Making Our Own Space (MOOS) focuses on youth to build community environments


Created in January 2015, MakingOurOwnSpace (MOOS) is a collaborative effort between Cleveland youth and local design professionals to empower the next generation of placemakers. Led by the CUDC, the project trains middle and high school students as community designers. Over the course of nine months, students will design and construct multiple public environments and outdoor playscapes.

Britt Oval, a large green space across the street from St. Luke’s Pointe, will serve as the site for all the outdoor constructions. Three on-site projects will be built by the students to respond to changing weather conditions and user preferences. Although the projects will be short-term, they are intended to guide future investments in permanent public space enhancements on the site.



Youth participating in the MOOS project include 7th & 8th graders from the Boys and Girls Clubs and high school students from East End Youth Services. The students, along with two adult leaders from the local community, will be paid a stipend for their participation. The project will increase collaboration across community-based organizations, residents, and public/private partners. The CUDC has brought in architect Erick Rodriguez and graphic designer Arlene Watson to teach workshops. As well as, Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop to teach a week long class.

Freshwater Cleveland recently spoke with David Jurca, our Associate Director and one of the leaders spearheading MOOS about the initiative and our upcoming event Splash on Britt Oval that is taking place on August 8th. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“On a sunny Friday afternoon at the park, Jurca asks Streeter and McClain-Ferrell, “What do you hope to get from this?”

“To get people to come and keep coming back. So they want to build things of their own,” says McClain-Ferrell. “I just want to be able to say, ‘I made that.’”

This is their park made to their specifications. And that’s no small feat.

Jurca knows that although community planning often focuses on creating spaces for youth, those very same voices are regularly left out of the actual discussion. The format of public meetings aren’t aligned to make them feel welcome, Jurca says, whether it’s the time, location or questions asked.”


Learn more about MOOS and read the entire article here. Also come out this Saturday and check it out for yourself. There will be music, games, hot dogs and ice cream from 12-2 PM. The event is free and open to the public and will be happening rain or shine. Britt Oval is located across the street from Saint Luke’s Foundation, 11327 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44104.



EASTSIDE HUB multi-family living for a multicultural population


Congratulations to Kent State CUDC graduate student Alena Miller who took 3rd place in the 2015 Cleveland State University Real Estate Market Analysis Competition. Alena competed in a field of 20 students. Her project focused on the design of a community to support an influx of immigrants and refugees, in accordance with resettlement criteria outlined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Using a site in Cleveland (E. 61 Street, just south of Chester Avenue) she developed a plan for 180 apartment units plus 156,000 SF of urban agriculture. The inclusion of  urban farming generated 25 on-site jobs for the refugee community.

PowerPoint Presentation

Alena’s project is especially timely, given the large and growing numbers of people who are forced to flee their homelands each year due to political conflicts and violence. Greater Cleveland receives approximately 600-700 refugees a yeara number that could grow if planning, policies, and programs are in place to support these populations.

Her work represents a unique investment opportunity that advocates for the future of Cleveland. Congratulations, Alena!


Apply for the NLDP Cohort VIII | Deadline July 31, 2014


The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program has begun it’s recruitment and selection period for NLDP Cohort VIII. The period will last from June 2nd to July 31st.

NLDP Cohort is a nine-month, fifteen-session leadership training program designed for residents of Cleveland or its Inner Ring suburbs who are actively engaged in improving the neighborhoods of Cleveland.

The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program is a unique program designed to enhance the diverse leadership abilities of engaged neighborhood leaders who are committed to creating a city that works for everyone. Join 120 NLDP graduates who have committed themselves to building a better Cleveland one neighborhood at a time.

For more information about NLDP and to obtain an application please visit NLDPCleveland.com or call 216.776.6167.



Cleveland Leadership Center | Applications for 2014 Programs


Cleveland Leadership Center, or CLC, is a central community resource that provides education, connections, and civic engagement opportunities for leaders of all ages and experience levels.

Applications for Cleveland Bridge Builders, (i)Cleveland, Look Up To Cleveland Summer Leadership Academy and Leadership Cleveland are just around the corner. The Cleveland Leadership Center proudly offers a continuum of programs that challenge leaders at every level to improve our community with inspired thinking and action.  Know someone who is ready to inspire and be inspired?  Recommend them!  Programs are:

  • Cleveland Bridge Builders – They don’t ask for permission. They make it happen. They are passionate citizens and believe in civic action. Application goes live January 31st, more information HERE
  • Leadership Cleveland – Established. Connected. Visionary.  Combine skills and vision to make CLE better.  Application goes live February 1st, more information HERE
  • (i)Cleveland – College Interns. Talented. Exploring new opportunties. Discover leaders, spaces and the knowledge base that makes Cleveland a great place to start a career. Registration goes live February 1st, read more HERE
  • Summer Leadership Academy – High School Juniors/Seniors. Motivated. Questioning.  Active, hands-on exploration of Cleveland, leadership projects and leadership experiences. Registration goes live March 1st, read more HERE


CUDC Wins 2014 American Planning Association Award!


