Join us Friday, January 29th, for our first lecture of the spring semester. We welcome Rick Espe, Principal at MKSK as he will discuss “Transforming the Columbus Riverfront”. This will trace MKSK’s work on the Columbus Riverfront over the past 25-years. From the Riverfront Vision Plan, through specific projects – North Bank Park, Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Scioto Mile, and the recently opened Scioto-Olentangy Greenways. Rick brings a career-long commitment to improving the quality of the built environment while minimizing the impact on the natural environment. Through each project he strives to find the appropriate balance within the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social sustainability and implementing sustainable design practices as a value-added proposition. His expertise in the management and design of complex national and international projects and design abilities demonstrate his experience in developing the built environment. Several of his projects have been recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects awards programs from campus master plans to healthcare facilities to award-winning urban parks. View the full list of speakers here. The lecture will be held at the CUDC from 12-1 PM. As always, free and open to the public.
For our final speaker in our Fall Lecture Series we welcome Nicholas Rajkovich. His talk, Designing the Resilient City, will discuss the concept of resilience as it relates to cities, the expected impacts of climate change in Cleveland, and how our design processes need to go beyond just an examination of the physical environment to include issues like social cohesion.
Nicholas B. Rajkovich, PhD, AIA is an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo. His research investigates the intersection of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adaptation to climate change. Prior to earning a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, he was a Senior Program Engineer at the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Company Customer Energy Efficiency Department. At PG&E, he was responsible for coordinating a new Zero Net Energy Pilot Program. He was also chair of the San Francisco American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment.
The lecture will be held at the CUDC from 12-1 PM. As always, free and open to the public.
There are only a couple of lectures left in our Fall Series. Join us Friday, December 4th, as Jennifer Mapes will be discussing Lessons for Sustainability from Small Towns.
Jennifer Mapes, Assistant Professor of Geography, arrived in Kent in Fall 2012, having previously taught at Plattsburgh State in New York State and University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Jen’s dissertation examined the effects of global contemporary change in small towns, connecting theoretical understandings of place and space to on-the-ground outcomes. She spent nine months in seven towns in the American West, interviewing local residents and key decision-makers to learn how their towns experience and react to socio-economic and environmental change.
Her primary research and teaching interest is connecting global and national change to local outcomes, with a focus on urban sustainability in small cities. Living in downtown Kent, Jen continues her work on small towns by studying causes and effects of the city’s recent downtown redevelopment.
As a community geographer and internship coordinator, Jen works to connect students to local projects and non-profits. Last year, she taught a new course, “Online Mapping for Community Outreach” in which students created interactive maps to serve local groups.
The lecture will be held at the CUDC from 12-1 PM. As always, free and open to the public.
Each year, AIA Cleveland recognizes excellence in design by inviting local firms and students to submit their best work to be reviewed by nationally renowned juries from all over the country. This year we are excited to announce that two CUDC graduate students received awards. Alena Miller received the Merit Award and James Lennon the Honor Award. Both submitted work from their Graduate Design Studio, focused on Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor.
The studio explored new urban planning and design approaches for redeveloping the Corridor through adaptive reuse of vacant land. Led by co-instructors David Jurca, Jeff Kruth, and Pravin Bhiwapurkar, students developed alternative visions for the local neighborhood intended to establish connections with emerging economic development in the region. Of particular interest was the potential for physical interventions to build social cohesion, ecological value, and cultural resources through short- and long-term actions.
We spoke with Alena and James about their studio experience and design process. First, Alena tells us about her experience and her project, Urban Seam.
“The summer studio was a unique graduate experience, because it required a concise analysis of the current proposal for Opportunity Corridor. My design process began by identifying strengths within the Kinsman neighborhood that may be viewed as constraints and acknowledging that the existing urban fabric was not useless, but compromised. From this point, I developed a “sewing kit” of urban design strategies that identified formal and informal design solutions that were culturally appropriate for the existing population. These “patches and stitches” create multiple scenarios for future development in the neighborhood. Further expansion of the “residential patch and stitch” included a typology study and the design of alternative housing units that better served the existing population’s needs. The housing typologies met the required density for transit-oriented development while offering social and recreational amenities to the residents. Overall, the design of Urban Seam focused on the positive impact of the Opportunity Corridor on an existing population by creating design strategies that were culturally appropriate, transitional, and a catalyst for future development.” – Alena Miller
If you would like to see more of Alena’s award winning project, you can view it here.
