in Euclid.

Update: a second piece further explored the waterfront plans.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, John Vacha looked to the Great Lakes Exposition of 1936-1937 for inspiration about current plans for the Mall in downtown Cleveland.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission today approved preliminary plans for the new downtown Cleveland convention center under Malls B and C. Members have not voted on plans for the adjoining Medical Mart.

The City of Lakewood continues to gather public input on community planning initiatives, and recently held the second public work session for the Clifton Boulevard Enhancement Project. On August 21, a Birdtown Madison Community Action public meeting will take place.

Update: the Sun Post-Herald summarized the Clifton Boulevard work session.

Update 2: about 50 people attended the August 21 event. The City will hold two more community meetings.

A Plain Dealer editorial criticizes the quality of the proposed designs for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland, saying that "all three proposals from prospective design-build teams are in keeping with the department's narrow vision of what can and should be accomplished here." Meanwhile, Mandy Metcalf detailed her concerns about ODOT's plans for the east end of the West Shoreway reconfiguration in Ohio City.

Urban design in Cleveland was the subject of Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN. The guests, including CPC director Paul Alsenas, discussed plans for the Innerbelt Bridge, MOCA's new building, and the new convention center.

Update: panelists on Channel 3's Between the Lines also discussed the Innerbelt Bridge and convention center plans.

The Ohio Department of Transportation revealed renderings of the three proposals for the new Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. Each of the designs developed by the competing design-build teams calls for a steel girder bridge supported by concrete piers. ODOT is accepting public comments through August 15. Steven Litt was critical of the designs and the planning process, and said that "ODOT has come up with several profoundly ho-hum options for one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the state's history."

In the latest vision for the new Cleveland convention center, Mall B would become a grassy slope above the convention space. The plans developed by LMN Architects call for a gradual slope, starting at St. Clair Avenue and culminating in a 27-foot-high viewing platform at Lakeside Avenue. Cuyahoga County's Jeff Appelbaum said (PDF) that the project is on schedule and on budget, and Steven Litt said that the concept shows great promise. Cleveland's Design Review Committee approved the designs, but the Cleveland City Planning Commission postponed its scheduled vote.

Marc Lefkowitz considered the priorities of RTA's transit waiting environment program and its attempts to balance design and functionality. In addition to rethinking bus shelter designs, the program is funding the installation of four covered bike shelters at transit stops.

Yesterday, the Collaborative Campus Project unveiled plans for connecting the major institutions in Cleveland's Campus District with a series of pedestrian corridors.

Participants on Monday's Sound of Ideas program discussed Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission and the process for developing a new vision for the Mall.

In addition to the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center under construction near Cleveland State University, RTA would like to build a west side transit center in the Warehouse District. The agency recently issued an RFP for a consultant to prepare a development plan. The project would be part of a transit-oriented development in a portion of the area where developer Bob Stark had earlier proposed to build.

As Cleveland's new Group Plan Commission prepares to meet for the first time, Steven Litt looked at the opportunities and challenges facing the panel.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial urges commission members to "think big."

Landscape architect James Corner of Field Operations, who also developed the Public Square redesign concepts, will design the public spaces of the Uptown development in University Circle. At nearby Hazel Road, WXZ Development announced plans to build 60 upscale apartments near the Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland Institute of Music.

The City of Shaker Heights and the Village of Highland Hills reached an agreement about the planned intersection reconfiguration that is part of the Warrensville-Van Aken transit oriented development.

On Tuesday, Frank Jackson announced the 15 members of the new Group Plan Commission. They will hold their first public meeting on July 15.

Frank Jackson is forming a new Group Plan Commission that will recommend ways to revitalize the Mall and Public Square greenspaces in downtown Cleveland. It will have 10 to 15 members and will be chaired by City Planning Commission Chairman Anthony Coyne. The panel is expected to deliver its final report by the end of the year. Funding sources for the improvements have yet to be identified.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the process.

Cleveland City Council is expected to approve the sale of the convention center under Malls B and C to Cuyahoga County for the Medical Mart project.

Update: City Council approved the agreement. The vote was unanimous.

Dan Gilbert would like to build the downtown Cleveland casino in two phases. The first phase, which would open next year, would occupy the first floors of the Higbee Building on Public Square. The second phase would include the construction of a contemporary building along Huron Road near Tower City. It would be finished in mid-2013. The plan to build in phases needs approval from state legislators.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the sale of the Cleveland convention center to Cuyahoga County and the conceptual designs for the new convention center. City Council still must vote on the agreement. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "city and county officials need to keep momentum going" on the Medical Mart and other major downtown projects.

Cuyahoga County reached an agreement to purchase the Sportsman restaurant in Cleveland, the last property needed for the Medical Mart and convention center project. The County and MMPI also announced the selection of Turner Construction Co. as construction manager and URS Corp. as the architect of record. Preliminary renderings by LMN Architects show that views of Lake Erie will be preserved. Project Manager Jeff Appelbaum presented a progress update (PDF) to the County Commissioners.

At the public forum on the redesign of Malls B and C, architect Mark Reddington of LMN Architects and landscape architect Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol shared their research and visions for the Mall. More than 100 people attended the event at the Cleveland Public Library.

Update: Doug Bardwell also summarized the forum.

The final report (PDF) of the American Institute of Architects' Sustainable Design Assessment Team for Parma makes a variety of recommendations that cover topics including land use, economic development, historic preservation, and transportation. The report is the result of work conducted in 2008. Related documents are available from the AIA.

A free public forum on the future of Cleveland's historic Mall will be held on May 6 at the Louis Stokes Wing of the CPL's Main Library.