The CUDC is pleased to announce that our project, Pop Up City: Temporary Interventions for Community Engagement, has won the 2014 National Planning Achievement Award for Public Outreach.

Established by the CUDC in 2007, Pop Up City is a program that brings empty places to life through magical, ephemeral experiences that demonstrate how vacancy can be an opportunity and an adventure, not just a liability. These are temporary events and installations that occupy vacant buildings and activate vacant land in ways that shine a spotlight on some of Cleveland’s spectacular but underutilized properties.


Pop Up City offers a powerful way for people to envision future development alternatives and determine their preferences based on actual experiences. While traditional design professionals may find it easy to envision a transformed space on the basis of two-dimensional drawings, often the general public does not. Through high-impact, short-duration projects like Pop-Up Rockwell, non-design professionals get to “experience” the transformative potential of a space and come to understand and support a design that they might not otherwise have understood fully.

The CUDC is extremely proud of our achievement and is looking forward to more Pop Up City events in the future.






Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Plan Focused on Arts, Culture & Entertainment


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.



Corine Vermeule ‘Movement’ (2012)

Corine Vermeule ‘Movement’ (2012)

Discussion with Terry Schwarz and Corine Vermeulen
Thursday, April 11th, 7 p.m. at the Transformer Station.

Terry Schwarz, director of Kent State University’s Urban Design Collaborative, and photographer Corine Vermeulen will lead a discussion about their work and shared interest in art’s role as a catalyst for improving and enriching the urban landscape.

Corine Vermeulen photographed the citizens and landscape of Detroit in her 2005 project, Your Town Tomorrow. Recently, she contributed to thanks for the view, mr. mies: layfayette park, detroit, a volume of interviews and photographs about life in the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe buildings in the world. She says, “Detroit represents a unique and great vehicle for change where old structures are no longer in place and the possibilities of something different to happen are endless.”

Terry Schwarz launched the CUDC’s Shrinking Cities Institute in 2005 to address the implications of population decline and large-scale urban vacancy in Northeast Ohio. She established Pop Up City, a temporary use initiative for vacant and underutilized sites in Cleveland.

Bellwether is an open-ended series of discussions and events that aims to discover the possibilities and limitations of art as a transformative tool in the city of Cleveland. Bellwether is a project of the Contemporary Art Society of the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Postcard Underground Sends Their Love To Pop Up Rockwell

Over the past week, we’ve received at least eight handwritten postcards thanking us for Pop Up Rockwell. When we received the first one, written on an art gallery postcard, we figured it was from someone interested in promoting an upcoming art opening and just happened to hear about our project. After three cards arrived the next day, written in different hands, it was clear something else was going on.

Well, after a little googling, it appears we’re the (very grateful:) recipients of some handwritten love from Postcard Underground. There isn’t much information on this secretive group available – all we could find are blog posts from a few other postcard beneficiaries, like this one from Minnesota Public Radio. It seems a national network of note writers is coordinating efforts to shower individuals and groups with encouraging messages for doing good work. A pretty simple, yet lovely, idea.

Reading the postcards, it feels good to see that each note is different and the writers are actually familiar with the project. One note read, “Wow! ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.’ Win-win”, so we know he or she must have watched Rob (Homeland Security officer) enthusiastically mention this phrase on the Pop Up Rockwell video.

We feel very lucky to have experienced this “random (and simultaneously coordinated) act of kindness” and hope Postcard Underground continues to spread the love. But with so many deserving projects out there, it won’t be easy to avoid the hand-cramps.



Hipp Deck featured on Next American City

We’re very excited that Next American City, a non-profit dedicated to promoting socially and environmentally sustainable economic growth in America’s cities, recently featured the CUDC’s Hipp Deck project on their Americancity.org website. In addition to the popular website, Next American City also publishes a quarterly magazine focused on emerging practices dealing with urban change and innovation.

