Happy 150th, CPL!



In December of 2018 Cleveland’s South Branch, a historic Carnegie library in the Tremont neighborhood, reopened to the public. The hundreds of community stakeholders who reentered their local library for the first time in years discovered a renovated hybrid space where historic woodwork & Tudor-style windows coexist with recording studios, multimedia meeting spaces, and room for teens. Youth were already experimenting with the interactive VR equipment, while older residents were sitting near the fireplace in comfortable chairs reading the newspaper. The crowd was incredibly diverse, spanning multiple neighborhoods, ages, languages, and organizations.

In the ensuing months, the branch has already become a community hub, demonstrating the ways libraries are changing to meet new social & technological needs. South Branch embodies a new vision for a neighborhood branch library, and is at the forefront of a wave of changes for all our urban branches.

Since 2014, the CUDC has been collaborating with the Cleveland Public Library on a community visioning process for their branch libraries, including South Branch. Through the process, we’ve spoken with hundreds of Clevelanders about how they use and interact with their local neighborhood libraries, and how they’d like their libraries to evolve. Ironically, many voiced their fears that in the 21st century our libraries may become obsolete – even as they themselves continue to revolutionize the way we use our branches.

In reality, in an era of overwhelming access to information, Cleveland’s public libraries are more important than ever. Far from simply being repositories for books, today’s libraries provide technology training, social services, safe space for youth, and community work spaces. They attract hugely diverse user groups, and could be made even more relevant to a wider range of people—truly becoming community hubs for the public.

2019 is CPL’s 150th Anniversary, with a whole host of events & celebrations planned throughout the year. As an anniversary gift to our favorite library system and its incredible staff, here are some findings we’d like to share. Read more…


Making Our Own Space


Now in its fifth year, Making Our Own Space (MOOS) is a CUDC program in which teenagers design and build public space improvements that make their neighborhoods more comfortable, functional, and appealing. MOOS began in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood with the support of the Saint Luke’s Foundation and has since expanded to other neighborhoods around the city.


Last fall, the CUDC partnered with the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization to bring MOOS to the neighborhood for the first time. For one week, students worked in Dudley Triangle, a pocket park at the intersection of Dudley Avenue and 73rd Street. This location is particularly significant to us, since the conversion of this vacant lot into a public park was a recommendation included in the 2013 neighborhood plan that the CUDC prepared for the south end of Detroit Shoreway. It’s exciting to see our partners implement ideas for public spaces generated during a community planning process, and especially rewarding when we get to contribute to the activation of one of those spaces through MOOS.


For this workshop, the youth focused their work on improving the pedestrian experience on the nearby Lorain Avenue commercial corridor. Working in groups, they developed two concepts—one for a long bench dubbed the Lorain Lounger and another for a larger sheltered seat with an iconic framework design surrounding it. Despite a week of almost constant rain, the crew rallied to quickly develop their ideas and realize final iterations of their designs. We were excited to incorporate some lighting features into the finished products, and share some of our work with the DSCDO community at their recent annual meeting.

sit and see rendering_draft

MOOS students also designed one of the winning entries in the Sit & See CLE competition, sponsored by Destination Cleveland and LAND studio. Sit & See CLE will create a collection of places where Clevelanders and visitors can sit (or stand) and take in views along Cleveland’s trail system and possibly get a new perspective. The MOOS team is building a three-dimensional viewing platforms along the recently opened section of the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway, between West 28th Street and West Boulevard. The students built a prototype on-site in February and will work with a professional fabricator to build a permanent structure on the site this spring. 

sit and see-10

Visit wearemoos.org or email CUDC urban designer Katie Slusher to learn more about the exciting things going on with MOOS.


Historic American Landscape Survey for Liberty Row

Figure 4

Please join us for a lecture by Landscape Architect Jeff Knopp on Friday, March 8 at noon at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, 1309 Euclid Avenue, 2nd Floor.

2018-05-09 001 2018-05-09 016

Jeff Knopp PLA, ALSA, CID is Principal and President of Behnke Landscape Architecture in Cleveland.

He will  will discuss his experience in participating in the Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) challenge co-sponsored by the National Park Service and American Society of Landscape Architects. In particular, he will discuss his 2018 submission documenting the history of Liberty Row.

This event is free and open to the public. You are welcome to bring your lunch. Light refreshments will also be served.


