by david jurca
Early in the morning on Saturday, October 3rd, Edgewater Beach became the venue for a boat race meant to bring awareness to the exorbitant amount of plastic that makes its way to the world’s lakes and oceans. Led by Cathi Lehn of the Biodiversity Alliance and Dr. Marcus Eriksen of the California-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, teams from throughout Cuyahoga County arrived with their self-made boats. The eleven small boats, constructed entirely from plastic bottles and otherwise discarded objects, were carefully carried down by the teams to the water’s edge of Lake Erie. The large crowd watched nervously as the teams pushed their crafts onto the water and the selected team members got on board. Would their boats even float?
This question was certainly on the mind of the LoveCraft’s team, comprised of members from the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, the Green City Blue Lake Institute and Environmental Health Watch. In a boat building workshop the week before, Dr. Eriksen had given the rule of thumb, “One two-liter bottle will support one kilogram.” But did he then say to use enough bottles for double the weight or was that just because of the metric system? Well, the team would find out when they hit the water.
As the brave skippers, Marc Lefkowitz and Mandy Metcalf, boarded the LoveCraft, the team was surprised by how little their recycled matress framed rig sunk in the water. The additional pontoons made from discarded wildberry sno cone syrup bottles must have done the trick! Now the LoveCrafters would have to face the 300 feet of Lake Erie out to the marker canoe, make the turn around it, and paddle back to shore against the prevailing wind. They would also have to watch out for the favored boat that day; a sleak two pontoon vessel covered in saran wrap designed by Medina high school students.
The LoveCraft held her own as the skippers paddled furiously to the shoreline, but was just edged out of third place by another Medina craft skippered by two students wearing batman and robin costumes. Maybe the extra pontoons could have been placed closer to the edge in order to make a more hydrodynamic design? Maybe they weren’t needed at all? When trying to determine the right balance of plastic needed, it might be better to favor on the side of simply using less.
For more info on what can be done to combat the plastic plague and for more photos of the regatta, visit the GreenCityBlueLake Institute blog. For behind the scenes shots of the crafting of the LoveCraft, visit our CUDC Flickr stream.
by david jurca
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust
by david jurca
For more info on the Bridge Project event, please visit: www.clevelandbridgeproject.com
Every year, graduate students at the CUDC take part in a community design charrette, which addresses the urban design needs of a particular site or neighborhood in Northeast Ohio. This year’s charrette will be part of the Bridge Project scheduled for September 25th and 26th.
During a typical charrette, students are asked to gather relevant data about the focus area in preparation for a community meeting where stakeholders and residents share their thoughts and desires for the neighborhood. The students then work along side CUDC staff to quickly develop design solutions and assemble presentations for the community. In years past, the student charrettes have focused on downtown Lakewood, the Jewish Community Federation site, the Howard Street corridor in Akron and Youngstown’s Oak Hill neighborhood.
Those willing to brave the 65 degree sunny weather and almost non-existent car traffic in Cleveland were rewarded with discounts at Gypsy Beans coffee shop, free breakfast at the YMCA, new friendships and various health related benefits on National Bike to Work Day.
A contingency from the near-west side of Cleveland took a pleasant ride down Detroit Ave., starting at W. 65th St., and made their way to the Downtown YMCA.
Along the way, the group stopped at the Gateway parking garage on the corner of Huron and E. 4th St. for a glimpse of future plans for the proposed bike station to be built inside the garage.
A health-conscious bounty awaited weary two-wheel travelers at the Downtown YMCA. Yes, it was fun to stay there.
Could biking to work become such a common occurance in Cleveland that “Bike to Work Day” would sound as gratuitous as “Complain About Cleveland Sports Day”? Well, if the Cavs don’t blow it, there might be a chance.
by david jurca
Attraction #1: Cleveland Bicycle Week
Today starts Cleveland Bicycle Week! Some event highlights for the week include an art and architecture bike tour on Tuesday from 5:30pm-7pm, which will begin at Progressive Field, the Northeast Ohio Cycling Forum on Thursday from 4-7pm at the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch, and the official Bike to Work Day on Friday. The GCRTA is also offering free rides to all bicyclists on Friday, so take the opportunity to ride in to work and let a friendly bus driver take you home after enjoying the Bike Week festivities on E. 4th St. after work.
