12-08-16

Advocating for Diversity: A Conversation with Michelle Barrett of NOMAS

michele crawford cropMichele Crawford presents her architectural research at the 2014 Design Diversity Powered by PechaKucha event in Cleveland, Ohio

Michele Crawford from Architecture firm Robert P. Madison International speaks with Michelle Barrett, the new president of the National Organization of Minority Architects Student Chapter (NOMAS) at Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design

by Michele Crawford

My inspiration to become an architect emerged from my educational journey. I did not have many architectural influences prior to my start on the path to architecture. My career goal was to become a car designer. I translated this ambition to the creation of interior environments and ultimately completed both a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Architecture and Master of Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The study of architecture in Chicago proved to be an amazing experience. My studio space was on the top floor of The Sullivan Center, formerly the Carson Pirie Scott Building, and I could easily visit historical examples of designs from Frank Lloyd Wright, Renzo Piano, Mies Van Der Rohe, Stanley Tigerman, and others. Using the city as my classroom provided enduring inspiration.

I noticed, however, the lack of admiration of both women and architects of color in the Chicago scene and worldwide. When my professors suggested architects to use as inspiration, they were rarely African American, and never African American women. It was through my own investigations that I found images of architects similar to myself and my culture. Gradually, Paul Revere Williams became my Mies. Norma Merrick Sklarek became my F.L. Wright. Dina Griffith became my Renzo. Sharon Sutton could eloquently express my angst—preparing me for the suppression of the African American voice and visibility in the profession.

In my current position as Project Designer at Robert P. Madison International, I am surrounded by a rich history of architectural contributions from an African American owned firm, currently led by Sandra Madison. I make special attempts to show my face to those who are considering pursuing a design career, and try to persuade those with interest.

Currently, the United States has under 400 licensed African American women architects, making up just under .4% of the greater architect population. We have a desperate need for more representation. The diversity rates nationally in architecture are not keeping up with the changing communities that the profession is called upon to serve. African Americans comprise 13.9% of Ohio’s population. Strikingly, Ohio has 2,650 licensed architects, but only 63 are African American—that’s only 2% of the profession. This disparity has been evident since the inception of the profession. In 2015, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) initiated a deeper conversation about this matter. The AIA surveyed its members and supporters about the perception of diversity and also examined the relationship of diversity to success in the field. Its closing analysis suggested changes in hopes of creating greater equality and more balanced numbers. Communities and demographics are steadily changing, yet, the demographics of the designers of these same spaces are not keeping pace.

As the new president of the National Organization of Minority Architects Student Chapter (NOMAS) at Kent State University, Michelle Barrett is working towards creating and sustaining a space of support for students of color in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). We recently discussed her ambitions to move past potential and into action in the architecture world’s quickly approaching future. Though the Kent State diversity numbers in the architecture and design programs seem to align with the national averages, the opportunity for a NOMAS chapter to spark a change is hopeful. The current minority students, and specifically Michelle, seem to recognize the importance of support for students of color at Kent State and are working towards change.

Michelle and I had the following conversation about her experience leading the NOMAS Chapter and her plans for the future.

Design Awards Michele and MichelleLeft to Right: Terrance Pitts (Turner Construction), Michelle Barrett, Michele Crawford, Teresa Giralt (Turner Construction), Amir Allenbey at the AIA Cleveland Design Awards

 

Michelle Barrett
Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD
Class / Year: Class of 2017, 4th year
Major: Architecture

 

MC: How did you hear about Kent State?

MB: As many black youth, I thought my future was in sports. I played soccer all of my life up until I tore my ACL during my senior year. Kent State was on my list of schools (for soccer) because my coach had past connections. After it was clear that I wouldn’t be playing sports in college, I had to approach that list of schools differently. Which one would provide the best academic value? Kent State was the answer.

 

MC: What inspired you to pursue the architecture path?

MB: I have always been drawn to art and design. Probably because of my mother; she is a graphic designer. But I never really wanted to be an artist. I wanted to have an impact on people’s everyday lives, to help people. I didn’t know how or what career would allow me to do that. At an away soccer tournament in Miami, a player’s mother took us on a tour of Downtown Miami. She gave us a history lesson on all the Art Deco inspired architecture and the type of events that happened there. I fell in love. At that point I realized how I could be creative, yet impactful, in society.

 

MC: Why NOMAS? Why now? 