James also shared his overall impressions of the studio and the design process for his project, Reintegration.
“As far as the Studio experience goes, it was a great learning experience. In general, I believe that the project itself was an excellent opportunity to share insights and generate excitement for possible design solutions in a real world scenario. Being from another city, it was great to see how open-minded Clevelanders are to improving the city with new ideas. The support and feedback we received from a number of city officials and project stakeholders allowed us to better understand problems relative to the site. We were offered an inside look at how these projects may develop.
I also benefited from having three studio co-instructors. They each provided expertise from different perspectives, forcing us to use critical thinking in making our own decisions for the project. All nine students collaborated well together throughout the semester and served as a great support system. The design language and principles learned in this Urban Design Studio reinforced and improved my understanding of Architecture and its related fields.
The design process for my work involved identifying key social, economic, and environmental problems that exist within the site. The solution was to leverage existing anchors and amenities in order to provide a cohesive site that encouraged user interaction through transitional “social condenser” spaces. Interaction with diverse community members will serve as a support system for people who have been recently released from incarceration. My project’s ultimate goal is to reduce recidivism. The design itself was a response to current conditions while also acknowledging the history of the site through various urban design interventions. The programming is organized to connect people with landscape, architecture, and each other.” – James Lennon
If you would like to see more of James award winning project, you can view it here.
Alena and James both set high personal goals that extended beyond the studio requirements. It is evident by their achievements that their hard work and dedication has paid off. We can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future!
Things have been moving on our design/REbuild house this extra-warm fall! On October 17th Sherwin-Williams hosted a Painting Day at the house and a small crew of professionals painted the entire first floor & some of the second. They graciously donated not just the paint, but also their time and impressive expertise. Local sponsors like Sherwin-Williams (and Moen, and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, and many others) really helped us keep close to our budget for the project – we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Plus, they helped us pick out some beautiful colors that really complement the exposed brick and original hardwood floors. It’s an amazing transformation from the beginning of the summer.
In addition to the paint, the kitchen cabinets & countertops have also been installed. We’re all especially excited about the red maple island made of rough-sawn slabs from Metro Hardwoods, which salvages trees from the City of Cleveland. Tim Roos of Rooswork worked with us to join and finish the countertop, leaving the tree’s live edge exposed. The house is full of these special details, many creatively reinventing salvaged materials to breathe new life into them – echoing the whole mission of the house itself.
We’ve also held two open houses for the local neighborhood & the development community, and it’s been fantastic to finally let people see what we’ve been working on. We opened the house up on Halloween for trick-or-treaters and campfire enthusiasts, and the following week held a happy hour for interested professionals and neighborhood residents. Lots of people have been curious about the project, and now that we’re close to completion it felt like a great time to show everyone around.
The great news is that the house is for sale! The price is being finalized right now, but if you’re interested in learning more about the home please contact Andrea Bruno at St. Clair-Superior Development Corporation: ABruno[at]StClairSuperior.org and check out the comp sheet for more details. Thanks to everyone who’s helped us out on the house so far! We’re excited to be on the final stretch.
This week we welcome Emad Khazree to our Fall Lecture Series. Emad is a Sociotechnical Information Scientist and Assistant Professor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at Kent State University. His talk is titled, Mapping Digital Divide: Spatial Analysis of Information Access and Socio-Demographic Variables in the City of Philadelphia.
This study is an attempt to spatially identify areas where provision of public library and information services are insufficient, by mapping the spatial distribution of inequity of access to information services in Philadelphia. GIS techniques were applied to investigate the existence of a relationship between spatial orientation, socio-economic factors and information access. The findings of this study suggest the existence of a spatial pattern in relation to disparity in the distribution of information resources in Philadelphia. A secondary analysis utilized the aforementioned findings to assess the existence of patterns of library service provision on a limited data set. The results of analyses indicate that in the disadvantaged areas of Philadelphia, public libraries play the role of Internet access gateways. The findings can be used to better locate the future public library and information service centers in the city of Philadelphia.
