08-02-16

CUDC’s 3rd Annual Crooked River Commute

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This summer, August 26-27, Kent State University faculty and staff will embark on the 3rd Annual Crooked River Commute. This kayaking trek along the Cuyahoga River from Kent State University’s main campus (Kent) to Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (Cleveland) is intended to promote the river as a shared regional asset for education, recreation, and sustainability.

Cheer us on as we paddle into the Great Lakes Burning River Fest

Meet us at the finish of the trip. We should arrive in Cleveland on Saturday, August 26th, around 7:15 PM. Grab a beer at the Coast Guard Station during The Burning River Festival and watch us paddle in.

Follow us for updates. 

We’ll keep everyone posted on trip details through the CUDC’s social media accounts.
Follow us at: crookedrivercommute.org
Facebook: ksuCUDC 
Twitter: @ksuCUDC
Instagram: @ksuCUDC

Share our story.

Tell your friends, family and social network about the Crooked River Commute. We’ll be using social media during the trip, using hashtag: #RiverCommute

Learn More. 

Read our summary to learn more about the back story and goals of this trip. 

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2014 photos

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…

08-04-14

Commuting — and Connecting — Along a Crooked River

by Justin Glanville

For more information about upcoming trips and to learn how to support the Crooked River Commute, please contact David Jurca at djurca@kent.edu or (216) 357-3438.

My kayak’s bow splashes quietly through the river, my knuckles skimming the surface with each paddle. The water feels warmer than I expected, almost welcoming.

It doesn’t smell bad, either — just a mild mix of mud and ripe, midsummer leaves. This is a surprise in the infamous Cuyahoga River, once so polluted it caught fire repeatedly. Its last blaze, in 1969, got so much attention it inspired the federal Clean Water Act.

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Read more…

06-27-14

From Kent to Cleveland Down The Cuyahoga

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This summer, July 25-26, Kent State University faculty and staff will embark on the first ever Crooked River Commute. This kayaking trek along the Cuyahoga River from Kent State University’s main campus to Kent State’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative is intended to promote the river as a shared regional asset for education, recreation, and sustainability.

Cheer us on. 

Meet us at the start and finish of the trip. We’ll begin early morning (7-7:30am) on Friday, July 25th at Heritage Park in Kent and end with a celebration late evening (6-6:45pm) on Saturday, July 26th at the Coast Guard Station during The Burning River Festival in Cleveland.

Follow us for updates. 

We’ll keep everyone posted on trip details through the CUDC’s social media accounts.
Follow us at: CrookedRiverCommute.org
Facebook: ksuCUDC
Twitter: @ksuCUDC 

Share our story.

Tell your friends, family and social network about the Crooked River Commute. We’ll live-tweet during the trip, using hashtag: #RiverCommute

Read the two-page summary below to learn more about the backstory and goals of the trip: 

 

 

05-01-14

Cuyahoga Confluence Studio | Student Work

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This spring, a ten week graduate studio led by the CUDC’s David Jurca and Kristen Zeiber explored urban design strategies to reframe the Cuyahoga River corridor as an eco-tourism destination and regional spine for new sustainable development. Throughout the course, students worked at multiple scales to understand the complex economic, ecological, and cultural forces that would impact their design proposals. Students ultimately developed urban design projects that engaged this confluence of issues at two very different sites along the Cuyahoga River: Cleveland’s Scranton Peninsula and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park surrounding the Brecksville Dam.

The City Relink Project, by Carolyn Emmer and Adam Hirsh, evolved through a redefinition of Cleveland’s Industry for the 21st Century, based upon the rugged industrial history of Scranton Peninsula. Emphasizing sustainable industry, the site is proposed to house pharmaceutical and biomedical manufacturing facilities as an extension of Cleveland’s Health Tech Corridor.

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City Relink by Carolyn Emmer and Adam Hirsh

Threaded Paths, by Megan Haftl and Isaac Ocasio, proposes to transform Brecksville into an ecotourism destination within the larger network of the Cuyahoga River. During the research phase of their project, they discovered that Brecksville was in close proximity to another city, Macedonia, on the east side of the river. Both of these cities have tributaries running through them, creating an important hydrological connection between the two. Each city lacked certain amenities that the other city had, essentially creating a balanced destination, when considered in tandem. The routes that connect these two cities (both water and roadway) pass through the Breckville Dam site, creating an opportunity for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to stitch together the two towns. In order to achieve the overall goal of making the site a destination within a larger regional network, Threaded Paths proposes a grand, multimodal infrastructure intervention to link the valley to surrounding tourist amenities.

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Threaded Paths by Megan Haftl and Isaac Ocasio

All AboardLinking the Region with Water and Rail, by Jonathan Nagy and Mia Katz, proposed the Brecksville Reservation as a new destination that makes it an asset for regional and local connections. The amphitheaters bridge these local and regional connections through its participation in what they proposed to be “The Music Line,” which utilizes the existing Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The line is to run from Jacob’s Pavilion in Cleveland south to Blossom Music Center, with the Brecksville Reservation as a central stop. The project proposes an ecologically designed area of flooding along the river’s edge, as well as a series of recreational services related to the new water environment.

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All Aboard- Linking the Region with Water and Rail by Jonathan Nagy and Mia Katz

Find more information about these projects and student work here.

01-13-14

Spring Lecture Series Kicks-Off January 17th!

