Akron Innerbet Charrette | Recap


On October 14-16, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative took 18 of our grad students to Akron for an intense three-day design workshop, or “charrette”. The students came from our Masters of Architecture, Masters of Urban Design, and Masters of Landscape Architecture programs, plus Cleveland State University’s Masters of Urban Planning & Development program. We were also joined by six students & faculty from Lawrence Tech University in Detroit, plus CUDC alumni.

The three-day charrette examined Akron’s Innerbelt Removal site, the northern section of Highway 59 directly adjacent to Akron’s Downtown. Students, staff, and faculty formed four interdisciplinary teams to each produce a vision for the redevelopment of the site once it closes to vehicular traffic in the next year. They were charged with examining the current Innerbelt site and its linkages to the Downtown, surrounding neighborhoods, and larger region, in order to determine program, density, infrastructure, and character of new development & green space. How can a piece of highway previously perceived as a barrier be transformed into a meaningful connector, a piece of cohesive urban fabric, and a place in its own right?


To tackle this complex and rich design problem, students first took tours of the site area with City of Akron Planning Director, Jason Segedy; presented preliminary research to a room of local stakeholders, who gave their own advice and feedback; and then got to work producing site analysis and redevelopment concepts. After 48 hours, they presented four schemes on Sunday, Oct 16th to community stakeholders.


Final schemes addressed such specific topics as:

  • connectivity between the Downtown and the near-west side neighborhoods;
  • four-season recreation opportunities;
  • linking to the existing network of trails like the Towpath;
  • topographic shifts, grading, and landforming;
  • short-term, flexible programming of the roadway surface;
  • retrofitting adjacent Downtown buildings to face new Innerbelt development; and
  • affordable and diverse housing options for all ages and populations.

PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint Presentation

The 2016 CUDC Community Design Charrette was graciously supported by the City of Akron; the Knight Foundation; Summit MetroParks; NAIOP Northern Ohio Chapter; and the Mastriana Endowment/4M Company LCC.

If you’d like to see more of the final four schemes developed, we’ll be back down in Akron this coming Thursday evening for a public presentation:

5:30 – 7:30 PM
NIHF STEM Middle School
All-Purpose Room
199 S Broadway St, Akron

Please spread the word and come out to see all our students’ great ideas for the future of the Innerbelt site!



Making Our Own Stories Podcast Launched!


Making Our Own Stories, a youth podcast about placemaking, launched its first four episodes. The podcast will reveal the stories behind the projects built in the Buckeye neighborhood through the Making Our Own Space workshops. The podcast puts the mic in the hands of youth, training them to craft and tell stories they find interesting—in their own voice.

MOOStories is led by a team of partners including Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), designer Ellen Sullivan, Kent State University Master of Landscape Architecture student Jessie Hawkins, community leader and independent radio broadcaster D’Angelo Knuckles, and Sidewalk founder and urban planner Justin Glanville.

Students learned how to use recording equipment so they could interview people on the street, design professionals, grant funders, police officers, and each other. The podcast gives youth the opportunity to ask adults why the neighborhood looks the way it does. Then take actions to make it better.

You can listen to the first four episodes on the MOOS website or on iTunes. We will be posting another episode each week for the next two months. If you enjoy the stories, please share the podcast link on social media and ask your friends to check it out, too. On iTunes, you can rate the podcast (5 stars please!) and leave a comment. The ratings and comments are really important ways to increase the podcast’s reach. We hope MOOStories will help people in Cleveland and across the country get a better understanding of the Buckeye community and how youth can play a larger role in shaping their own neighborhoods.

Want to listen live? There will be a live stream of the podcast at Sidewalks of Buckeye, Thursday, October 13th, from 6-8 PM. The event is sponsored by the Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation in partnership with ioby. It will be a night of readings, musical performances, poetry, meditation and more!  There will be  hot dogs and freshly pressed juice. The event will take place at Art and Soul Park, E 118th and Buckeye Rd. 

Making Our Own Stories is made possible through the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation’s Minority Arts & Education Fund.


CAED Hiring Public Relations & Media Specialist


The College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at Kent State University is seeking applicants for a full‐time Public Relations and Media Specialist. Responsible for the creation, publication and dissemination of promotional materials, event planning and implementation, web and new media account curating. The position will oversee media communication efforts related to programming, content dissemination, student recruitment, advancement, and alumni relations.