Emad Khazraee has held a Post-Doctoral research fellow position at the Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (2014-2015). He received his Ph.D. in Information Studies from College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University. His research is formed around the interplay between social and technical phenomena. Currently, he is studying the relationship between digital technologies, new media and social change. Emad is studying the cultural differences in new media use and the relationship between social change and digital technologies. Relying on sociotechnical approaches to social media studies and conceptual frameworks developed in Science Technology Studies (STS), he is exploring the role of social media in social transformations. Emad also received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Tehran. In addition to practicing as an architect in Iran, he worked in the preservation of historical monuments and sites before joining the Encyclopaedia of Iranian Architectural History (EIAH) in 2006, where he was the director of the IT Department (2006-2009), with the goal of creating infrastructure for meaningful integration of information technology into cultural heritage practices.
The lecture will be held at the CUDC from 12-1 PM. As always, free and open to the public.
On October 7th, the CUDC hosted a lecture by the influential Cuban architect and urban planner, Miguel Coyula. Professor Coyula is on the faculty at the University of Havana. In his lecture at the CUDC, he talked about Havana–past, present, and future. He organized his remarks around a central idea:
The future never happened by itself. It was created.
As many have observed, Havana is a city that feels fixed in time. Yet everything is on the verge of change. Buildings, infrastructure, and public spaces throughout the city are crumbling due to the decades-long embargo, widespread poverty, and a complex political system that allocates resources inefficiently. As foreign capital flows into Cuba at an accelerating rate, local entrepreneurs and outside investors are beginning to transform the city. The long term cultural effects and the physical form of the city in the future are as yet unknown. And Havana’s future is yet to be created.
Professor Coyula is both optimistic and concerned about the future of Havana. He sees opportunities to learn from other cities; that every city can show you something, good or bad. But despite the outside pressures and international influences that will inevitably be part of Havana’s regeneration, his advice to architects and planners in Cuba is to:
Think Cuban. Be Cuban. Don’t imitate.
In the US, we’re on the outside looking in. But that too is about to change. Havana poses many complex questions…about architecture, real estate development, historic preservation, and infrastructure networks. We have a remarkable opportunity to both support reconstruction efforts in Havana with new technologies and design expertise, and simultaneously learn from the resourcefulness and tenacity of the many Cubans who’ve held their city together under difficult circumstances for the past six decades.
Havana remains a vibrant place, though the scale of disinvestment feels overwhelming at times. But there’s good reason for optimism and the US and Cuba gradually rediscover each other.
The Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the CUDC are exploring opportunities to engage our students, faculty, and research staff in Cuban design issues. In March of 2015, CAED Dean Doug Steidl and CUDC Director Terry Schwarz traveled to Havana with Jorge Delgado and James Thompson of the Joaquin Weiss Institute. The purpose of this trip was to observe the physical environment of the city and provide initial reactions about how future development might evolve. We also used the trip to explore ideas for future academic programs. Our findings are summarized in a report: CUBA_observations.
The CUDC is grateful to Kent State University President Lester Lefton who provided support for Miguel Coyula’s visit to Cleveland, and also to KSU Professor Anne Morrison who organized the event. Anne is organizing a study trip to Cuba from December 31, 2015 – January 8, 2016. If you’d like to see Cuba for yourself, contact Anne at amorriso[at]kent.edu for more information.
Recently, HBM Architects received national attention for their leading-edge library projects. The CUDC’s new Post-Graduate Fellow, Sam Friesema, worked for the firm and had a hand in the recognized projects. This is his story about his involvement and how he plans to bring his expertise to our work with the Cleveland Public Library and their CPL150 Community Vision Plan.