Developer MRN Ltd. has secured financing for the $44 million first phase of the mixed-use Uptown development in University Circle, and hopes to break ground this summer. Architect Stanley Saitowitz created conceptual designs for apartments over retail along both sides of Euclid Avenue, and presented them to the Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee. The committee unanimously approved the plans, but criticized the presentation for lacking detail.

Update: the Cleveland City Planning Commission also unanimously approved the designs.

The first public meeting for the Clifton Boulevard Transportation Enhancement Program took place on Wednesday in Lakewood. The stimulus-funded project's process will refine streetscape enhancement concepts first identified in a 2006 plan (PDF, 28.7 MB). One attendee shared her reactions.

Update: the City of Lakewood summarized the event and the Sun Post Herald published a report.

On Friday, the Cleveland Coalition will hold the second event in its series on the planned Cleveland casino, a charrette at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. The event is free and open to the public, but participants should register and review an information packet.

Work on the first phase of the Perk Park renovations began last year, and should be completed this fall. The Plain Dealer published details about the redesign and the plans for a second phase.

The Cleveland Coalition posted video of the speakers at the March 5 casino forum at the City Club. The presentations by Len Komoroski, Christopher Diehl, David Schwarz, and Tom Chema are now available.

At Friday's public forum on the planned Cleveland casino, panelists discussed the goals of the development and the challenges posed by each of the four potential sites. Rock Ventures still plans to break ground as soon as this fall, but now anticipates opening the casino in early 2013.

Update: Scene's Anastasia Pantsios also attended the event.

The City of Cleveland is proceeding with the third and final phase of the Kamm's Corners streetscape project. Bidding opened to contractors on Thursday.

The Cleveland Coalition organized a panel discussion about integrating the planned Cleveland casino into the existing urban fabric. It will be held at 5:00 on Friday at the City Club, and the speakers will be David M. Schwarz, Len Komoroski, Tom Chema, and Christopher Diehl. Admission is free, but registration is requested.

A Public Square redesign proposal from Neil Mohney of Forest City calls for closing the portions of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue in the square. He hopes to expand the dialogue to include ideas beyond the three concepts prepared by Field Operations.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation says that the "thread" concept for Cleveland's Public Square is both picturesque and modern, and that it demonstrates "a shared value design ethic".

(via ClevelandDesignCity)

Participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the planned 3C Corridor passenger rail line and the Cleveland Design Competition awards.

The Medical Mart and convention center project in Cleveland will include severing Public Auditorium from the complex. The City of Cleveland will invest $5 million in upgrades to Public Auditorium, and Cuyahoga County will demolish a 1964 addition, restore its west face, and remove the ramp on the east side of the Mall. MMPI is still targeting an October groundbreaking.

The winners of the 2009 Cleveland Design Competition were announced on Friday. First prize went to Mario Caceres and Christian Canonico of Montrouge, France; second prize went to Pepijn van Voorst of The Hague; and third prize went to Russell Collin of London.

The discussion on this morning's Sound of Ideas program was about ODOT's plans for the Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland. The guests were Cleveland City Planning Director Bob Brown, Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer, ODOT District 12 Deputy Director Bonnie Teeuwen, and CPC Director Paul Alsenas.

Participants in the third annual Cleveland Design Competition devised plans for a multi-modal transportation center for the north end of the Mall in downtown Cleveland. The submissions were recently judged, and the winners will be announced on Friday. Steven Litt provides an advanced look at a couple of the entries.

More than 100 people attended a Levin College Forum on Thursday to learn more about the Public Square redesign concepts. Jeremy Borger summarized the event and shared his thoughts.

Participants on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program discussed investments in public spaces, focusing on the concepts for redesigning Cleveland's Public Square. The page also includes an interview with architect Peter van Dijk about the restoration of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square.

The City of Shaker Heights has secured the $11.5 million needed for the planned reconfiguration of the six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard. Construction is slated to begin in about two years. The City will provide updates at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building.

At a Levin College Forum on January 21, landscape architect James Corner will present the three conceptual designs for Cleveland's Public Square. Also on the 21st, the City Club will host a panel discussion about the state of downtown Cleveland. On January 29, a Levin College Forum will discuss the 2010 Census.

Plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland have shifted back to the original site, away from the proposal to build at Mall C. The latest plans call for building the medical products showcase at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street, on the site of the privately-owned Justice Center Parking Garage, Sportsman deli, and 113 St. Clair office building, as well as the county-owned Chicago Title Building and Administration Building Annex. The County will not purchase Public Auditorium from the City, but a portion of the $20 million from the convention center purchase will be used for upgrades of Public Auditorium. Steven Litt said that the Mall is at risk of becoming an afterthought, and that it should be "rebuilt according to the highest possible standards."

In addition, the County reached a construction administration agreement with developer MMPI. The agreement provides new protections for taxpayers and sets rules for construction contracting. An October groundbreaking is possible. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey summarized the recent events. In New York City, developers of the competing World Product Centre accelerated their timetable by announcing plans to withdraw from a proposed 60-story skyscraper and lease up to 350,000 square feet of existing space.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a good way to start the year."

Mandy Metcalf believes that the best solutions for redesigning Cleveland's Public Square involve the closing of Ontario Street and Superior Avenue in the square.

The 2010 federal omnibus spending bill includes $500,000 for the reconfiguration of the six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. It also includes $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects, a compromise between Senate and House versions of the bill.

Last week, a team led by James Corner of Field Operations presented three concepts for a redesign of Cleveland's Public Square to a steering committee from ParkWorks and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Each of the scenarios offers a framework for unifying Public Square's four quadrants: one would frame the square with a trellis, a second would forest the square and close Ontario Street, and the third would thread the square with a man-made hill connecting the quadrants. The thread concept has received the most positive responses.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial enthusiastically supports further pursuit of the ideas.