This is a full-time position, located on the main campus in Kent, Ohio. For more information please view the complete job description here.

Submit all required materials as an on‐line application to KSU Human Resources. To complete the process, go to: https://jobs.kent.edu/postings/10885 (Position #989358)


Norman Krumholz | Sept 30

lectures_fall 2016_krumholz

This week we welcome Norman Krumholz to our Fall Lecture Series. His talk, “Cleveland Neighborhoods in Black and White” will explore equity planning, a theory of urban planning that Norman and his staff practiced with three Cleveland mayors (Stokes, Perk, and Kucinich) in the 1970s.  He will also talk about how an equity planner thinks about certain issues and the results of their work in Cleveland.

Norman Krumholz is a Professor in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University who earned his planning degree at Cornell. Prior to this, he served as a planning practitioner in Ithaca, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. He served as Planning Director for the City of Cleveland from 1969-1979 under Mayors Carl B. Stokes, Ralph J. Perk, and Dennis Kucinich. 

Join us, Friday, September 30th, from 12 -1 PM. As always, this lecture is free and open to the public.



CUDC welcomes Post Graduate Fellow | Jonny Hanna


The CUDC created the Post Graduate fellowship as a one-year position for recent graduates holding a Master’s degree in Architecture, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, or Planning. This year we welcome Jonny Hanna as our Post Graduate Fellow.

Jonny is a Detroit-based real estate developer, architect, and urban designer. He earned his B.S. Architecture and Master of Urban Design from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He has worked in varies design firm in and around the Detroit area, most recently working for A(n) Office on the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale for the U.S. Pavilion. He has previously worked for Clement Blanchet Architecture in Paris and Etchen Gumma Limited in Detroit. He has lectured and been an invited guest critic at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation. His work has been featured on I Made That, Students of Architecture, Arquisemteta, and Paprika! His research focuses on alternative means of representation for projective urban conditions including, cartography, photography, videography and short story narrative writing.

We’re excited to have Jonny on board!


Mark Souther | Sept 23

lectures_fall 2016_souther

On September 23rd we welcome Mark Souther to our Fall Lecture Series. His talk is titled, “Cleveland Historical at Five: Reflections on a Half-Decade of Curating the City”. He will be speaking at the CUDC from 12 – 1 PM. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Souther shares the pioneering history app that curates Cleveland through hundreds of location-based stories. He also suggests the transformative place-making and community-building potential of digital storytelling.


Mark Souther is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University. He directs the Cleveland Historical app project and is the author of a number of books and articles on American urban history.

If you can not make the lecture we will be live streaming the talk on our Facebook page starting 12 PM. 


Charles Waldheim | Oct 6

lectures_fall 2016_waldheim

Charles Waldheim is a Canadian-American architect and urbanist. Waldheim’s research examines the relations between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He is an author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books, including the soon to be published, Third Coast Atlas. Join us on October 6, 2016 at 5:30 PM. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is requested.


Measuring over 10,000 miles, the Great Lakes coastline, known as the “third coast,” is longer than the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines of the United States combined. It is difficult to overstate the history and future of the region as both a contested and opportunistic site for urbanism. Envisaged as a comprehensive “atlas,” this publication comprises in-depth analysis of the landscapes, hydrology, infrastructure, urban form, and ecologies of the region, delivered through a series of analytical cartographies supported by scholarly and design research from internationally renowned scholars, photographers, and practitioners from the disciplines of architecture, landscape, geography, planning, and ecology.

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Following Waldheim’s presentation, there will be a panel discussion with several contributors to the Third Coast Atlas, including:

 Steve Litt, art and architecture critic at the Plain Dealer will moderate the discussion.


The Future City Sessions are an on-going explore of emerging ideas in urban design and city-making made possible by the support of The George Gund Foundation.

AICP|CM credits will be provided for this event, sponsored by APA Cleveland

Thursday, October 6, 2016

5:30pm – 7:00pm

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44115



INDEX Studio: Cleveland x Havana Report

Blog_Cuba Final for KSU 7

The INDEX studio examined the relationships between two cities–Cleveland, Ohio and Havana, Cuba. The 15-week studio took place in the spring of 2016 at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). By comparing these very different urban contexts, the studio provided new insights into familiar places and a better understanding of the challenges facing global cities.

Read and download the full report, written in English and Spanish, below.