Before joining the CUDC, I had the privilege of working for HBM Architects for 4 ½ years. HBM specializes in library planning and design and has worked with over 300 libraries throughout the country. Libraries are in an exciting period of exploration where traditional library services are transitioning as technologies rapidly alter information access in our society. Libraries are becoming community centers and neighborhood technology hubs. Instead of housing books they now house activities, workshops, cafés, performance spaces, interactive learning areas for all ages, and yes, still a few books.
Libraries are an integral part of any city. As a public amenity, libraries build upon input from the community to construct spaces which meet local needs. While we can only guess what the library of the future might look like, several new projects give a glimpse into cutting edge library design. Four HBM projects recently received national attention for their innovative architectural visions of the contemporary library. I was fortunate to work on all of these projects at varying capacities.
Click on project name for more images and information:
- EAST ROSWELL BRANCH LIBRARY – ATLANTA-FULTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
- NORTHSIDE LIBRARY JEFFERSON – MADISON REGIONAL LIBRARY
- SOUTHEAST DAVIDSON LIBRARY & COMMUNITY CENTER – NASHVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
- WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS BRANCH LIBRARY – CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Projects range in size and scope, from adaptive reuse to new construction. While each project is very unique, themes start to emerge as to where library services are headed: Open floor plans, flexible meeting spaces, technology saturation, less book shelves, casual seating areas, maker spaces, interactive early childhood literacy areas, all act to inspire the next generation of public library users.
Looking ahead, I am excited by the CUDC’s involvement with Cleveland Public Library’s CPL150 Community Vision Plan and hope to continue contributing to the library world in my new role here at the CUDC.
-Sam Friesema, Graduate Fellow
The CUDC’s Future City Sessions are an exploration of emerging ideas in urban design and citymaking. These sessions, developed with the support of The George Gund Foundation, will take place in the fall and winter of 2015/16. Each session will begin with a public presentation or workshop on a specific topic by a leading national thinker. Following the public session, we will host a smaller, facilitated conversation over a meal with our guest speaker and a thoughtfully selected group of Greater Clevelanders. During these conversations, we can explore big and useful ideas in a comfortable setting, and uncover new directions in urban design that will be relevant locally and on a broader scale. These conversations will be captured and published as a book or a series of pamphlets so the discoveries made in conversation can be shared with the widest possible audience.
Our first Future City Session will feature a GIS Workshop: Fake Places and Data Shapes on Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor taught by McLain Clutter on September 25th. This workshop will introduce participants to experimental workflows and data manipulation processes in conventional GIS software platforms in order to illuminate latent potentials for progressive urban design. The workshop is free, but limited, so please register soon. For more information and to register click here.
Eschewing the conventional use of GIS software, this workshop will introduce participants to experimental workflows between standard GIS software, publicly available datasets, and visualization software more common to architectural practice. McLain’s goal will be to reveal urban development potentials that are solicitous of new forms of public life, aesthetic regimes, formal conglomerations, urban intensities, and more. The workshop will entail a lecture delivering a conceptual framework through which to understand the potentials and liabilities of GIS as an urban design medium, an introduction to the ESRI ArcGIS software environment, and advanced instruction on unconventional and complex methods of spatial data manipulation, working between ArcGIS and architectural visualization software.
The Monday following the workshop, McLain will give a public lecture entitled Master of None at the CUDC , September 28th at 6 PM. McLain’s lecture will focus on his design practice that is dedicated to rethinking architecture’s disciplinary capacities within the complexities of contemporary urbanism. This event is free, but registration is requested. For more information and to register please click here.
McLain Clutter, is an architect, writer, and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture. Clutter received a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University and an MED from the Yale School of Architecture, where he was the recipient of the Everett Victor Meeks Fellowship. He has worked in design offices in New York, Chicago and New Haven on a diverse array of projects ranging in scale from residential renovations to urban master planning.
Join us for an evening with John Cerone, Director of Virtual Design & Construction at SHoP Architects. John has been instrumental in SHoP’s development of technology and process, specializing in Building Information Modeling (BIM).
Honing Digital Design and Delivery (1 CEU)
• Model-based project delivery
• Parametric design-to-fabrication workflow efficiencies
• CNC-driven fabrication & data management
• Collaboration via cloud-based platforms
John received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of Architecture at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (2002), and his Master of Architecture degree from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University (2008). He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Planning and Preservation, teaching seminars in ‘Digital Representation’ and ‘Parametric Modeling’. He has taught at Parsons New School for Design in New York and actively lectures on the topic of Virtual Design & Construction.