MB: I did not previously know about NOMA/NOMAS until CAED Associate Dean Bill Willoughby initiated discussions on the topic. He was and continues to be an integral part of NOMAS here at Kent. After the initial informational presentations he gave students, a group of us students took the lead in formalizing the organization. The other students involved included: Torri Appling, Shelton Finch, and Zai Abdi. I personally took ownership of the process because I thought it was important to have an organization devoted to minority issues (diversity, inclusion, fellowship, etc) in relation to architecture. It’s a unique niche that cannot be fully realized in groups such as Black United Students (BUS).

 

MC: Have you ever felt as if you were treated unfairly because of your gender or race?

MB: On many occasions, people are surprised to hear about my academic achievements—be it my choice of major or my honors standing. After many years, their surprise no longer catches me off guard. However, I still feel an injustice when said individuals expect you to be 10x better than your peers. They hold you to different standards and it is unfair.

 

MC: What has been you favorite studio project?

MB: My favorite studio project was in Third Year Studio—The Media Center Library—a part of the Cleveland International School masterplan. It was the first time we interacted with real clients—the community, the students.

 

MC: As president what are the main goals that you have for the organization?

MB: My main goals for the organization include career development (educational and professional), community engagement in the Greater Cleveland area, and to ensure that the NOMAS voice continues to be heard as a legacy organization in the future CAED community.

 

***

Historically, the voice of the African American architect has been suppressed. However, as our world continues to change, the profession seems to be committed to making the field a more inclusive and welcoming place for all. Organizations like Design Diversity are working to push accountability in this matter. Design Diversity, an advisory committee which grew out of Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), is committed to educating, connecting, and celebrating diversity in the design professions. Specifically focusing on African American and Latino communities, this group has specific goals of awareness to the larger design community with hopes of encouraging authentic, diverse views and considerations within and throughout the design process. Ultimately, Design Diversity and NOMA/NOMAS are promoting the importance of varied voices in educational and professional design communities.

 

Michele Crawford, Assoc. AIA, is a Project Designer at Robert P. Madison International, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Michele serves on a number of service organizations, including the Design Diversity Advisory Committee. In 2016, Michele was recognized with the Activism Award by AIA Cleveland. Follow Michele on Twitter @initiat_ed.

 

 

References:

NCARB By the Numbers 2015
http://www.ncarb.org/About-NCARB/NCARB-by-the-Numbers/~/media/Files/PDF/Special-Paper/2015NCARBbytheNumbers.ashx

African American Architects Directory
http://blackarch.uc.edu/

Diversity in the Profession of Architecture
http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab108092.pdf

African Americans in Ohio
https://development.ohio.gov/files/research/P7003.pdf

 

10-11-16

Making Our Own Stories Podcast Launched!

Moos_podcast

Making Our Own Stories, a youth podcast about placemaking, launched its first four episodes. The podcast will reveal the stories behind the projects built in the Buckeye neighborhood through the Making Our Own Space workshops. The podcast puts the mic in the hands of youth, training them to craft and tell stories they find interesting—in their own voice.

MOOStories is led by a team of partners including Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), designer Ellen Sullivan, Kent State University Master of Landscape Architecture student Jessie Hawkins, community leader and independent radio broadcaster D’Angelo Knuckles, and Sidewalk founder and urban planner Justin Glanville.

Students learned how to use recording equipment so they could interview people on the street, design professionals, grant funders, police officers, and each other. The podcast gives youth the opportunity to ask adults why the neighborhood looks the way it does. Then take actions to make it better.

You can listen to the first four episodes on the MOOS website or on iTunes. We will be posting another episode each week for the next two months. If you enjoy the stories, please share the podcast link on social media and ask your friends to check it out, too. On iTunes, you can rate the podcast (5 stars please!) and leave a comment. The ratings and comments are really important ways to increase the podcast’s reach. We hope MOOStories will help people in Cleveland and across the country get a better understanding of the Buckeye community and how youth can play a larger role in shaping their own neighborhoods.

Want to listen live? There will be a live stream of the podcast at Sidewalks of Buckeye, Thursday, October 13th, from 6-8 PM. The event is sponsored by the Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation in partnership with ioby. It will be a night of readings, musical performances, poetry, meditation and more!  There will be  hot dogs and freshly pressed juice. The event will take place at Art and Soul Park, E 118th and Buckeye Rd. 

Making Our Own Stories is made possible through the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation’s Minority Arts & Education Fund.