Twelve graduate students generated proposals for a waterfront site in each of the two cities. The Cleveland site is the now-defunct Lakeshore Coal Plant, a monumental structure on a 60 acre site along the city’s eastern lakefront. The Havana counterpart is the Nico-Lopez Oil Refinery, a 500 acre facility still functioning as a refinery on the southeastern banks of Havana Bay.

Ash Pond ParkGraduate students Alexander Scott and Jordan Fitzgerald re-envisioned the Lakeshore Coal Plant as a regional destination for industrial arts preservation and production, located in close proximity to Cleveland’s University Circle arts and culture district.

Proposed Havana Bay Waterfront DevelopmentGraduate student Morgan Gundlach examined the opportunities to incorporate the 5′ (1.50 m) sea-level rise expected by 2100 by creating a dynamic ribbon of green spaces along Havana Bay’s waterfront.  

Students met with a range of design professionals and local experts while in Havana. These insights and direct observations gathered during the five day travel formed the basis of urban design proposals shown in the report. At the conclusion of the studio, students received feedback on their proposals from Cuban architects Ernesto Jimenez and Sofia Marquez Aguiar during the architects’ visit to Cleveland. The students’ design work will be exhibited in Havana, at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, in Spring 2017.

The INDEX Studio is part of the curriculum for the Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design programs in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). Kent State is committed to global education and expanding the cultural literacy of our students. Cuba offers a remarkably complex and locally relevant range of design opportunities. This initial studio is a first step toward establishing relationships with colleagues and collaborators in Cuba.

View and download the full report below:

Support for the travelling studio was generously provided by The Cleveland Foundation.


Students Study Housing Alternatives for Cleveland

This summer’s graduate studio at the CUDC focused on issues of housing in the city of Cleveland. Eleven graduate students in architecture and urban design selected sites across the city to develop a strategy for housing various ages, incomes, and forms of collective living. Titled “Home Economics: The State of Housing in Cleveland,” the studio used interdisciplinary methods for making site determinations and strategies—combining urban planning, community development, and design thinking to aspects of their project. Students studied the recent Vacant Property survey released by the CUDC with Thriving Communities Institute and other studies to suggest alternative forms of development in neighborhoods across the city. Strategies ranged from urban systems questions relating to lead contamination in housing, to dispersed housing strategies that attempt to introduce affordability as a stabilizing factor both in gentrifying neighborhoods and in under-invested neighborhoods.

The studio marks the culmination for Master’s of Architecture students at the CUDC, while students in the Urban Design program will continue into capstone research.

Below are examples of some of the student’s work featured in the report.

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images for blog post-2Student Caitlyn Scoville’s project examined methods for remediation, demolition, and development in neighborhoods with high lead concentrations.

images for blog post-3Student Lizz Weiss’ “Aff the Grid” project introduces new models of affordable housing and collective living.  

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images for blog post-6Student Elizabeth Ellis’ project provides housing options for immigrant populations that allow inhabitants to determine the degree of assimilation they wish to undertake in the community. 


Sara Zewde | Sept 06

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We are excited to kick off our Fall Lecture Series with Sara Zewde, Designer at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. Sara’s talk, “Design at the Margins of the Urban Renaissance”, will be at the CUDC on Tuesday, September 6th, from 12 -1 PM.

Urbanism is in the midst of a renaissance. Many cities are witnessing large investments in urban infrastructure, development, and civic institutions — even those whose populations are not increasing. Yet still, the design associated with this renaissance provokes tension. Design projects by Zewde located in Houston and Rio de Janeiro will be presented as a departure point for a dialogue on resolving this tension, and pushing design towards a more robust, and culturally relevant, practice.

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3 of 3_infinity with diagram

Sara Zewde is a designer at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master of City Planning from MIT, and a BA in Sociology and Statistics from Boston University. Sara was named the 2014 National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation and a 2016 artist-in-residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Sara writes and lectures in the discourses of landscape architecture and urbanism and is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Silberberg Memorial Award for Urban Design and the Hebbert Award for Contribution to the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT.

Concurrent to working at Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Sara continues independent design work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Houston, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Sara finds that in considering the relationship between ecology, culture, and craft, there are often many powerful departure points for design. Her work is currently on display at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale’s Brazilian pavilion.