On Monday, Euclid City Council unanimously voted to adopt the Euclid Waterfront Improvements Plan. The City will now seek funding for the $47 million project.

NOACA awarded a total of $777,250 in Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative grants to 13 projects in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. The NOACA Governing Board also added the 3-C Corridor passenger rail line to its long-range transportation plan.

Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman helped to organize four public meetings about the Medical Mart for early 2010. Roldo Bartimole interpreted them as a political maneuver. Mayor Jackson spoke about the Medical Mart on Channel 3's Between the Lines and defended Public Auditorium on Channel 5. Commissioner Jones thinks that Cleveland should reduce its asking price for the property MMPI desires for its revised Medical Mart plans. The Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects opposes the new plans, and Steven Litt considered the aesthetic costs of building on Mall C.

Meanwhile, the developers of the proposed Nashville Medical Trade Center announced the site for the 2 million-square-foot complex, increasing pressure on MMPI to demonstrate progress in Cleveland. Developers of both projects have stressed the importance of being the first to open.

On Monday, the City of Cleveland Heights held the third of three public meetings on the Cedar Fairmount Traffic Study. City Architecture will submit its final report and recommendations to City Council next month.

In the year since the Euclid Corridor project was completed and the HealthLine began operations, the improvements have helped to spur developments downtown, in Midtown, and in University Circle, despite the recession. Steven Litt assessed the project's effectiveness to date.

As the Kamm's Corners streetscape project continues, more businesses are opening in the commercial district along Lorain Avenue. Workers recently completed the project's second phase, and the Kamm's Corners Development Corporation is seeking funds for the third and final phase.

Frank Jackson, displeased with what he views as a lack of communication from MMPI, yesterday sent the company a list of questions (PDF) about the the proposed changes in the design of the Medical Mart. He also said that the City will hire a consultant to independently assess the condition of Public Auditorium. Steven Litt reviewed MMPI's revised plan and is dubious of its merits.

On the most recent Feagler & Friends program, architect Peter van Dijk, Levin College Dean Ned Hill, and the Plain Dealer's Steven Litt discussed the changing plans for the Medical Mart in Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the project should move forward. The paper also posted MMPI's photographs of Public Auditorium's obsolete utilities.

Update: the Plain Dealer shared more details of MMPI's presentation on the issues with Public Auditorium.

Steven Litt has questions about MMPI's revised concept for the Medical Mart in Cleveland, and participants on yesterday's Sound of Ideas program raised more questions. Cleveland City Council members demanded answers from MMPI representatives at a meeting yesterday. MMPI officials gave their reasons for rejecting Public Auditorium and presented alternate configurations they considered before concluding that Mall C would be the best site. Scene remained unimpressed, as was Roldo Bartimole.

While 20 companies are interested in leasing space at the Medical Mart, none of them have signed agreements. If negotiations bog down, Cuyahoga County leaders could suspend monthly payments to MMPI.

The final draft of the Euclid Waterfront Improvements Plan (PDF) is available for public review, and the Euclid Planning and Zoning Commission will hold public hearings about the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

MMPI's announcement that they now intend to build the Medical Mart at the northern edge of Mall C surprised Cleveland leaders, and they are concerned about the proposed changes. Steven Litt considered the architectural and urban design implications of the new site and how Public Auditorium would fit in. Commissioner Hagan defended MMPI, while Mayor Jackson still wants the company to renovate Public Auditorium.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial said that the recent events underscore the need for better communication. MedCity News compared the project's timetable with those of competing developments in Nashville and New York City.

Materials from the recent All You Can Eat event are now available online, including a project gallery and video of the panel discussion.

The Cleveland Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee approved changes to the design of the planned new Innerbelt Bridge on Thursday, and the Cleveland City Planning Commission discussed the plans today. Cyclists are not pleased with ODOT's treatment of bicycle lane issues.

Update: the Planning Commission criticized the plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge, but praised the designs for the pedestrian bridge at North Coast Harbor. GreenCityBlueLake continues to advocate for accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

CWRU supplied more details about the upcoming lecture by Douglas Farr.

Consultants from JJR presented a draft of their waterfront plan (PDF) to Euclid leaders on Wednesday. The City intends to hold three as-yet unscheduled public meetings about the plan.

Update: editors of the News-Herald are "among those eagerly awaiting the final details."

The planned construction of the Medical Mart and new convention center will provide "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pump new life into the Mall," says Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer. However, he cautions that "the question, as always, is whether the city will rise to the occasion or settle for mediocrity as it often has in the past when it comes to public spaces."

Douglas Farr will give the Richard N. Campen Lecture in Architecture at the Allen Memorial Medical Library on November 5. Titled "Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature", the talk is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Rust Wire recapped the Levin College Forum event yesterday that featured author Alyssa Katz. The next Forum event on October 30 will be a panel discussion about interdisciplinary partnerships for infrastructure investments.

The third annual Cleveland Design Competition launched today. This year's competition focuses on the downtown Amtrak station and "challenges entrants to propose designs for a Multi-Modal Transportation Center in Downtown Cleveland at the north end of the historic Mall." The registration deadline is December 1.

Ohio Department of Transportation representatives presented a portion of their plans for the new Innerbelt Bridge to the Cleveland City Planning Commission on Friday. Planning Commission members asked ODOT to consider making changes to the design.

Urban designers Alex Washburn and Fred Salvucci will participate in the Lockwood Thompson Dialogues at the Cleveland Public Library Main Library on October 29. The event is free and open to the public.

The Gordon Square Arts District celebrated the completion of the Detroit Avenue streetscape project on Saturday. The grand re-opening of the district's Capitol Theatre will be held on October 2, and the festivities will continue for 10 days. A Plain Dealer editorial says that "this should be an important and joyous week for the residents of Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood."