Student Teams Create Development Plans for Cincinnati Riverfront


This January, three teams of graduate students from the Kent State CAED and Cleveland State competed in the Urban Land Institute Hines Student Competition. Running two weeks, the competition asks students to analyze an existing site in a North American city and develop a 10-year urban design & financing plan for the area. The competition is an opportunity for students in design & development to work together and understand how cities are developed in real-life scenarios.


This year’s site was in Cincinnati, along the Ohio River but disconnected from the CBD by a major highway, Fort Washington Way. The students were charged with creating a cohesive mixed-use district that successfully wove this area back into larger urban and regional systems.




Team “Syn City” harnessed urban agriculture & autonomous transportation to develop a scheme to grow and provide food for Cincinnati’s local urban neighborhoods in the heart of the city.




Team “Over the Vine” extended Vine Street into a riverfront pier to make a strong connection with the Ohio River and through the CBD into the growing neighborhood of Over the Rhine.




Team “Cincinnati Greenway” emphasized pedestrian-scale green connections throughout the development area, encouraging wandering and discovery.

The Cleveland chapter of ULI generously supports the student competition each year. Professionals from the local design & development community volunteer their time to assist on evening reviews & critiques. We’re grateful to all our professional partners for their support.

Congratulations to all our students for their hard work!


Phenomenology and Ideation

Neil Denari_poster

Free public lecture by James A. Garland, founder of Fluidity Design Consultants

18 March 2019 | 5:15pm
Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
1309 Euclid Avenue, 2nd Floor

How does phenomenological awareness and a practiced optics skill set inform the design process, and what are their conceptual limits? How does symbolic meaning relate to design today, and how might poetic integrity be distinguished from pragmatic ‘truth’? How can the regular analysis of historic examples relate to a vibrant contemporary practice? How are the issues of social equity, healthfulness and sustainability applied to contemporary water design in the public realm? Finally, how might a freshly minted ‘water idea’ provide a narrative and activate space? Jim Garland will briefly survey these topics with archetypal examples and current designs.


James A Garland founded Fluidity Design Consultants in 2002 after twenty years of practice in water design, architecture and urbanism. He holds a Masters degree in Architecture from UCLA, with a focus in architectural design and urban design. His undergraduate degree, also in architecture, was obtained from the University of Louisiana. James interned at Urban Innovations Group under Charles W. Moore, FAIA, an internationally celebrated architect who was known, among many things, for his enthusiastic and skillful use of water in architecture.

Fluidity was established to create a new generation of water features conceived, crafted, and engineered for a more sustainable century with a fresh, invigorating aesthetic.

Concurrently with directing Fluidity’s design efforts, Jim is writing two books about fountains, one covering a 2,000 year history of best examples, and the other focusing on Fluidity’s projects, with speculations on the future of water design.

Organized by the Kent State University Landscape Architecture Program, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.


Kent State’s Master of Landscape Architecture I program was awarded full accreditation status from the Landscape Architecture Accrediting Board (LAAB) in the Spring of 2018. The program is intended for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree with a major other than a design profession. Offered at the Kent State University’s Cleveland Studio located in the urban core of Cleveland, Ohio at Playhouse Square, an urbanized landscape edging the international waters of Lake Erie, the program offers students a local laboratory to study global landscape issues including: reclamation of urban vacancies, infrastructure systems, living architecture, natural resources and water quality for landscapes of health and social justice through inclusive and interdisciplinary design methodologies and community engagement while adapting to the demands of change brought on by the nature of the region and global practice.


Black Agrarianism & Access to Land in Cleveland


Ohio City Farm (GreenCityBlueLake, Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

Please join us for a lecture by Justine Lindemann on Friday, March 1 at noon at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, 1309 Euclid Avenue, second floor.

Justine Lindemann is a PhD candidate at Cornell University and a lecturer in political science at John Carroll University. Her work explores the food system in Cleveland as a lens on racial inequalities in the city, and the ways in which communities work within the food system to create more equitable spaces (both figurative and literal).

Food production in Cleveland has become part of the political landscape, with everyone from members of City Council, Community Development Corporations, and Ohio State Extension investing in urban agriculture in some capacity. However, this does not necessarily translate to increased rights for mostly low-income communities of color to produce food (and spaces) within the city, or to have a voice in the political decisions around food production, urban development, and urban change.