Sara will also be speaking at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) on September 6th, starting at 5:30 PM in the Cerne Lecture Hall. Her talk at the CAED is titled, “Ecologies of Memory”. Both events are free and open to the public. RSVP is not required but requested, please click here.

If you can not make the lecture we will be live streaming the talk on our Facebook page starting 12 PM. 

View our full list of 2016 Fall Lectures here. 


INPLACE Projects Funding Now Available


INPLACE is a new arts initiative for Youngstown, funded by the  National Endowment for the Arts. It’s directed toward community-driven public art projects that combine storytelling with placemaking.

INPLACE is looking for artists, designers, and other creative people to develop projects around the themes of  Wayfinding, Parking, Lighting, Technology, and Green Infrastructure for the City of Youngstown. Grants of $20,000 will be awarded for five projects to be implemented in the city between November, 2016 and the end of July, 2017.

Projects proposals need to have a clear Youngstown focus, but you don’t need to be based in Youngstown to participate. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the INPLACE website and download the guidelines.

On September 6 from 5-7pm, there will be a community open house for people interested in applying for an INPLACE grant. All proposals need to be a team effort, with at least three team members. The open house will provide an opportunity to meet potential team members and learn about the rich cultural environment of Youngstown.

To participate, you’ll need to pre-register by August 19, by completing the pre-registration form on the INPLACE website.

The CUDC and Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design have deep ties to Youngstown and we’re honored to be advisors to INPLACE. We hope many artists and designers from Cleveland and elsewhere in Northeast Ohio will participate in this initiative.




Jane Rossman is a summer intern here at the CUDC. She is a rising senior at Bryn Mawr College, majoring in the Growth and Structure of Cities. She will be speaking at CUDC on August 15th at 12:00 PM. Her lecture will feature the culmination of Jane’s research on the successes and failures of government, community development and residents’ responses to vacant space and properties in the Hough neighborhood and possible remedies. We asked her to write a blog piece as well, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Hough Uprising—encouraging conversations concerning the history of the neighborhood as well as issues of housing, education, and community development.

by Jane Rossman

Jane_blog_1Click image to view larger. Clearance Sections and Project Boundaries, East Hough highlighted, University-Euclid General Urban Renewal Plan, City Planning Commission, Jack Meltzer Associates, November 15, 1960. Public Administration Library.

The transformation of Hough to the empty land it is today began many years before the summer of 1966. Redlining, blockbusting, absentee landlords, and homes bursting at the seams from overcrowding all defined Hough in the 1950s. Slowly the few open spaces became the highlights of the dense neighborhood.

The need for more open space and better housing was answered in policy, but abandoned with lack of enforcement. The promise of renewal was denied. Instead, Hough was faced with slum clearance that left vacant space and increasing dilapidation. Promises abandoned along with increasing racial tension fueled a burning frustration that boiled over in the week long Uprising.

Razing the neighborhood to the ground left the abandoned Hough with more emptiness and blight than residents could handle. The population was reduced to a third its previous number — Hough was transformed into a landscape of the abandoned and empty.

Empty space is the breeding ground for the grass-roots. Hough Area Development Corporation (HADC), Famicos and a community determined to remain and revitalize the neighborhood began the slow path of reversing vacancy. Yet, how does one succeed when there is more empty space than structures and many of the remaining structures are so deteriorated they will soon be felled, adding to the emptiness?

How can one renew the empty space from abandonment to openness and places of intention?

Urban farms and gardens, residents rehabilitating and constructing their own homes, art programs outreach, and local organizations efforts have all helped stimulate change in the neighborhood. The areas currently considered for economic development and transit oriented development, though, do not completely reflect the possible opportunities in Hough.

Jane_blog_2_smallClick image to view larger. Hough Sustainable Development Patterns, (2013), Cleveland City Planning Commission overlaid with Vacant Properties Inventory: Vacant Structures and Land, (2016), Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

Jane_blog_3_smallClick image to view larger. Ward 7 Current Development Projects and Economic and Transit Nodes, Hough highlighted, Hough Development Corporation Short Term Plan (3-5 years), (1987) HDC, Public Administration Library.

These hubs of development constructed by local initiatives from the past 40 years create openings for economic development and further exploration of innovative intervention.


CUDC’s 3rd Annual Crooked River Commute


This summer, August 26-27, Kent State University faculty and staff will embark on the 3rd Annual Crooked River Commute. This kayaking trek along the Cuyahoga River from Kent State University’s main campus (Kent) to Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (Cleveland) is intended to promote the river as a shared regional asset for education, recreation, and sustainability.