The Hipp Deck was a temporary use intervention that transformed the upper level of the 740 Euclid Ave. parking garage in downtown Cleveland into an outdoor live performance venue and active rooftop public space. The event was a celebration for the release of Cleveland Stories: True Until Proven Otherwise, the fourth volume in the CUDC’s Urban Infill journal series. The parking garage is located on the site formerly home to the Hippdrome Theater, a nationally renowned 4,000 seat performance venue. The “Hipp”, as it was commonly known, was demolished in 1981, so the Hipp Deck told the story of the site’s illustrious past by bringing back live music performance for one spectacular night.

We’re encouraged to think the Hipp Deck’s intent of spurring dialogue and action around the temporary activation of parking infrastructure in Cleveland will spread to other cities and enable others to reactivate their favorite underused spaces.

You can see photographs of the Hipp Deck event, taken by local Clevelander Matthew Fehrmann, on our Flickr site. Check ‘em out and stay tuned for more info on upcoming Pop Up City projects!

For more information on the Hipp Deck or Cleveland Stories project, please visit the CUDC’s website. The event was supported by the George Gund Foundation and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, in partnership with Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, SPIRE Institute, Filtrexx, Opera Cleveland, Ohio City Bike Co-op, Cleveland Bikes and Ampco System Parking.


Cover the City with Lines & ride the dambl II

Saturday, October 15, 2011
12 – 3 PM, rain or shine
Click here for Facebook event page

Join artist Paul Druecke in honoring the legacy of counter-culture icon d. a. levy. Ride the dambl (d. a. levy memorial bike lane) and/or come to the levy Midpoint Memorial where we will create an ephemeral shrine to d. a. levy. Take part in a story that links the culture wars of the 1960′s to current battles for progressive infrastructure spending and bike-friendly cities.

d. a. levy (1942 - 1968)

12 PM | Ride the dambl II
There are two starting locations for those that want to ride the dambl: West End of Abbey Avenue Bridge (West side Cleveland) and South End of Wade Lagoon @ University Circle (East side Cleveland). Riders will depart from the starting locations at 12 PM and converge at the Midpoint Memorial around 1 PM, stop for refreshments, and can either continue on to the second half of the dambl or join us onsite for the duration of the festivities. Ride coordinators will be located at both starting points: Emilio DeSabato (West side) and Kevin Cronin (East side).

12 PM | Midpoint Memorial
If you prefer not to ride, you can go directly to the Midpoint Memorial location at noon, where the dambl riders will join at 1 PM. The Midpoint Memorial location is 1933 Euclid Avenue, between E. 18th and E. 21st, north side of the street. We will occupy a small park on the grounds of CSU in honor of d. a. levy. We will play recordings of levy, and friends, reading his work. There will be levy artifacts and perhaps an impromptu presentation while covering the sidewalk with lines from levy’s poems. Ingrid Swanberg and Tom Kryss created a contemporary reading of Cleveland Undercovers for this event! Swanberg and Kryss were levy’s friends and have been key proponents of his legacy.

7:30 – 9:30 PM | Post Ride @ Becky’s
1762 East 18th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114
Join us for a drink in honor of levy and the dambl.

See map below for event locations:

View Cover the City with Lines and dambl ride in a larger map

Paul Druecke’s project, Cover the City With Lines, was developed in conjunction with the CUDC’s Cleveland Stories: True Until Proven Otherwise. The project’s title comes from the levy poem, Cleveland Undercovers. d. a. levy (1942-1968) was a poet, visual artist, and publisher at the frontline of the 1960′s struggle for freedom of expression. He was twice arrested by local authorities while exercising rights we now take for granted. Since his tragic, premature death in 1968, supporters have called for Cleveland to honor/memorialize him. Cover the City with Lines picks up the story by proposing an extensive urban bike lane named for levy, the d. a. levy Memorial Bike Lane a.k.a. the dambl. The dambl connects Cleveland’s east and west sides while linking 60′s era culture wars to today’s battle for alternative transportation and bike-friendly cities.

Participants from first dambl ride at CIA gallery exhibit.

Participants from first dambl ride at CIA gallery exhibit.

Download pdf description of Cover the City with Lines project

For more information, contact the CUDC at (216) 357-3434 or cudc@kent.edu


Cleveland Stories: True until proven otherwise

“The world is made of stories, not atoms.”
-Muriel Rukeyser

The CUDC’s upcoming journal will be entitled Cleveland Stories: True until proven otherwise. As the name suggests, we’re interested in exploring the connection between physical place and meaning through the creation of narratives. Following a similar format to our previous journals, we’re working with a diverse group of local and international designers, artists and writers to generate content that addresses the various modes of urban storytelling and to gather an archive of compelling stories in need of embodiment.

The Cleveland Stories project is larger than just a book, it includes a StorySlam event, exhibition at the Cleveland Institute of Art’s Reinberger gallery and neighborhood based temporary interventions.

