12-13-13

Neither a Duck, Nor an Island

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Last weekend the CUDC was all-hands-on-deck for a three-day neighborhood planning charrette in the micro-neighborhood of Duck Island, a small neighborhood nestled between Ohio City and Tremont. The near-west side of Cleveland has recently attracted a lot of development interest, and subsequently there has been lots of speculation around Duck Island, which we see as a potentially transit-oriented and walkable neighborhood whose under-the-radar identity is a refreshingly appealing asset. This autumn Tremont West Development Corporation, in conjunction with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, issued a planning RFP to pull speculative development into a cohesive plan for the neighborhood that takes into account existing residents’ needs and concerns.

The CUDC facilitated a kickoff community meeting and work session last Thursday, using a series of brainstorming and engagement tools to draw out issues and opportunities from Duck Island residents and stakeholders. Residents engaged in break-out groups around four distinct areas of design potential: open space; neighborhood infill; streetscapes; and neighborhood identity.

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Ultimately, our team pulled together a working plan based on two primary organizational structures: the main corridor of Abbey Ave, which we envisioned as a small-scale mixed-use street at the heart of the neighborhood; and a series of open space and landscape strategies linked in a ring around the neighborhood, along its existing sloping topography. Additional recommendations around housing infill, connectivity, and safety and maintenance were also included for review by participants.

Currently we’re pulling the recommendations into a draft, which Tremont West will then distribute before Christmas in order to give residents and stakeholders some time to review and evaluate the work. A final community meeting will be scheduled for mid-to-late January, to provide final feedback.

If you’re a resident or stakeholder of Duck Island and you didn’t get a chance to participate in the charrette process last week, feel free to contact Kristen Zeiber (kzeiber @ kent.edu) and we’ll make sure your voice is heard!

-Kristen Zeiber, Project Manager

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12-10-13

Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Plan Focused on Arts, Culture & Entertainment

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Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood is making headlines with their efforts to provide civic, local, and regional amenities. The CUDC is wrapping up a Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) plan focused around the Kinsman Rd. and Union Ave. intersections. Development focused on arts, culture, and entertainment could augment the strengths of the civic improvements, outlined in this recent article on Cleveland.com.

Akron based design and planning firm, Environmental Design Group (EDG) recently completed a civic vision and TLCI plan, just to the west of the study area of the CUDC’s work. Combined, these two plans provide a framework for development in the coming years, as well as point to specific projects which can provide neighborhood amenities.

The CUDC’s plan in the neighborhood calls for enhanced bicycle infrastructure, new development at the point of E. 140th St., Union Ave., and Kinsman Rd., traffic enhancements, public art, and green space.  A proposed roundabout at the point would create a more efficient traffic flow, safety for pedestrians, and an identifying feature in the neighborhood.  Working with the Mount Pleasant NOW Development Corporation, the planning process will be wrapped up by the end of the year.

Birds eye view of roundabout.

12-02-13

Register Now for the 2014 ULI Urban Design Competition!

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The CUDC is gearing up to host students for the 2014 international ULI Urban Design Competition!  Now in its twelfth year, the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Gerald D. Hines Urban Design Competition is a two-week interdisciplinary finance, planning, and design competition for currently enrolled graduate students.  An “ideas” competition focusing on contemporary urban issues asks students to devise a viable financial and design scheme for development.

The 2014 competition takes place between January 13-27, 2014 and will house local participants here at the CUDC. The registration period for teams closes on December 9, 2013. If you are a graduate student interested in participating, please contact Jeff Kruth of the CUDC, jkruth @ kent.edu, for more information. The competition website can be found here, along with past winners and entries: www.udcompetition.org

Last year, a Cleveland team composed  of Case Western, Cleveland State, and Kent State students received an honorable mention in the pursuit of a $50,000 grand prize for their “Active East” proposal in Minneapolis.  A mixed use program and transit oriented development design promoted an active lifestyle for residents and visitors downtown.

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The 2013 Cleveland Team's "Activate East" proposal in Minneapolis