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.
The CUDC partnered with the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) to conduct a planning process with four branch communities, together envisioning the 21st century library. CPL faces a challenge familiar to many institutions serving communities in Cleveland: How can we best meet the needs of our patrons in a changing context of new technologies, aging facilities, and declining population? CPL’s response to this question must be crafted individually for each branch neighborhood, based on the unique demands and opportunities present in those communities. The CUDC’s local knowledge of Cleveland neighborhoods and expertise in public engagement, depopulation research, and physical urban planning provide the complementary skills to enable CPL to take the next step in crafting an equitable Community Vision Plan.
The report articulates a wide-range of community priorities and reveals a clearer vision of the library’s role in each target area. Neighborhood asset maps, programming concepts, and visual renderings produced through this process enable CPL to now conduct a finer grain analysis of the operational costs, interior architectural feasibility, and financial investments required to commit limited resources appropriately. The CPL150: Community Vision Plan provides a road-map for actions worthy to celebrate in 2019 and beyond.
The CPL150 Community Vision Plan | Group 1 report includes recommendations for four initial branch communities:
- Fleet Branch Slavic Village neighborhood
- South Branch Clark-Fulton and Tremont neighborhoods
- Sterling Branch Campus District and Central neighborhoods
- Woodland Branch Central and Kinsman neighborhoods
The branches in the Community Vision Plan have been selected by CPL and their order of participation in the process has been determined through conversations with local public officials. The planning process is expected to be refined and expanded beyond this first group to include additional CPL branch neighborhoods.
Final recommendations for the current target neighborhoods were developed by the CUDC in close partnership with CPL and Enlightenment Consulting Group (ECG), through a carefully designed engagement process for each of the targeted branch locations. ECG’s previous work gathered feedback from residents that promote community building and address community deficits. Building upon this initial engagement process, the CUDC advanced the community conversations into the realm of physical planning. Gathering abundant feedback, the CUDC led 6 focus group sessions, 8 public meetings, 12 advisory committee meetings, and collected over 280 surveys in English and Spanish. In order to stay connected with people unable to attend meetings in person, the design team shared frequent updates on the process through a project website at www.CPL150.org.
The CPL150: Community Vision Plan articulates a wide-range of community priorities and reveals a clearer vision of the library’s role in each target area. Neighborhood asset maps, programming concepts, and visual renderings produced through this process enable CPL to now conduct a finer grain analysis of the operational costs, interior architectural feasibility, and financial investments required to commit limited resources appropriately.
The Cleveland Botanical Garden has a special exhibit on display called Branch Out. They invite you to explore a series of magical, interactive tree houses throughout the garden. Its a chance for kids (and adults) to put away technology and let their imagination run wild. Each tree house explores a theme connected to learning and fun including art, music, reading, math and play.
The tree houses were designed by local architects several of whom are CUDC alums. Two Teams of CUDC alums participated ThenDesign Architecture who built Jack and the Giant Pulpit and Sap +Iron Design|Build who built Acoustic Canopy and Seasons.
The team from ThenDesign Architecture included CUDC alums Wade Kratzer, Mia Katz, Claire Markwardt, Steve Bell, and Scott Alleman. Jeff Henderson of Ohio State University and Ed Parker of Kent State University were also on the team. We spoke with the team about their design, Jack in the Giant Pulpit. Here is what they had to say about their design process and working with the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
“We surround ourselves with design; it is our livelihood. All of us find ourselves in nature whether it’s exploring on our own, or designing within, so when the Cleveland Botanical Gardens released a Competition to design a Treehouse, it was something that we could not pass up. It combined the opportunity to design with nature in the most literal way. During the competition process, we challenged ourselves to understand what a treehouse was and what a treehouse could be. Is it a shelter? Is it a private getaway? Is it a platform to overlook nature? Could it be all of these and more?