09-26-16

Norman Krumholz | Sept 30

lectures_fall 2016_krumholz

This week we welcome Norman Krumholz to our Fall Lecture Series. His talk, “Cleveland Neighborhoods in Black and White” will explore equity planning, a theory of urban planning that Norman and his staff practiced with three Cleveland mayors (Stokes, Perk, and Kucinich) in the 1970s.  He will also talk about how an equity planner thinks about certain issues and the results of their work in Cleveland.

Norman Krumholz is a Professor in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University who earned his planning degree at Cornell. Prior to this, he served as a planning practitioner in Ithaca, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland. He served as Planning Director for the City of Cleveland from 1969-1979 under Mayors Carl B. Stokes, Ralph J. Perk, and Dennis Kucinich. 

Join us, Friday, September 30th, from 12 -1 PM. As always, this lecture is free and open to the public.

 

09-13-16

INDEX Studio: Cleveland x Havana Report

Blog_Cuba Final for KSU 7

The INDEX studio examined the relationships between two cities–Cleveland, Ohio and Havana, Cuba. The 15-week studio took place in the spring of 2016 at Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). By comparing these very different urban contexts, the studio provided new insights into familiar places and a better understanding of the challenges facing global cities.

Read and download the full report, written in English and Spanish, below.

Twelve graduate students generated proposals for a waterfront site in each of the two cities. The Cleveland site is the now-defunct Lakeshore Coal Plant, a monumental structure on a 60 acre site along the city’s eastern lakefront. The Havana counterpart is the Nico-Lopez Oil Refinery, a 500 acre facility still functioning as a refinery on the southeastern banks of Havana Bay.

Ash Pond ParkGraduate students Alexander Scott and Jordan Fitzgerald re-envisioned the Lakeshore Coal Plant as a regional destination for industrial arts preservation and production, located in close proximity to Cleveland’s University Circle arts and culture district.

Proposed Havana Bay Waterfront DevelopmentGraduate student Morgan Gundlach examined the opportunities to incorporate the 5′ (1.50 m) sea-level rise expected by 2100 by creating a dynamic ribbon of green spaces along Havana Bay’s waterfront.  

Students met with a range of design professionals and local experts while in Havana. These insights and direct observations gathered during the five day travel formed the basis of urban design proposals shown in the report. At the conclusion of the studio, students received feedback on their proposals from Cuban architects Ernesto Jimenez and Sofia Marquez Aguiar during the architects’ visit to Cleveland. The students’ design work will be exhibited in Havana, at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, in Spring 2017.

The INDEX Studio is part of the curriculum for the Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design programs in Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED). Kent State is committed to global education and expanding the cultural literacy of our students. Cuba offers a remarkably complex and locally relevant range of design opportunities. This initial studio is a first step toward establishing relationships with colleagues and collaborators in Cuba.

View and download the full report below:

Support for the travelling studio was generously provided by The Cleveland Foundation.

09-08-16

Students Study Housing Alternatives for Cleveland

This summer’s graduate studio at the CUDC focused on issues of housing in the city of Cleveland. Eleven graduate students in architecture and urban design selected sites across the city to develop a strategy for housing various ages, incomes, and forms of collective living. Titled “Home Economics: The State of Housing in Cleveland,” the studio used interdisciplinary methods for making site determinations and strategies—combining urban planning, community development, and design thinking to aspects of their project. Students studied the recent Vacant Property survey released by the CUDC with Thriving Communities Institute and other studies to suggest alternative forms of development in neighborhoods across the city. Strategies ranged from urban systems questions relating to lead contamination in housing, to dispersed housing strategies that attempt to introduce affordability as a stabilizing factor both in gentrifying neighborhoods and in under-invested neighborhoods.

The studio marks the culmination for Master’s of Architecture students at the CUDC, while students in the Urban Design program will continue into capstone research.

Below are examples of some of the student’s work featured in the report.

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images for blog post-2Student Caitlyn Scoville’s project examined methods for remediation, demolition, and development in neighborhoods with high lead concentrations.

images for blog post-3Student Lizz Weiss’ “Aff the Grid” project introduces new models of affordable housing and collective living.  

images for blog post-4

images for blog post-5

images for blog post-6Student Elizabeth Ellis’ project provides housing options for immigrant populations that allow inhabitants to determine the degree of assimilation they wish to undertake in the community. 