This research is a foray into a particular moment in Cleveland’s history and geography. It is contextualized by both police violence and the spectre of black power activism; by a shrinking population and uneven capitalist development to bolster select neighborhoods; by an expanding ‘food scene’ and continued grocery store closings in predominantly black, historically redlined, neighborhoods.

The ways in which black residents engage with power hierarchies, the institutions within the city, the various communities and neighborhoods, and the limited resources available to produce (food) spaces within the city represent a powerful insight into the claims made for rights to and in the city.

This event is free and open to the public. You are welcome to bring your lunch. Snacks will also be served.


CUDC Spring Lecture Series


The Spring lecture Series at CUDC opens on Feb 1 at noon with a presentation by Jane Goodman, Executive Director of Cuyahoga River Restoration and Halina Steiner, Landscape Architecture Professor at Ohio State’s Knowlton School. Jane will talk about the Habitat for Hard Places initiative–an innovative project to restore fish habitat in the Cuyahoga River ship channel. Halina will share some of her students’ design ideas for both people and fish at the river’s edge. This program will take place in the CUDC Gallery, 1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200 in Downtown Cleveland.

On Feb 5 at 5:30pm, Anthony Rowe of Squidsoup will give a presentation entitled Immersive Experiences in Mixed Reality Spaces. This program will take place on the main campus of Kent State University in the Cene Lecture Hall in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

Other upcoming programs include:

March 1 at noon | Justine Lindemann John Carroll University | Black Agrarianism & Access to Land in Cleveland (at the CUDC)

March 8 at noon | Jeff Knopp  Behnke Landscape ArchitectureHistoric American Landscape Survey for Liberty Row (at the CUDC)

March 18 at 5:15pm | James Garland Fluidity Design Consultants | Phenomenology & Ideation (at the CUDC)

April 5 at 5:30pm | Walter Hood Hood Design Studio | Hybrid Landscapes (at the College of Architecture & Environmental Design, Kent State University)

April 12 at noon | Elizabeth Ellis Toledo Design Center | Dialoguing Toledo (at the CUDC)

All events are free and open to the public.



Squidsoup on the Detroit Superior Bridge

Microsoft Word - Creative Fusion final proposal.docx

The Cleveland Foundation has awarded a Creative Fusion grant to the CUDC to support a publicly accessible installation on the streetcar level of the Detroit Superior Bridge.

Since 2008, the Foundation has brought more than 90 accomplished or rapidly rising artists from around the world to Cleveland as part of an international arts residency program. In 2019, Creative Fusion artists will focus on the Cuyahoga River in Downtown Cleveland to celebrate the remarkable recovery of the river over the past 50 years. The Waterways to Waterways edition of Creative Fusion will bring together a group of six international and six local artists to focus on projects that connect the regenerative efforts for the Cuyahoga to global waterways. This two-pronged initiative will incorporate works that artists are doing in other parts of the world that inspire continuing progress in Cleveland and around the globe while providing lessons Cleveland can share with the rest of the world about how to revive and reimagine a river.


In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire 13 times. The river last burned on 22 June 1969. The spectacle of the burning river spurred federal lawmakers to establish water quality standards for US cities. In the 50 years since the last fire, the Cuyahoga River has experienced a remarkable regeneration and is now a major scenic and recreational asset in the city.


June 22, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the last time the river burned. The CUDC will join the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability and many local organizations in Cuyahoga50, a celebration of the river’s recovery. We will work with Squidsoup, an arts collaborative based in the UK, to create a large-scale installation on the streetcar level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge.

Microsoft Word - Creative Fusion 01.docx

Squidsoup uses light, sound, computers, digital and physical artefacts to create dynamic immersive experiences. Their work is elemental by nature. Squidsoup has worked on water, in the air and on solid ground – in tunnels, unoccupied shopping malls, forests, parks and botanical gardens, lochs, public squares and art galleries. Their works respond to the wind, to the flow of people, data and water, with digital overlays conceived as liminal materials that inhabit the same spaces as we do, yet as boundary objects and elements, straddling the real and the imaginary. Squidsoup’s installation for the Detroit-Superior Bridge has not been finalized yet, but more details will be available this spring.

Microsoft Word - Creative Fusion 01.docx

As part of this project, the CUDC is also updating a 2012 Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) plan aimed at making the lower level of the bridge a year-round public space and bike/pedestrian connection. There will be opportunities for public input into this plan as the year unfolds.