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Our Friday Lecture Series is back and we will be starting it off with a film screening and discussion. We will be showing a documentary on the Cuyahoga River called “The Return of the Cuyahoga”, a co-production of Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc., WVIZ-Ideastream, Cleveland, and America’s River Communities, Inc.

Come to the CUDC Friday, January 17th, from 12-1 PM. All are welcome to join and feel free to bring your lunch!

10-29-13

Lunch Lecture | Carol Thaler | Great Lakes Biomimicry

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Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a design discipline that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf.  The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with: energy, food production, climate control, non-toxic chemistry, transportation, packaging, and a whole lot more.

Carol Thaler, Director of Outreach and Administration for Great Lakes Biomimicry will talk about the principles of biomimicry and a guiding force in design. She led Cuyahoga County’s management of Whiskey Island, a 32-acre park on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. She also managed the Cuyahoga Valley Initiative, a project to make the Cuyahoga River Valley a living-laboratory for sustainable practices. This regional project revealed the potential of biomimicry to further NEO’s environmental and economic goals.

CUDC
1309 Euclid Ave. Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44115
12pm – 1pm

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10-22-13

Friday’s Lunch Lecture | David Beach, Director of GreenCityBlueLake

Join us, Friday, October 25th from 12 pm-1 pm, as David Beach presents Building the Livable Edge: Best Practices for Urban Waterfronts.

David will be discussing what makes a great urban waterfront and what are the possibilities for Cleveland.

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David has been a visionary voice for sustainability and the environment in Northeast Ohio for more than 25 years. He has been responsible for initiating numerous organizations and projects, including EcoCity Cleveland, the Citizen’s Bioregional Plan, Greater Ohio Policy Center, the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability, and the Cleveland EcoVillage. His writing, editing, and public speaking have helped to shape major civic issues such as regional land use, watershed planning, transportation priorities, and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Recently, he coordinated the PNC SmartHome exhibit of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the first building in Northeast Ohio designed to meet the Passive House standard for energy efficiency. In the coming years, he is interested in helping people in Northeast Ohio think more deeply about what it will mean to create a society that will be truly healthy and sustainable in the long run. He lives in the Shaker Square neighborhood of Cleveland, where he enjoys being in a walkable, transit-rich environment. He is a graduate of Harvard University.

CUDC
1309 Euclid Ave. Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44115
12pm – 1pm

10-15-13

Lunch Lecture October 18th | LakeStat Initiative

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Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River form the historical heart of our region and they have demonstrated great improvement in recent decades. As a Loaned Executive to the Cuyahoga County Executive’s Office, Louis McMahon is working on the continued improvement of the river and lake as a signature of our region’s vitality.

Friday, October 18, Louis McMahon will discuss Cuyahoga County’s new LakeStat Initiative and innovative green infrastructure plan to reduce combined sewer overflows in Cincinnati’s Lick Run Watershed.

This lunch lecture is free and open to the public.

CUDC
1309 Euclid Ave. Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44115
12pm – 1pm

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08-20-13

Waterfront Drawing Workshop Aboard the Holiday River Boat: August 28th, 2013

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Join the CUDC for a drawing workshop of waterfront sites facilitated by landscape designer Susie Maurer. The first in this two day workshop will take place Wednesday, August 28, from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. The second session will be October, 5th, from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm. Please RVSP to cudc@kent.edu to reserve a spot, as space is limited on the boat.

Urban Landscape Drawing Workshop

This two-session drawing workshop is designed to acquaint attendees with the urban landscapes of Cleveland. The workshop is open to students, design professionals, and anyone interested in exploring the urban landscape through drawing. We will spend time at desolate, yet beautifully rich sites around rail corridors, the water’s edge and vacant terrain.

The goal is not only for the participants to refresh observational drawing skills, but also to highlight qualities within the selected sites as a way to express the identity of place.  What makes the site important/interesting?  Are there elements that can be retained for future use? What opportunities are waiting to be expressed?

The end result will be a small portfolio of drawings, illustrating personal experience as navigated through the sites.

WORKSHOP PART 1: August 28th

Itinerary

8:15 am- 8:30 am : Meet at E. 9th/North Coast Rapid Station.

8:30 am – 10:30 am : Introductions and “On-Land” drawing at several locations around the lakefront. Locations Map

10: 30 am – 12:30 pm : Cruise down the river aboard the Holiday, stopping at various locations for sketching.

WORKSHOP PART 2: October 5th

Itinerary

8:30 am – 12:30 pm : Additional details TBD.

Cost for Workshop (includes both sessions)

In advance: $10

Day of: $15

Make payment online HERE, or bring cash, check or card the day of the workshop.

Snack and beverages will be available on the boat for purchase.


Suggested supply list

  • sketchbook (11×17 preferred size)
  • fat tip marker pens
  • 5B or higher sketching pencils (soft lead)
  • drawing charcoals
  • kneaded eraser



About Susie Maurer

Susie Maurer is a landscape designer and sculptor working in Cleveland.  Prior to returning to her roots in Northeast Ohio in 2012, she spent six years in New York City at Pratt Institute and working in landscape architecture and urban design at dlandstudio. There, her interest in the innovative use of materials, namely steel, in architectural and artistic contexts, afforded her the opportunity to manage and lead the design on many urban, residential and public projects.  Her specific interest in the vacant, industrial landscapes of America, and the potential for their re-use, was the influence behind her MFA thesis and continues to influence how she works as both as an artist and designer. Susie holds an MFA in sculpture from Pratt Institute as well as a BA in architecture from Miami University.