05-08-09

CircletheUSA.com visits Cleveland

CircletheUSA.com, a website maintained by the Planning Commissioners Journal, is currently undertaking a cross-country road trip documenting notable city planning projects along the way. The recently concluded first leg of the trip stretched from Vermont to Cleveland and the second leg will continue on to Chicago. reimagining-cover

While in Cleveland, the blog’s author met with Terry Schwarz, Senior Planner from the CUDC, Bob Brown, Planning Director for the City of Cleveland and Bobbi Reichtell, Senior Vice President for Programs at Neighborhood Progress Inc., to discuss the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland report. The visit and subsequent thoughts on Cleveland’s progressive strategy for addressing vacancy are presented in the Audacious…or Realistic? post. 

An excerpt from the post highlights the broad spectrum of issues the Re-Imagining Cleveland work addresses - from economic and ecological to social and health concerns:  

As the Re-Imagining Cleveland report notes, “vacant sites with exposed soil contribute to airborne lead levels in the city’s neighborhoods … in many neighborhoods, over 30% of children test positive for lead poisoning each year … this is a public health crisis and a major social and economic challenge.” There is even research being conducted, Schwarz told me, on using spinach and other plants to extract lead from contaminated soil, something that would mesh with expanded urban farming.

The key point, Schwarz says, is that “green space needs to be viewed as more than just vacant land.”

The entire Re-Imagining A More Sustainable Cleveland report and the companion Vacant Land Re-Use Pattern Book can be downloaded at the CUDC’s new Shrinking Cities Institute website.

by david jurca

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