For more information, sign up for the CUDC’s newsletter or follow us on social media for updates.


Habitat for Hard Places Event – February 1, 2019

Image 17

Please join us at noon on February 1, 2019 for a lecture by Jane Goodman, Executive Director of Cuyahoga River Restoration, and Halina Steiner, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at Ohio State University. Jane and Halina will discuss the Habitat for Hard Places initiative, aimed at improving fish habitat along the Cuyahoga River in Downtown Cleveland. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The Cuyahoga River was once so polluted that it caught on fire 13 times. It’s been almost 50 years since the river last burned. Today, water quality and the environment along the river is much improved. But it’s still tough to be a fish, especially a young one, in a channelized, working river. Cuyahoga River Restoration has implemented several green bulkhead projects that give fish places to feed and rest as they travel through the ship channel. These experimental installations have begun to improve conditions for local fish populations.


Ohio State landscape architecture students took this work a step further and developed designs that improve fish habitat along the river’s edge in ways that are also legible and appealing to people. Earlier this year, with support from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Ohio Environmental Education Fund, the CUDC  took the students out on the Cuyahoga with a group of developers and riverfront property owners so they could learn about the needs of their prospective fish and human clients.


The students generated dozens of detailed proposals, some of which are highlighted in a set of six postcards from the water’s edge, designed by the CUDC. We hope this project will lead to more ecologically sensitive riverfront development and also to better relationships between people and their fish neighbors. To learn more about this project, there will be a public program at the CUDC at noon on February 1, 2019. Sign up for our newsletter or watch this blog for additional details.

Image 13

Postcard sets are available free of charge at the CUDC, so join us for the lecture on February 1 and pick up a set. Or stop by (1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200) any time during office hours, or email cudc@kent.edu and we’ll send them to you.







Zero Threshold Design Competition


Zero Threshold is an international design competition hosted by Northcoast Community Homes in Cleveland, Ohio, in partnership with Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation.

The competition takes a design-forward approach to accessibility that encompasses new construction, the retrofit of existing housing, accessible public space design, and holistic urban design strategies aimed at eliminating physical and social barriers. The competition is open to students and professionals with awards in multiple categories.

Competition brief and registration available in January, 2019. Submissions due in May, 2019.

$10,000 in awards with an opportunity to implement some of the winning ideas, thanks to the generosity of the Cleveland Foundation.

More information


Making Our Own Stories


MOOStories_Ep24_Donald Black Jr

Making Our Own Stories is puts the mic in the hands of middle and high school students, training them to craft and tell stories in their own voices. This placemaking podcast reveals the stories behind the people and projects transforming Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood through the Making Our Own Space youth-build program. Listen to the latest podcasts at wearemoos.org.


The Art of Engagement



Please join us for a lecture by Marie Bukowski on Friday, November 9 at noon at the CUDC.

Marie is an internationally recognized printmaker and the Director of the School of Art at Kent State University. Her talk is entitled, The Art of Engagement.

Community engagement is the foundational cornerstone of a community’s culture. Community engagement is the equivalent to cultural excellence. The role of artists is unique and evolving, frequently reflecting on current issues, challenging societal restrictions and mores, sometimes creating beauty and order, sometimes demonstrating the inherent chaos of contemporary life, addressing government decisions and asking philosophical questions. Artists have been visionaries, provocateurs, and iconoclasts, sometimes praised for their ability to conceptualize the future, and other times chastised for breaking with the norm.


Artists in the 21st century operate in a fascinating environment, unlike that of their predecessors. Advances in technology have made previously unimaginable concepts wholly possible. This idea serves as a home to artists whose practices encompass this developing interdisciplinary approach; artists who imagine the future, who question the direction of humanity, who are able to synthesize the constantly changing technology, viewpoints and culture into their artistic vision. Artists who would take part in this creative inquiry are frequently risk-takers, challenging commonly held beliefs. With the support of the creative inquiry, these artists are able to pursue their vision, communicate with targeted audiences and impact the global community.


This lecture is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The CUDC is located at 1309 Euclid Avenue, on the second floor. Ring the intercom by the front door to be buzzed in.