The StorySlam is an opportunity for individuals to share their favorite story about a Cleveland place – past, present or future. Fact or fiction. Funny, sad, exciting…it’s up to you. The best stories will be published in Cleveland Stories: True until proven otherwise. For the StorySlam, we’re looking for:

  • historians and story tellers who can tell us about lesser-known aspects of Cleveland’s history — particularly stories that are about a specific place in the city
  • creative writers who can invent a useful fiction for a Cleveland neighborhood and convince us of this alternate reality
  • artists and urban designers

Cleveland StorySlam
Thursday, Feb 24th
CIA’s Coventry Center
Upper level of 1854 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights

Come to the StorySlam February 24 and toss your name in the hat. We’ll pick ten people to tell their stories. Remember that you have to tell a story, not read one. No notes, papers, or cheat sheets are allowed. You’ll have five minutes to tell your story, so come rehearsed!

The StorySlam isn’t only for story tellers – good story listeners are also welcome. If you hear an inspiring story, enter our Shoebox Diorama Challenge by building a small scale model of your design intervention idea. Each winning diorama artist will receive $50!

You can RSVP to the StorySlam on our Facebook event page.

We’ll release more details on the contributors to the book and the gallery exhibit soon, so please visit www.ClevelandStoryBook.com for more information and updates on the project. You can also contact us at stories@popupcleveland.com or use our online form to submit your stories. We’re looking forward to seeing (and hearing) you on Feb. 24th!


The Dreamer’s Lounge (A Pop-Up Library)


The Dreamer’s Lounge (a pop-up library)
The Broadway Free Library
, 5437 Broadway Ave.
(Slavic Village neighborhood)
Cleveland, OH 44127

Monday, January 17, 2011
(MLK Jr. Day)
6:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.

We’re excited to announce the upcoming Pop Up City sponsored event — The Dreamer’s Lounge. This one night only pop-up library will transform the currently vacant, yet architecturally stunning, Broadway Free Library with an evening of art, chess and, of course, reading. Please join us on MLK Jr. Day and help bring this library back to life!

We’re planning to fill the shelves with books to be donated to the Cleveland School District’s new Thomas Jefferson School for Newcomers. In addition to a friend or two, bring a new copy of:

From the Mixed‐Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary
The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and The Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The event is organized by HandsOn Northeast Ohio, with additional support from Target, Medical Mutual of Ohio and the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Click here to download the event flyer pdf.

Contact Jen Palmejar-Takaki at jen@handsonneo.org or 216.432.9390 for more information.

Check out more pictures of the library on our Pop Up City event page.



2011 CPAC Creative Workforce Fellowship

babylon-dahlia_450Photograph: Babylon Dahlia by Bruce Checefsky, 2009 Fellow

The 2011 round of Creative Workforce Fellowships (CWF) is now open for applications. The CWF cycles each year between Literary/Performing Arts and Visual Arts, this current round being open to visual artists and designers. Here’s more information on CWF, which is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture:

Every day, artists are investing in the future of Cuyahoga County … from the architect that’s transforming an urban neighborhood to the filmmaker who’s in the middle of a groundbreaking feature. They’re strengthening the face of our economy, our education system and our community’s quality of life.

And now the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture is investing directly in the future of these community champions. Applications are currently available for the 2011 cycle of the Creative Workforce Fellowship, a program that will provide $20,000 awards to 20 Cuyahoga County craft, design, media and visual artists. Part 1 of the Application is due July 30, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. EST, and Part 2 is due September 10, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

For more information about the program, including entry requirements, tips for submitting a competitive application and information about our 5 informational workshops, please visit www.cpacbiz.org/cwf.shtml, or contact Valerie Schumacher at vls@cpacbiz.org or (216) 575-0331, x2. The CWF is made possible by the generous funding of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.


Public Forum on Cleveland’s Historic Malls

without designers.indd

(click image to enlarge)

by david jurca


Middle School Architecture Instructor Position

progressive-arts-allianceLocal non-profit Progressive Arts Alliance (PAA) is looking to fill a part-time teaching opportunity made possible by a grant they recently received. PAA is looking for instructors to teach 6th-8th grade students the basics of architecture through an in-school residency May 10 – May 28, 2010. Both architects and students are welcome to apply.

The position would pay $50/hour, 5 classes a day for 9 days totaling $2,250.

If you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please click on the application link below for more information.

download application (pdf)

Applications must be submitted by e-mail or postal mail and the applications must be RECEIVED by Friday April 16, 2010.

by david jurca