Update: WCPN and the Plain Dealer have more information.

The City of Cleveland will soon begin the renovation of Perk Plaza at Chester Avenue and East 12th Street in downtown Cleveland.

Work on the renovated plaza at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building is nearly complete. The $15 million downtown project includes 27,000 new plants and trees and public art by Pae White.

The lower deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge will host the Bridge Project on September 25 and 26. The Pop-Up City festival will feature several events, including the fifth Cleveland Pecha Kucha Night and a student design charette. Kent State University and Villa Angela-St. Joseph students have prepared concepts for new uses for the bridge's lower level.

Update: Cool Cleveland's Thomas Mulready interviewed Terry Schwartz about the project.

The Infrastructurist identified the planned reconstruction of the West Shoreway in Cleveland as one of seven urban freeway removal projects that could benefit American cities.

A streetscape improvement project is underway along one block of West 6th Street in the Warehouse District. Construction began last week and is scheduled to end this week. Officials hope to replicate the work around the neighborhood.

Update: the Downtown Cleveland Alliance has more details.

Stanton Eckstut of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects recently presented conceptual designs for redeveloping the 100 acres of Cleveland's downtown lakefront currently used by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. He envisions a dense, mixed use area with public parks and a lakefront promenade. There would be three overlapping districts: the harbor, the piers, and the park river district. He said that development should begin in three to five years. The presentation is available online (PDF, 14.6 MB). Some of the participants in the planning process discussed the concepts on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

City Architecture presented preliminary renderings of streetscape designs for Old Detroit Road in Rocky River to the Detroit Road Stakeholders Group.

ParkWorks issued an RFQ (PDF) for a "design team to address the scale, accessibility, connectivity and feel of Public Square." It's intended to "translate the ongoing dialogue about opportunities to reconfigure or reprogram Public Square into a schematic design and budget estimate that can transform the Square into a healthy anchor for downtown."

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $311,000 to the City of Lakewood for the implementation of some components of the Detroit Avenue Streetscape Plan.

Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman spoke with WTAM's Ted Klopp about the upcoming renovation of Perk Plaza in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland City Council is preparing to proceed with a scaled-back renovation of downtown's Perk Plaza. Councilman Cimperman said that "the goal is to break ground in May or June or as soon as we can."

Update: City Council's Finance Committee approved the work.

Zaremba Homes spoke with Paul Volpe of City Architecture about the status of the East 12th Street streetscape project in downtown Cleveland.

The Pearl Road/West 25th Street Comprehensive Transportation Study will be unveiled at at public meeting on April 23 at the Gavin Lee Party Center in Old Brooklyn. The plan was was adopted by the Cleveland City Planning Commission on March 20.

Cleveland City Council is reviewing legislation intended to address aesthetic and safety concerns of wind turbine installation. The rules are meant to regulate their construction in the City's neighborhoods, not the proposed offshore wind farm. Steven Litt believes that there is a need to institute design standards in order to take full advantage of anticipated investments in wind energy.

With the Greater Circle Seniors Design Charette starting today, WCPN spoke with Rob Hilton, President of the McGregor Foundation and Margaret Calkins of IDEAS, Inc., one of the judges.

Pop Up City (PDF, 20.2 MB), the second volume of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's Urban Infill imprint, explores temporary urban land use in Cleveland and around the world.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Tom Bier alleges that the Ohio Department of Transportation operated with a predetermined conclusion when developing its Innerbelt reconstruction plans, saying that the "public meetings and associated discussions were essentially sham events." He feels that ODOT put traffic engineering ahead of other considerations, calling it "an empire that simply does what it wants to do."

The City of North Olmsted is conducting the Great Northern Multi Modal Transportation Plan, which will "include recommendations and alternatives for encouraging transit usage, creating bicycle linkages, promoting pedestrian orientation and enhancing the streetscape through physical improvements."

RTA will use some of its federal stimulus money to initiate the planning and design a four-mile line along Clifton Boulevard in Cleveland and Lakewood. The entire project will cost an estimated $14 million. New articulated buses will enter service along the corridor this fall.

Cleveland State University envisions redeveloping about 25 acres at the northern part of its downtown campus. The North Campus Neighborhood Project would add approximately 800 beds, a baseball stadium, parking structures, and a small amount of commercial development. The University issued an RFP (PDF) yesterday.

On April 16-19, participants in the McGregor Foundation's Greater Circle Seniors Design Charette will generate ideas for affordable senior housing at four sites in Cleveland's Glenville, Fairfax, and Buckeye-Shaker neighborhoods.

The recent shootings at Perk Plaza in downtown Cleveland illustrate how urban design can contribute to the creation of unsafe environments. First proposed in I.M. Pei's 1960 Erieview urban renewal plan, the park was completed in 1972. A 2003 plan for redesigning the plaza was not implemented due to a lack of funding. The City of Cleveland plans to proceed with a more modest renovation this year.

Conceptual designs for the new University-Cedar (PDF) transit station were presented to the RTA board's Planning and Development Committee on Tuesday.

(via Urban Ohio)

Ned Hill and Fran Stewart of Cleveland State University call for a "New City Beautiful - a model of development that emphasizes urban design and the importance of public spaces as a way of creating and holding value in private places."

Steven Litt considers the available information about the plans to build the new convention center and Medical Mart at Mall B. He identifies the advantages of the site as well as some concerns about the proposal.

Steven Litt critiqued the plans for the Towpath Trail through Cleveland, and was displeased with the design of the section at Steelyard Commons. He also commented on the way that bureaucracy is deterring creative solutions and the challenges in designing the stage 1 extension of the trail.