Our love of nature skewed us to think of what nature is. How big in reality it is compared to humans and how our imagination always leads us to get lost within it. We began thinking of folk-lore and Science-Fiction and other childhood tall tales that involved nature. This led us to expand upon the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, giving us the opportunity to work a Giant Jack in the Pulpit into the story, so that adults and children alike could have the opportunity to participate in the tale.”
The team from Sap + Iron Design|Build consisted current and former CUDC students including Mykie Hrusovski, Alan Hipps, Jessie Hawkins, Adrian Marti, and Charles Fredrick who is an Assistant Professor and Interim Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program. Of the five projects that ultimately got selected for construction via a juried competition, two of their submissions were accepted. Of note, the jury was headed by Pete Nelson, the Tree House Master!
The houses each have a particular theme, Acoustic Canopy being a tree house that has built-in, bespoke musical instruments that encourages children to make and discover noises within the tree canopy, and Seasons being a small outdoor reading room for children. Both houses have a lot of custom details and features that were either planned from the beginning, or evolved as the project progressed. Another important note to emphasize is that Sap + Iron’s contractor was unable to commit to the project as it was beginning, so their team ended up constructing, rigging and installing everything by themselves.
- The Acoustic Canopy project weighs well over 2.5 tons, and was lifted manually by only four people over the course of 2 days.
- The tree that supports it is a Dawn Redwood which is a species thought to have gone extinct many millions of years ago, but was rediscovered and introduced to the U.S. only about 50 years ago as seeds and saplings. It’s already about 160′ tall.
- The Seasons Reading Room’s exterior is wrapped in Western Red Cedar that was hand-charred with a torch. This gives it its iridescent black color which serves a couple of purposes; a pleasing aesthetic, weather protection, rot resistance and insect repellency, (bugs don’t enjoy the taste of burnt wood).
We’re pleased to see our students working on such creative endeavors. The tree houses will be on display from now until August 23rd. Go out and explore the tree houses today!
The CUDC would like to welcome our new office manager, Ellen Schneider. Prior to joining the CUDC, Ellen worked as an Advising Office Assistant for the College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University for three years. Ellen holds a B.A. in Classical and Medieval Studies from Cleveland State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Sciences and a Master of Science in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management from Kent State University.
We are excited to have Ellen on our team and please contact her for any administrative inquiries.
Please join us for a brown bag lunch talk with Cuban agronomist Isis Salcines along with a screening of the film, Tierralismo.
This free event will take place at the CUDC (1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200) on May 27 from noon-1pm. Please bring your lunch–we’ll provide drinks and snacks.
About the film…
TIERRALISMO A film by Alejandro Ramirez Anderson
On the outskirts of Havana, sandwiched between highways and public housing, a revolution is taking place. Here, in the district of Alamar, a 26-acre farming co-op provides employment for dozens of workers, while producing vegetables and medicinal plants for the local community and beyond.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, Cuba was no longer able to access machinery and agricultural chemicals from its former Communist allies. In this difficult environment, the government relaxed economic rules and allowed the formation of cooperatives like the Organopónico Vivero Alamar.
What began as necessity—farming without pesticides and chemical fertilizers—has become a source of pride to coop members. They fertilize with compost and cow manure, raise their own insects for biological pest control, and have even created a fully biodegradable alternative to the plastic bag for use with seedlings.
Tierralismo introduces us to everyone from agronomists and senior management to workers who plant, plow, and propagate. The film also covers non-farming aspects of the operation, such as human resources and accounting practices where transparency is paramount.
Lovingly photographed, TIERRALISMO offers a behind-the-scenes portrait of the Organopónico Vivero Alamar and a stirring defense of the importance of farm work and sustainable farming practices.
About the speaker…
Following the film, Isis Salcines, Projects Coordinator in the Projects and Investments Office at the Organoponico, will give a presentation about her work. Ms. Salcines holds an advanced studies degree in Agricultural Engineering and has been with Organoponico since 1998. During her time at the cooperative, she has launched a new food preservation project and has focused on the marketing and distribution of local organic produce to domestic and international markets.
For more information about the event, please contact the CUDC here.