Group Project Cleveland MidTown Urban Design Workshop Spring 2020

  • Christopher Chutz, M.R.P. 2021
    Samuel Coons, M.R.P/M.L.A. 2021
    Anthea Fernandes, M.R.P. 2021
    Kate Flaherty, M.R.P/M.L.A. 2022
    Alexander Goddard, B.A. ES 2021
    Xinyu He, M.R.P. 2021
    Hailey Morey, M.R.P. 2020
    Michael O'Key, M.R.P. 2021
    Rewa Phansalkar, M.R.P. 2021
    Hassan Saleem, B.S. URS 2020
    Gianni Valentia, B.S. URS 2021
    Hannah Wilson, M.R.P. 2021
    Xiaotong Yang, M.R.P. 2021
  • Class

    CRP 5850: Urban Design Workshop
  • Instructor

    Mitch Glass
    Jeff Chusid

MidTown Cleveland is a historic working-class residential community and commercial/light industrial corridor located between Downtown Cleveland and University Circle (thus the name "MidTown"). In the past decade-plus, extraordinary economic development progress has been made to either side of MidTown: Downtown has seen a rebirth as an active, 24-hour live/work/entertainment district with new restaurants, revitalized nightlife, and refurbished public square, while University Circle is thriving as an Eds/Meds center with Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic Hospital, complemented by a host of world-class arts and cultural institutions. These two "bookends" have been linked along Euclid Avenue by the implementation of a highly successful bus-rapid-transit system known as the "HealthLine" – completed by the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in 2008, the system has generated close to $10 billion dollars of economic development along its length.

Although the HealthLine has been running through the center of MidTown on Euclid Avenue for over 10 years, only now are some of its benefits being strongly felt in MidTown. Long planned and recent initiatives by residents, neighborhood CDCs, non-profits, foundations, the city and state are beginning to have a transformative effect. This includes the planning and design of the new headquarters for the Cleveland Foundation, the preeminent philanthropic organization in the city and a supporter of CRP work. At the same time, MidTown Cleveland Inc. has released an RFP to create a neighborhood vision plan for MidTown. The work in CRP5850 will be complementary to the work by the selected consultant team.

"The MidTown neighborhood is now at a critical juncture with several catalytic development projects that will spur the acceleration of real estate development and economic growth in the neighborhood and advance MidTown's strategic priorities. What happens in MidTown over the next decade will directly impact the tens of thousands of residents in neighborhoods north, south, east, and west of MidTown. As disparities continue to widen nationally and across Cleveland, we must act with urgency to ensure that this development, our planning efforts, and the others that follow will reduce disparity and advance racial equity."

— MidTown Cleveland Inc., Neighborhood Vision Plan RFP, January 2020

The CRP5850 urban design class took place within this evolving MidTown context in Spring 2020 just as the Covid pandemic was beginning. The class focused on urban design scenarios (development, public space and street improvement proposals) for a particular part of MidTown: along the existing Penn Railroad freight rail line. Previously a commuter line (with a now-demolished station at Euclid and 55th), the rail is both a barrier to neighborhood cohesiveness and an opportunity to re-imagine improved connectivity of people and place. The resulting work imagined and proposed new urban forms, uses, and activities to improve quality of life now and in the future in MidTown.

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