The winners of the 2008 Cleveland Design Competition were announced today. First prize went to Nini Spagl and Gerald Haselwanter of Wein, Austria, second prize to Sylvain Delboy, Dimitri Boutleux, and Sarah Kassler of San Francisco, and third prize to Elise Shelley and James Roche of Toronto. The Design Competition posted images of the winning entries.

Steven Litt feels that the Innerbelt Bridge and Opportunity Corridor projects should be "viewed as part of a comprehensive system that could boost the city's economy for decades to come." He says that the planning of the two projects has been slowed by mediocre work by ODOT and a lack of advocacy from local leaders. He also encourages ODOT to reconsider the proposed southern alignment for a new Innerbelt Bridge.

Work on the Pearl Road/West 25th Street Comprehensive Transportation Study is nearing completion.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority staffers are ready to solicit for consultants to develop a plan for redeveloping the current port site. The port's board hopes to select firms by late February and have a completed plan in September 2009.

Steven Litt was impressed by the plans for the redesign of the bus and rapid transit station at the base of Cedar Hill in University Circle. Under the plans, the transfer station on the south side of Cedar Glen would be replaced with a new public park.

The Ohio Department of Transportation awarded a $4 million grant to the City of Shaker Heights for the reconfiguration of the six-way intersection of Warrensville Center, Chagrin, Van Aken, and Northfield. The project will cost an estimated $10 million. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

Steven Litt says that the recently-completed Euclid Corridor project "shows how smart investments in mass transit and public space can help struggling cities turn themselves around." He also calls it a reminder "that America still has the ability to tackle high-quality, large-scale infrastructure projects with style."

Update: Rob Pitingolo feels that the project also represents missed opportunities.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday for the second phase of the Kamm's Corners streetscape improvement project (PDF). Work should be completed next year.

Update: the West Side Sun has more details.

On Friday, the American Planning Association presented Mayor Jackson with the award designating the West Side Market in Ohio City as one of the country's Great Public Spaces.

The AIA Sustainable Design Team's visit to Parma last week culminated in a public meeting where they presented information about their process, the City's assets and challenges, and their suggestions (PDF, 13.2 MB). The team will prepare a final report for the City.

The Euclid Corridor was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the HealthLine this afternoon. Construction of the $200 million, 7.1-mile project took three years, and it was the subject of Thursday's Sound of Ideas on WCPN. RTA will hold opening celebrations all weekend.

The Parma Sun Post reports on the public meetings held earlier this week with the AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team.

Architects and planners from the AIA's Center for Communities by Design will return to Parma next week for a series of round-table visioning sessions about practical sustainability ideas. The public is invited to participate (PDF) in the focus groups and town hall meetings (MS Word). The Sustainable Design Assessment Team will present their recommendations at a meeting on October 22.

The newly formed Madison Avenue Business Association in Lakewood is working to promote independent retailers and enhance the street's historical character.

A June audit of Chester's town center found that the area lacks infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists. Similar workshops were held in Brooklyn Centre, Lakewood, and Strongsville.

The American Planning Association named Cleveland's West Side Market as one of the nation's great public spaces, including it on their 2008 list of Great Places in America.

At a public workshop last month, consultants presented three concepts for improving the Cedar-Fairmount business district in Cleveland Heights. Participants favored an option that calls for widening the sidewalks along Cedar Road and narrowing the street.

Steven Litt is not impressed by the exterior architecture of the Cleveland Clinic's new Miller Family Pavilion and Glickman Tower, but is more pleased with their interiors and the work of landscape architect Peter Walker. He also writes about the work of Justin Glanville at Building Cleveland by Design.

In this month's Cleveland Magazine, Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs writes about the longevity and evolution of her South Euclid neighborhood.

As the Cleveland Clinic prepares to open the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion and the Glickman Tower at its Cleveland campus, the Plain Dealer published a set of articles that explore the impacts of the new buildings. They represent the Clinic's largest expansion ever, an addition of more than 1.25 million square feet.

The Cleveland Design Competition announced its second annual competition. "Project 2008: interPLAY challenges entrants to propose active and passive recreation along an existing multipurpose path that connects Cleveland's west side neighborhoods to Edgewater Park and Lake Erie."

A stakeholders group is exploring ideas for improving the Detroit Road streetscape in downtown Rocky River. Mayor Bobst said that the group wants "a unified district that is pedestrian friendly."

The Heights Observer provides more details about the recent public meeting on potential changes to the Cedar-Fairmount area.

Cleveland Magazine took a quick look at the redesign of the plaza surrounding the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building at East 9th Street and Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland. It will include a decorative screen by Los Angeles artist Pae White.

Members of an AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team visited Parma last week to learn more about the City. Earlier this year, Parma was selected as one of ten cities to receive technical assistance. The team will return in October to share their recommendations.

Cleveland Heights residents would like the Cedar-Fairmount district to be more pedestrian-friendly. Planners are evaluating several options, including narrowing Cedar Road from six to four lanes. A second public workshop will be held in September.

At the first of three community meetings about the Pearl Road/West 25th Street Comprehensive Transportation Study, Cleveland residents offered suggestions for improving the corridor. The work is partially funded by a 2006 TLCI grant.

The new issue of the Heights Observer includes a look at the Severance Center area, an essay on the prospects of a Cleveland Heights-University Heights merger, and more details about the transportation and streetscape planning process in the Cedar-Fairmount district. The City of Cleveland Heights is currently conducting a stakeholder survey.

Yesterday, participants in the Look Up To Cleveland program presented ideas for improving three Cleveland neighborhoods. The 51 local high school students worked in teams to generate proposals for the Lee-Harvard, Old Brooklyn, and University Circle neighborhoods.

In a class called "Parma 2.0: Re-thinking the Suburb", 15 Kent State graduate architecture students envisioned creative ways of remaking the aging inner-ring suburb. Their projects are on display at Parmatown Mall.