05-02-16

AIA Goodtime for Design Boat Cruise | June 3

Goodtime for Design_Flyer

Join members in the design, planning, construction and building management professions on board the GOODTIME III cruise ship for an evening of informal networking, collegiality and fun! Over 500+ attendees regularly attend and enjoy themselves on the cruise! Passengers enjoy food and drink while the Goodtime III cruise ship navigates down the Cuyahoga River and out onto Lake Erie. This event proves to be a terrific opportunity to network between members from multiple design organizations. Family, friends and guests are welcome and encouraged to attend.

After the cruise the fun continues at the After-Party which will be held on the private upper deck of Shooters in the Flats! A limited number of tickets are available for the After-Party so make sure to purchase yours before they are sold out.

Ticket Prices
$25 for boat cruise ONLY ticket
$30 for boat cruise and after-party combined ticket

For more information on the event including times, locations, parking and to purchase your tickets, please visit www.aiacleveland.com/boatcruise. This year’s theme is a “Black | White Party” so come dressed in all black, all white, or a little of both!

12-21-15

Point of View: Architecture + Migration

steve_moca

Associate Professor, Steve Rugare, will be speaking at Museum of Contemporary Art on January 7th, 2015. Departing from the work of Do Ho Suh, Steve’s talk will look at  how immigrant communities have adapted to the built environment in Cleveland and beyond.

do_ho_suh_04_0(1)

Steve Rugare has been a full-time Associate Professor at Kent State University’s College of Architecture & Environmental Design (CAED) since 2009. In addition to teaching introductory courses in architectural history, he teaches urban history and theory at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) and the upper division courses in architectural history and theory. He has also coordinated the Master of Urban Design capstone project at the CUDC. Before 2009, Steve was a full-time member of the CUDC professional staff, managing competitions, coordinating events, and doing editing and graphic design. With Terry Schwarz, he edited the first two volumes of the CUDC’s Urban Infill journal. He has advised the Cleveland Design Competition since its inception.

Steve Rugare’s primary research focus is modernism in the communicative and planning context of world’s expositions. This work–drawing on a wide interdisciplinary background in political theory, philosophy, art history, cultural studies, and intellectual history—has resulted in several articles and conference presentations, and a book is in the works.

DATE:
January 7, 2016
7:00 PM

LOCATION:
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA)
11400 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

TICKETS:
Free with museum admission

12-17-15

Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities

Brush Park_Emilie_Evans(photo credit: Emilie Evans)

In 2014, Cleveland State hosted a conference that looked at historic preservation issues for legacy cities. The term “legacy cities” refers to places like Cleveland, which are experiencing a level of population loss and vacancy that puts historic buildings and neighborhoods at risk. The conference laid the groundwork for a growing network of preservation agencies and allied organizations, including the Preservation Rightsizing Network (PRN), the American Assembly at Columbia University, and the Cleveland Restoration Society, and many others.

The 2014 conference included a day-long work session to discuss some of the unique preservation challenges faced by legacy cities. Preservation leaders from around the country participated in this event. Key ideas and  outcomes of the workshop were captured in an action agenda intended to guide collaborative preservation efforts in Legacy Cities. PRN engaged the CUDC to produce a concise and visually compelling summary of this work. The Action Agenda for Historic Preservation in Legacy Cities was released at a public event, held at Rutgers University in Newark in early December.

HP_Action Plan_cover

As part of the release event, CUDC director Terry Schwarz facilitated a workshop to discuss national priorities for historic preservation in legacy cities from the Action Agenda and discuss the goals and framework of a multi-city pilot project for 2016 and beyond. The results of this workshop will support preservation efforts in Cleveland and other cities that represent the range of challenges and opportunities in legacy cities.

A follow up conference will be held in Detroit in June of 2016. Please contact PRN for additional information.

Vacant Not Blighted 1 - Credit Emilie Evans_bw(photo credit: Emilie Evans)

10-29-15

Commuting the Crooked River; Making a Present out of History

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by Dax Roman Godkin

Morning. The river glistens with sunlight and possibilities. I paddle my kayak around a bend. A magnificent great blue heron rises from its quiet hunt in front of me in the river. I have disturbed its potential breakfast and it will have to seek different hunting grounds. The extended spread of the heron’s wings carries it into the horizon, two skinny little legs dangling along like an afterthought.

I am on the Second Annual Crooked River Commute down the Cuyahoga River. Organized by David Jurca, Associate Director of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collective (CUDC), this trip begins at Kent State’s main campus and ends near the CUDC in Cleveland. More precisely, the trip ends at the river’s egress into Lake Erie at the U.S. Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island, site of the Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Burning River Festival. Many of us brought our own equipment, but there was a generous contribution of boats and gear from Mark Pecot from 41 North Coastal Kayak Adventures. Additional gear was rented from Dan Hudak of River Cruiser Kayaking.