KSU Landscape Architecture Open House

MLA openhouse web

KSU Landscape Architecture Open House
Wednesday Nov 14th 2-6pm

Are you are considering studying Landscape Architecture and design? This one afternoon Open House offers an introduction to the discipline of landscape architecture through observing design presentations by current graduate students, an information session with faculty, tour the KSU’s CAED Cleveland Studios and the CUDC. Followed by International Landscape Architect Virginia Burt, FASLA lecture “Keeping On”: Design Inspiration in the Age of the Anthropocene www.vburtdesigns.com at 6pm as part of the CUDC Lecture series and is a public event, reception to follow.


ALTERNATIVES TO THE PRESENT a Conference on Urban Futures


Kent State Teams up with the AMPS Group to host Alternatives to the Present a Conference on Urban Futures – October 31 to November 2

Starting on Halloween, Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design will host an international conference on urban futures at the at the CUDC’s home in CAED’s Cleveland site in Playhouse Square. The conference will open with a keynote lecture on the 31st at 6:00pm (free and open to the public), with paper sessions all day on November 1 and 2 (registration required). The CAED’s partner in this effort is Architecture Media Politics Society, an international group of scholars that publish interdisciplinary inquiry on the politics and representation of contemporary architecture and urbanism.


Theme Virtually every 21st century statement on cities begins by acknowledging that this is the century of global urbanization. While we can’t say exactly how our cities will evolve in response to the enormous social and ecological transformations that are underway, we can say that there will be no return to mid-twentieth century statist models, and that there may not be much more life in the Neoliberal economic principles that have defined urban possibilities in the last 40 years. We can also say that, to date, architects, urbanists, planners, sociologists, human geographers and community activists have played only a limited role in informing the ongoing transformation. Most urban development decisions today have a lot to do with speculative finance and flows of capital, and those who seek positive change in cities often struggle to work with, or around, that reality.

The goal of this conference is to look critically at how various disciplines study the city and to consider how the knowledge base of one discipline should more fully inform another. In the final analysis this conference seeks to better comprehend what a 21st century model of the theory-practice relationship in urbanism might look like and whether, under current economic models, such an alignment is possible, or even desirable.

While the conference examines international experience, its host city is significant to the theme. Unevenly developed cities such as Cleveland exhibit a patchwork of economies, market conditions, and forms of social dislocation. They provide compelling laboratories for examining the social, political, economic, and design issues of concern in many cities in both legacy and emerging economies.


Keynote Anya Sirota, Associate Professor, Taubman School of Architecture and Planning, University of Michigan

Anya Sirota works at the intersection of media, urban politics, and design, both in her teaching at U of M and with her co-principal Jean Louis Farges in the Detroit-based firm Akoaki Design. Through temporary installations and sustained work with grassroots organizations, Sirota seeks to devise modes of urban development that foster both equity and glamour in the culturally rich and economically parched landscape of the so-called rust belt.


Alternatives to the Present: A Conference on Architecture, Sociology, Urbanism, and Planning

Where: 1309 Euclid Avenue

When: October 31 (evening keynote) – November 1 & 2 (all-day sessions, $250 registration, check only)

Who: Over sixty scholars from four continents

More Information: architecturemps/Cleveland/

Questions: Professor Steve Rugare at srugare@kent.edu



we-re hiring

The Cleveland Urban Design Center is a non-profit, community design practice of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University. The CUDC conducts research, provides technical design assistance to communities, and supports public education and design advocacy programs. The CUDC is located in downtown Cleveland, where it shares space with Kent State’s Graduate Programs in Urban Design, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture.

The CUDC is seeking a Senior Urban Designer with broad multi-disciplinary design experience, an interest in urban design education, and a commitment to public involvement in the design process. He or she will be involved in all aspects of the CUDC’s operations, working closely with the director in initiating new programs, advancing the mission and activities of the organization, leading design projects, and developing proposals for research grants and technical service contracts. Depending on interests and qualifications, the Senior Urban Designer may also contribute to design studios and/or seminars of Kent State’s Graduate Programs.

Minimum qualifications are: an advanced degree in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture or planning; six (6) or more years of experience in urban design or related practice; excellent design, graphic, and communication skills; knowledge of advanced computer applications; and a record of successful grant writing and fundraising experience. Preferred qualifications include digital fabrication experience; teaching experience; and published project work and/or research.

Kent State University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

For official job description, please see the posting on the Kent State University Employment Site