(via ClevelandDesignCity)

A pair of architecture firms have devised plans that call for putting a new convention center under the Mall and building the Medical Mart on its west side. It would replace two buildings and a parking garage, but the Cuyahoga County Administration Building would be retained. Public Auditorium would be repurposed as a ballroom.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt says that more talk is needed about ODOT's plans to rebuild the Innerbelt, and that it is "shaping up as an example of how American cities are losing the ability to manage large infrastructure projects for maximum positive impact." He also describes how the plan calls for two opposing design concepts to occupy the same physical space by routing the Carnegie Avenue exit ramp through a capped section of the highway.

On Monday, Shaker Heights City Council approved plans to redevelop the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district and reconfigure its six-way intersection.

At a work session last week, Shaker Heights City Council discussed the final plans for the redevelopment of the Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. Council is expected to vote on the plans on April 28.

Update: the Plain Dealer provides additional details.

Mayor Patton of Solon has amended the proposal to eliminate the City's Architectural Board of Review. Instead of replacing it with an informal Design Review Committee, he proposed giving its authority to the City's planning director. A public hearing on the subject will be held on May 5.

The project managers of Cleveland's LEED-ND program have proposed creating a green overlay district for the City's three pilot projects.

The City of Cleveland Heights intends to start searching for a developer for the Top of the Hill site within 40 to 60 days. The City's Planning Commission approved development guidelines (PDF) for the area in January.

At the third and final public workshop last month, consultants for Shaker Heights presented a preferred redevelopment alternative for the 60 acre Warrensville-Van Aken commercial district. The plans (PDF) call for turning the six-way intersection into a four-way intersection, rebuilding the area as a mixed-use district, and relocating the intermodal transit center to a site south of Chagrin Boulevard.

Today the Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the demolition of the remaining buildings on the site of the planned Flats east bank development, and also approved the relocation of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to a new site north of East 55th Street. Steven Litt suggests that the Port's move "could create immediate pressure on the city and the port to allow downtown corporations to abandon the business core for sites on the waterfront."

Update: Bradley Fink of the Design Rag has similar concerns.

Steven Litt critiqued City Architecture's preliminary plans for the Upper Chester development near University Circle and found much to like, although he feels that the firm "needs to settle down with a simpler, stronger and cleaner approach" for the project's first apartment building.

A Plain Dealer editorial about the Port Authority's proposed move concludes that "people who care about Cleveland's future must insist on a plan that allows the city to make the most of its priceless proximity to Lake Erie."

A Plain Dealer feature on University Circle looks at the efforts to turn the institutional archipelago into a more cohesive neighborhood. A companion piece calls the area a "critical engine of growth" in Greater Cleveland.

An estimated $4.3 billion in new construction has been or will be built along Euclid Avenue between Public Square and University Circle. RTA's $200 million Euclid Corridor project is serving as a catalyst for investments by developers and nonprofit organizations, and may lead to a rebirth of Cleveland's main street.

Bahman Guyuran is now proposing a mixed-use development on 42 acres at I-480 and Hadden Road. The previous proposal called for a large shopping mall. The Summit County Planning Commission will review the project, which will also be considered by the Twinsburg Zoning Commission at 7:00 p.m. this Monday.

The City of Parma will host a public meeting on February 14 as part of the Day Drive Corridor Enhancement Study.

The City of Solon might eliminate its three-person Architectural Board of Review, replacing it with a committee that would meet as projects require approval.

As part of its Pop Up City program, the Urban Design Center of Northeast Ohio will conduct a workshop on temporary uses for vacant buildings and sites on February 27. Registration is $10 and limited to the first 68 participants.

With several renovation and construction projects underway, Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone believes that "Gordon Square will be synonymous with other destinations like Soho, Dupont Circle and Greenwich Village" within ten years.

At a public workshop last month, planners presented four visions for reconfiguring the commercial district and six-way intersection at Warrensville Center Road and Van Aken Boulevard in Shaker Heights. The City and its partners then selected two ideas for further study. In five to ten years, the City hopes to begin transforming the area into a mixed-use TOD destination. Another workshop will be held on February 27.

The Cleveland Heights Planning Commission delayed voting on proposed design guidelines for the planned Top of the Hill mixed-use development because some members want to see more detailed guidelines.

The City of Lakewood is planning to make the Detroit Avenue and Bunts Road area an eastern gateway to its central business district. The former Giant Eagle at the intersection's southwest corner will be demolished and replaced by new commercial and residential development, along with a parking deck. Preliminary recommendation in the Detroit Avenue Streetscape Study include making improvements to transit waiting environments.

Recent and planned medical center construction by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals has been exclusively in suburban and exurban communities, and not in the region's core cities. The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, continues to reshape its main campus in Cleveland. Steven Litt notes that "it's far too soon to judge how good a job the Clinic is doing architecturally," but "it is a good time to start gathering impressions and to hear about the Clinic's design goals."

Steven Fong, dean of the Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design will leave his post in December to concentrate on opportunities at Khoury Levit Fong, his new firm. His plans to move the school's entire graduate program in architecture to Cleveland are now on hold.

The Cleveland Section of the Ohio Planning Conference continues its sponsorship of American Planning Association web conferences with a program on LEED for neighborhoods on October 3 at NOACA. It is free for OPC members and guests. Information about additional web conferences can be found on the OPC events calendar.

University Circle and Little Italy can be transformed by RTA's new E. 120th Street rapid station, according to Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer.

Shaker Heights City Council hired The Planning Partnership of Toronto to conduct traffic study along with a land use and implementation plan for the intersection of Van Aken Boulevard and Warrensville Road. A public meeting is tentatively scheduled for next month.