Cheer us on as we paddle into the Great Lakes Burning River Fest

Meet us at the finish of the trip. We should arrive in Cleveland on Saturday, August 26th, around 7:15 PM. Grab a beer at the Coast Guard Station during The Burning River Festival and watch us paddle in.

Follow us for updates. 

We’ll keep everyone posted on trip details through the CUDC’s social media accounts.
Follow us at: crookedrivercommute.org
Facebook: ksuCUDC 
Twitter: @ksuCUDC
Instagram: @ksuCUDC

Share our story.

Tell your friends, family and social network about the Crooked River Commute. We’ll be using social media during the trip, using hashtag: #RiverCommute

Learn More. 

Read our summary to learn more about the back story and goals of this trip. 

2015 photos

2014 photos


CAED seeks Assistant Professor for MLA Program


The College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) at Kent State University invites applications for full‐time, non‐tenure track, Assistant Professor appointment in landscape architecture. The CAED’s graduate programs in Landscape Architecture (MLA I and MLA II) are situated in Cleveland, Ohio as part of the Cleveland Studio at Playhouse Square. The Cleveland Studio houses the practice and outreach offices of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborate and serves as an alternative location for students enrolled in the Master of Architecture program seeking a degree with an emphasis in urban design.

We seek an excellent designer to teach graduate design studios and another area of emphasis: either the history/theory of landscape architecture, or the integration of construction technologies and site engineering. We seek applicants with strong representational skills (both hand and digital) who can teach those skills to their students. Cleveland and the regional context of Lake Erie offer unique opportunities and face many challenges requiring a landscape perspective. The MLA programs focus on urban, postindustrial, and infrastructural landscapes that merge cultural considerations with ecological systems and hydrological infrastructure. An MLA degree, or an accredited degree in landscape architecture in combination with an advanced graduate degree in a related field is required. Prior teaching experience and/or professional licensure are desired. The nine‐month appointment is to begin August 21,2016 and  has the potential to be renewed in subsequent years depending upon program needs.

Required Application Materials:

  1. Letter of interest with a narrative describing qualifications for the position, including a brief summary of teaching experience, practice experience, research, and other accomplishments.
  2. Curriculum Vitae.
  3. Contact information for three references to include name, email, phone number and your professional relationship to each reference.
  4. Digital portfolio of examples of teaching, practice, design work, and research that could include: images of design work, practice‐based work, evidence of representational skills (hand and digital), course syllabi, student work completed under your direction, and any research or evidence of design research. Portfolio should be no more than 10MB and submitted as a .pdf file.

For a complete description of these positions and to apply online, visit our jobsite at https://jobs.kent.edu/postings/9230
Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer / Disabled / Veterans


Urban and Social Policy Crowdsourcing Exercise


The Urban and Social Policy Team of the French-American Foundation has invited almost 3,000 experts across the United States to participate in a crowdsourcing exercise. The aim is to identify clearly defined US urbanism and social problems that French-based practitioners could help resolve. Participating experts are drawn from local and federal government, charitable foundations, the private sector, nonprofits, academia and journalism.

The CUDC has a close relationship with the French-American Foundation. In 2012, CUDC Director Terry Schwarz participated in an international exchange that looked at challenges faced by older industrial cities in the US and France. Terry traveled to the former coal-mining cities of Lens and Lille and discovered that despite the differences of climate, culture, and language, Cleveland has much in common with French counterparts.

For example, in 2003 Paris experienced a deadly heatwave that claimed the lives of almost 15,000 people. Since then, French researchers, designers, public officials, and  residents have developed programs and projects to help protect the most vulnerable residents, especially the elderly, from the dangers of climate variability and change. As the City of Cleveland’s Office of Aging advances it’s Age Friendly Cleveland initiative with the publication of guidelines for staying safe in hot weather, perhaps there are lessons we can learn and share with our French counterparts. And this is just one of many possible areas of common interest.

The French-American Foundation is now conducting a crowdsourcing exercise to identify issues and priorities that French and US cities share. Participants are asked the following question:

If you could problem-solve/brainstorm one specific cities-related question with your French counterpart, what would it be?

Responses are limited to 1 or 2 sentences, so this exercise is quick and easy to complete. To participate, click here.