The purpose of this event is to “promote the river as a shared regional asset for education, recreation, and sustainability.” Our intention, besides just enjoying the river, is to look for areas of improvement along the 50-mile stretch of river between Kent and Lake Erie.

The Cuyahoga River has the dubious reputation of catching on fire in the late 1960’s. This was not an isolated event. River fires were not uncommon in those days, but this particular fire became the catalyst for the creation of both the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. Vast improvements in water quality on the river have come about from the interventions of these governmental agencies. There are over forty species of fish that call the Cuyahoga River home, many of which live only in clean waters.

The group met for the first time at Waterworks Park in Kent. Most of us were strangers with David being the primary connection between us. I knew David because we had lived in the same neighborhood for a time. When I heard about last year’s trip, I made sure that I got myself included in this year’s adventure by consistently pestering him for months.
Another member of the crew, David Brandt, a Cleveland Heights native and graduate of Kent State who now resides in the Washington DC area, read about the trip in an alumni newsletter and similarly pestered David to be included. Sometimes it pays to be perseverant.

There was one return member from last year’s trip, Chris Maurer, a freelance architect and instructor at Kent State, who would act as our primary scout and guide.

We all said our hellos and had a little breakfast, then hit the water for the morning.

The weather could not have been nicer, seventy-five degrees, slightly overcast, with an occasional breeze to keep it cool.

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The water through Kent was placid and serene. However, as we expected, the water levels of the river were a little low. High-centered on the bedrock and gravel riverbed several times, we scooted our way into deeper water or just got out of the boats and walked around the longer shallows. This did not take away from the beauty of the morning as we wound around the bends in this truly crooked river, talking and laughing, getting to know one another without the usual filters.

Conversations were often interrupted with the necessity to pay attention as we maneuvered through the obstacles and occasional obstructions in the river. We all watched and learned from each other, sometimes following in a member’s path as they had obviously chosen a good line through the potential stickiness, others going a different way as they got stuck in their path; the low water levels adding spice to the complex decision making processes.

We stopped for lunch and a necessary portage of the Sheraton Falls in Cuyahoga Falls. These falls are impassible for all but the most experienced paddlers.

Charles Frederick of the CUDC was in charge of the truck for this portion of the trip. Charles, a member of last year’s Commute, was quite disappointed that a shoulder injury kept him out of this year’s trip. However, his and others efforts as the support crew were invaluable assets to the trip.

A good portion of us rode with the gear in the back of the truck. We felt we were on a secret spy mission during the dark, jostley ride to the next put-in below the falls.

The next section of the trip took us past Akron and into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Read more…

09-22-15

Miguel Coyula Lecture | October 7th

miguel coyula_2

Miguel Coyula is an architect, urban planner, and professor at the University of Havana. He will give a comprehensive overview of Havana from its origins to the present, ending with an open question shared by many people these day: What kind of city will Havana be in the coming years?

The event will be held at:

Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
Kent State University
Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
Directions to the CUDC

Following Professor Coyula’s talk, there will be a light dinner catered by Earth Bistro Café featuring contemporary American cuisine with a Cuban flair. This event is free and made possible by KSU President Emeritus Lester Lefton, but REGISTRATION is required.

For any inquiries regarding the event, please contact the CUDC.

 

07-29-15

Opportunity Corridor Studio Reception 7/30

OC Reception Blog Post

All are invited to check out our Summer Graduate Studio’s final work on display at our upcoming public reception:

Wednesday, July 30
5PM – 6:30PM
Kent State University’s CUDC
1309 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200

 

The reception will begin immediately following the studio’s final review. All of the presentation boards will remain on the walls and attendees are encouraged to speak with our students to learn more about their design ideas.

Light appetizers and drinks will be provided. RSVPs are not required, so feel free to stop by and bring a friend!

Nine CUDC graduate students have worked through the Summer Semester to develop urban design proposals for Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor. They met with stakeholders in the neighborhoods, Opportunity Corridor project leaders, and out-of-town design experts to explore a range of approaches to this significant planned redevelopment.

BBC OC visit

OC walking

Early in the semester, students met on-site with Jason Minter and Jeff Sugalski from Burten Bell Carr Development Corporation (BBC) to walk the neighborhood. The E. 79th Street Rapid Station and Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone were areas of particular interest for BBC and the students.