RTA revealed its plans for a new rapid station at East 120th Street in Little Italy. In addition to a new station, the plans prepared by Studio Techne feature transit-oriented development elements including a parking garage, a transit transfer station, retail space, and apartments. The plans also offer a first glimpse of massings for the Arts and Retail District in University Circle, including tentative footprints of new buildings for MOCA and and the Cleveland Institute of Art.

The Plain Dealer examined the impacts of acute outmigration on Cleveland neighborhoods, explored the strategies proposed by shrinking cities advocates, and looked at the reactions from Cleveland politicians.

Steven Litt says that ODOT's Innerbelt plans are "shaping up as a colossal disappointment", and that the biggest immediate problem is that the plan to cap a section of the downtown highway "hasn't received enough business and political support to convince ODOT to explore it seriously."

The Plain Dealer examined the promise, problems, plans, and schedule for the ongoing construction of the Euclid Corridor project, which is roughly two-thirds complete.

In this week's Free Times, William Bostwick reviews the OPEN: New Designs for Public Space exhibit at MOCA. "Though it highlights dozens of new buildings that re-imagine things like plazas, parks and performance spaces, it leaves the viewer with more questions than answers. But don't worry: That's a good thing."

Terry Schwarz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative says that the proposal to cap the Innerbelt in Cleveland is "extremely improbable and potentially counterproductive" due to high costs and a lack of real estate demand.

The Quadrangle unveiled plans for capping a 10 block portion of the Cleveland Innerbelt. Architect Robert Maschke says that the cap would create nearly 23 acres of surface area which could support buildings as tall as 25 stories.

As phase one of the Kamm's Corners streetscape project continues, community leaders are meeting to discuss its second phase. Phase one remains on schedule for completion in November, and phase two should be finished by November 2008.

Zaremba, Inc. reports that the City of Cleveland approved plans for the streetscape project along East 12th Street in downtown Cleveland near the Avenue District. The $7 million project is expected to take three years to complete.

(Update: the Sun Herald has more details.)

The $931,000 downtown Berea streetscape project is nearing completion, and should be finished by the middle of next month. Meanwhile, Berea officials are looking at measures to address the downtown Berea parking shortage.

The City of Shaker Heights will install a pair of mid-block curb extensions on Avalon Road. The construction will be funded by donations from residents.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the concept of a $3.3 million walkway linking the Great Lakes Science Center to the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum, but members did not like its design, and were concerned that the connector would restrict public access to the lakefront.

Case Western Reserve University's Village at 115 complex received the 2007 Honor Award for Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component from the Society for College and University Planning.

Plain Dealer art and architecture critic Steven Litt started a weblog at titled Architecture and the Urban Landscape. He says that "commentaries online will dovetail with our coverage in the pages of newspaper, while also veering in other directions."

The Euclid Avenue traffic circles at East 89th and East 100th Streets proposed by the Cleveland Clinic will not be built because of their projected negative impacts on traffic flow.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer describes several catalytic redevelopment efforts underway in Cleveland's Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. "After decades of urban husbandry in housing and retail, the district is about to gain critical mass."

Steven Litt reviews the exhibit Open: New Designs for Public Space, an exhibit on the work of Foreign Office Architects, and the Uptown Launch Pad, all on display at MOCA. "The shows suggest that Cleveland -- a poor, shrinking city suffering from low self-esteem -- could become more lively and cosmopolitan if it emulates or surpasses the examples on view." He also notes that MOCA has started a new weblog.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt interviewed architects Curt Fentress, Farshid Moussavi, and Winy Maas, each of whom is designing a major construction project for a University Circle institution.

Organizers of the Cleveland Design Competition announced their winners last evening. The competition attracted 70 entries from nine countries, all offering design proposals for the Irishtown Bend area on the Cuyahoga River's west bank. First place went to a team led by Nicholas Sully of Vancouver for a proposal that called for creating terraced gardens and walkways. The entries will be exhibited at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative from June 21 to July 30.

(Update: a gallery of the winning submissions is now online.)

At a public meeting last week, Shaker Heights residents offered their opinions about potential improvements to the rapid transit station at Van Aken Boulevard and Lee Road. The feedback will be incorporated into a plan for transit-oriented development around the station. The final meeting in the series will be held in July.

Construction of the first phase of the Kamm's Corners streetscape improvement project will start on June 18. The work is scheduled to conclude in November, with phase two beginning next spring.

MOCA will host OPEN: new designs for public space from June 1 through August 19. The exhibit presents innovative public space projects from around the world. Architect Farshid Moussavi of Foreign Office Architects, the firm designing MOCA's new building, will speak at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on May 31 at 6:00 p.m.

(via Rockitecture)

GreenCityBlueLake recaps the Shrinking Cities Symposium held on Friday at Josaphat Arts Hall.

Michael Gill of the Free Times reviews the Shrinking Cities exhibit, as does the Plain Dealer's Dan Tranberg. The next Shrinking Cities event will be music and movies on May 18 at Hyacinth Park.

Heartland Developers posted a video (Windows Media) of urban evangelist Kyle Ezell's recent talk about urban living.

GreenCityBlueLake provides more details about the Shrinking Cities symposium, exhibition, and events taking place this month and next.

The initial Regionally Speaking podcast, an interview with University Circle Incorporated President Chris Ronayne, is now online: part 1, part 2.

Frances Whitehead and Lisa Norton have proposed the idea of the "superorg" as a model for integrating the artist's perspective, ecological design, and industrual regeneration in the public planning of the Towpath Trail Extension. Their work is being shown at SPACES gallery as part of the Shrinking Cities exhibition.

Plain Dealer architecture critic Steven Litt offers some suggestions for addressing the controversies raised by ODOT's $1.5 billion plans for the reconstruction of Cleveland's Innerbelt. He notes that while the window for making dramatic revisions is brief, there is still time to reexamine maintaining traffic at ramps that ODOT proposes closing, to reanalyze the southern bridge alignment, and to consider capping large sections of the trench.

GreenCityBlueLake recaps one of the community workshops led by the Project for Public Spaces earlier this week on plans for the redesigned and relocated East 120th rapid station in Little Italy.

Lee Chilcote describes the efforts by Cleveland State University leaders to transform the campus by implementing the campus master plan, employing green building techniques, and restoring historic structures. Officials hope that the investments will serve as a catalyst for development in the area, including the Euclid Avenue collegetown plan.

Project for Public Spaces Vice President Cynthia Nikitin will speak about placemaking and revitalizing neighborhood commercial corridors on May 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights. The session is free and open to the public.

University Circle Incorporated will hold a public meeting on March 29 at 6:30 p.m. in Judson Manor to discuss implementing the recommendations of the MLK Corridor Urban Design Study (PDF) and reconfiguring the traffic circle at MLK Drive and East 105th Street.

Architect Christopher Diehl will be the new director of Kent State University's Urban Design Collaborative. He will begin work on May 1. In addition, Dean Steven Fong announced that the school's entire master's degree program in architecture will relocate to Cleveland by March 2009.

A group of Cleveland and Lakewood stakeholders have begun discussing the possibility of joint developments along the West 117th Street corridor. Kent State's Urban Design Center is helping to prepare a conceptual plan. Meanwhile, the fate of the former Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist on West 117th Street is again in question, because the option on the historic building held by Marous Brothers Construction will expire by the end of the month. Cleveland officials are meeting with Marous.

Construction of phase one of the long-delayed Kamm's Corners streetscape revitalization is scheduled to begin in April and end in September. The entire project should be completed by November 2008. The improvements will include burying power lines, new light poles and fixtures, replacing sidewalks and curbs, and new plantings.

A Plain Dealer editorial backs University Circle Incorporated's campaigns to transform the neighborhood, which include the Bring Back Euclid Avenue initiative and plans to build 1,000 new homes in the next five years.

University Circle Incorporated is planning Bring Back Euclid Avenue, an initiative intended to compliment Euclid Corridor improvements by adding new signs, a visitors center, decorative lighting, and other streetscape improvements. They have already raised half of $7 million needed for the project.

At a Cleveland State forum yesterday, RTA introduced its Transit Oriented Design guidelines. They are seeking partners to develop three properties on Euclid Avenue as TOD projects.

With work on the Crocker-Stearns connector due to begin on March 1, the City of North Olmsted held a public meeting on Monday at which the Kent State Urban Design Center presented several development scenarios for the corridor and sought input from residents.

The Cedar Lee Special Improvement District is sponsoring a Cedar Lee streetscape community design charrette (PDF) on Saturday from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Main Library on Lee Road. On March 8 at 7:00 p.m., the City of Shaker Heights will host a public meeting about transit-oriented development and the Van Aken-Lee area.

The Cleveland Clinic re-introduced plans for modifications to Euclid Avenue. Instead of closing the street to automotive traffic as they initially proposed, their compromise proposal calls for adding traffic circles at East 89th and East 100th Streets and reducing traffic to one lane in each direction, with the Silver Line BRT in the median.

Reactions to recommendations for the Lorain Road corridor in Fairview Park continue to be positive. The suggestions were developed for the Western Lorain Road Corridor Planning Study.

Fairview Park business owners were receptive to a consultant's recommendations for the Western Lorain Road Corridor Planning Study that were presented at a public meeting last week.

From 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on February 22, the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs will host a forum on RTA's transit oriented development planning efforts.

RE:New, a new program from AIA Cleveland and the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, will assist local governments and organizations with urban design and planning projects. Proposals are due on February 16.

(Update: an application form (PDF) is now online)

The first annual Cleveland Design Competition officially launched today. The initial competition will focus on designs for the Irishtown Bend area on the Cuyahoga River's west bank. The registration deadline is April 16, and the submission deadline is May 1. Updates will be available via the Competition's weblog.

Consultants working on the Western Lorain Road Corridor Planning Study in Fairview Park say the street has a diverse mix of uses and recommend making it more pedestrian friendly.

This week's Cool Cleveland includes a video interview with Dan Cuffaro and Ned Hill about their concept for the Cleveland District of Design: QuickTime (17.8 MB), Windows Media (25.8 MB).

The cover story in the current issue of Science Weekly examines the correlations between urban sprawl and obesity, and considers several studies conducted over the past few years that looked at walkability and health concerns.

(via Boing Boing)

Fairview Park officials and consultants will gather public input for the Western Lorain Road Corridor Planning Study at a meeting on January 24 at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall. The Study will include recommendations for streetscape improvements, and should be completed by May.

In Independence, the Downtown Master Plan Task Force (PDF) submitted a draft plan to municipal leaders for review. City Council and the Planning Commission will hold a joint work session to discuss the plan's recommendations.

Municipal and nonprofit officials in Cleveland are pleased by the creation of the University Circle Design District. It should create increased transparency in the design process and allow greater public oversight.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt looks back at 2006 in art, architecture, and urban design. He also provides updates on the status of some projects, including the Little Italy rapid station and the fate of the Breuer tower in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland City Council established the proposed University Circle Design District. City Council also enacted an emergency ordinance that alters the procedure for designating city landmarks and landmark districts. Both changes became effective on December 15.

Planned renovations to the Capitol Theatre, the construction of a new home for Near West Theatre, and the existing Cleveland Public Theatre will serve as anchors for the Gordon Square Cultural Arts District. Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone calls it Detroit Shoreway's "single most important economic development project" in nearly 90 years.

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