Chris Ronayne

Chris Ronayne and Debbie Berry from University Circle Inc. met with the students to share the Opportunity Corridor’s long history and current goals.

Marie

Students spoke with Opportunity Corridor Partnership‘s Executive Director, Marie Kittredge, to gather the most up-to-date plans for construction and discuss an overall vision for the project.

Joseph Danyluk

Stormwater and green infrastructure issues grew in importance for several students as their projects developed over the semester. Joseph Danyluk from Cincinnati-based Human Nature is currently working with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District on projects within the Opportunity Corridor and graciously offered his time to visit our studio.

Georgia Tech

Although unable to join us in person, Elizabeth Ward from Perkins+Will shared her students’ recent work from Georgia Tech via WebEx. The Mission Zero Corridor graduate studio proposed design concepts for creating a regenerative, restorative, and sustainable highway, supported by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

Mike Lydon

Rounding out the range of possible design approaches from large to small-scale, Mike Lydon met with the students to share his research on Tactical Urbanism. His recent book on the topic includes a case study from a previous CUDC studio, Pop Up Rockwell.

We hope you can join us for the public reception to see the students’ work for yourself. Please feel free to contact the CUDC with any questions at (216) 357-3434 or email cudc(at)kent.edu

 

07-02-15

Volunteer at our design/REbuild house!

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Can new design and construction ideas breathe life back into some of  Cleveland’s houses?

We believe that design brings value, and may help others re-envision the possibilities for Cleveland’s undervalued housing stock. Every year Cleveland loses thousands of houses to demolition.

In 2014 a 3rd year Kent State University architecture studio led by Chris Maurer examined design possibilities for radically renovating an existing vacant brick house, 1045 E 67th St. Over the summer, CAED/CAEST students worked on-site every afternoon to realize their collective design vision.

In 2015, we’re returning to the house to finish construction with the aim of selling it in the fall and using the funds to renovate another house in 2016. And we’re looking for volunteers to join us!

Five Saturdays in 2015 – July 11; July 25; August 08; August 22; and September 05 – we’ll be on-site working 8:00AM-4:00PM at the house. If you’re interested in volunteering please reach out to Kristen Zeiber via email: kzeiber[at]kent.edu – we’ll put you on our list and email out the to-do tasks the week ahead of every Saturday. Earn Community Outreach IDP hours, bring tools for the day if you have them, and come as you can, whenever you can.

Thanks in advance for all your help! For more information on the design/REbuild house visit here.

05-21-15

Urban Agriculture in Cuba: film + talk

1026-Alamar-Food-Coop-P2

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.

isis_salcines_560px

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.

05-14-15

EASTSIDE HUB multi-family living for a multicultural population

alena_miller_Handout

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!

04-24-15

7 Ways To Become A Better Forest Citizen

arbor day 2015_560

Happy Arbor Day 2015!

Today is Arbor Day (April 24th this year), a holiday dedicated to planting and caring for trees. Could there be a more worthwhile activity? As many Subaru bumpers proclaim, Trees Are The Answer to many problems. This is especially true in our neck of the woods.

We all know one of Cleveland’s nicknames is The Forest City, but what can we do as residents to better live up to this title?

Be a good Forest Citizen and check out these opportunities to show some love to the leafy friends that make our city a better place:

  1. Get your hands dirty at the Adventure Tree Planting at Whitesburg Park in Chagrin Falls on Sat., April 25, 9am. Learn more on the Facebook event page here.
  2. Did you know the City of Cleveland will plant 1,000 trees in the next two years? Learn more about the Cleveland’s urban reforestation plan.
  3. Check out Cuyahoga County’s Tree Canopy Interactive Map to see how your home’s tree canopy compares to surrounding communities.
  4. Learn more about the Western Reserve Land Conservancy‘s Reforest Our City initiative, which offers Tree Steward Trainings and grant programs: http://www.wrlandconservancy.org/ReforestOurCity.htm
  5. Did you know roadside trees reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%? Learn more about the health and economic benefits of having leafy neighbors with these Tree Facts
  6. Attend the Arbor Day 2015 event at The Holden Arboretum tomorrow, April 25th from 10am-4pm, which includes tree seedling giveaways, kids guided tree climb, and Great Lake Timber Show.
  7. Search all of Ohio for a volunteer opportunity or create your own event. Visit Arbor Day Foundation’s Volunteer Center.

Enjoy your Forest City!