Check out clevelandbicycleweek.org for a full event calendar that extends beyond just this week, filled with all sorts of activities for cycling enthusiasts and everyone that wants to learn more about cycling in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
If you’re on the fence about riding to work, here’s a little inspiration courtesy of that bike-lovin’ little town, Copenhagen:
Attraction #2: Palladio Exhibit @ CUDC
We invite you to join us on Friday, May 15 for an exhibit opening at the CUDC’s main gallery at 820 Prospect Avenue, from 5-7pm.
Andrea Palladio – 500 Years
The CUDC is pleased to host a photography exhibit brought to Cleveland by the Consulate of Italy in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Palladio’s birth and the declaration of a sister-city agreement between Cleveland and Vicenza, Italy (site of much of Palladio’s work). Word on the street is the mayors of both cities will be in attendance, so come early to beat the crowd to the bruschetta.
by david jurca
Thank you to everyone that came out to Designerosa! All of us at the CUDC had a great time and we’re really glad to have met so many new people. We especially want to thank Heelsplitter, the amazing bluegrass band that travels to all their shows by bike, Greg Priddy, Indy and Greg Peckham for the miniature ponies (Cinnamon and Doodle), and Lois Moss from Walk + Roll Cleveland for bringing everyone together for Transportainment.
We’d also like to thank Kelly from KRA photography for taking the brilliant photographs shown below. You can see the entire Designerosa photo set and order prints at her client lounge, just type in “walkroll” as the password.
The new Pop Up City book we released at the event should be available on Amazon soon, but in the meantime, please visit our Shrinking Cities Institute website to order a copy.
Cleveland is a lot like slime mold. At least that’s how Holly Harlan, founder of the local non-profit Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S), compliments our city*. And what a compliment!
Slime mold cells have the ability to move around as they please and follow one another’s chemical traces, much like ants. When presented with conditions unfavorable for growth or survival, slime mold cells swarm together and fuse into a single enormous cell containing thousands of nuclei.
If this slime mold “blob”—called the plasmodium—begins to dry out too quickly or is starved, it creates body armor for itself by transforming into a hard, dry mass called a sclerotium. The armored mass protects the dormant cells inside until better conditions for growth return.
What Harlan meant by relating Cleveland to slime mold is that when faced with adversity, Clevelanders join together for stronger survival tactics (I can’t help but think of Russell Crowe telling the other gladiators to fight as one here).
The CUDC’s Pop Up City initiative, Arts Collinwood and other Cleveland arts organizations were highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article about artist communities developing in blighted neighborhoods. Although there’s nothing new about artists moving into low-rent areas, the recent foreclosure crisis is motivating communities to increase incentives for artists:
Drawn by available spaces and cheap rents, artists are filling in some of the neighborhoods being emptied by foreclosures. City officials and community groups seeking ways to stop the rash of vacancies are offering them incentives to move in, from low rents and mortgages to creative control over renovation projects.
Some of the local organizations mentioned in the article include:
Arts Collinwood :: Collinwood
78th St. Studios :: Detroit Shoreway
ArtMart 09 :: Ohio City
DanceWorks @ CPT :: Detroit Shoreway
Also check out this set of Collinwood photos from the Plain Dealer.
by david jurca
Pecha Kucha Night
Friday, May 8th
8:20pm at MOCA
If you haven’t been to the last two Pecha Kucha Nights, then you really should go and see what it’s all about.
Pecha Kucha Night, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham (Klein Dytham architecture), was conceived in 2003 as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.But as we all know, give a mike to a designer (especially an architect) and you’ll be trapped for hours. The key to Pecha Kucha Night is its patented system for avoiding this fate. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of conversation) has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown, without having to rent a gallery or chat up a magazine editor. This is a demand that seems to be global – as Pecha Kucha Night, without any pushing, has spread virally to over 100 cities across the world.
7 Arts of Design
Friday, April 24th
5:00pm-8:00pm @ Jac’s on West 6th St.
Come celebrate the fusion of various local design communities including architecture, digital, fashion, graphic, industrial, interior, and mechanical design. This happy hour mixer, a part of Fashion Week Cleveland, is a great chance to get outside of our own particular disciplines and meet other Cleveland creatives.
by david jurca
The spring semester graduate studio at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative focused on the location of the current Port of Cleveland as its site for investigation. The students were asked to respond to the Cuyahoga County Port Authority’s RFQ (Request for Qualifications) released in December, which stated its interest in selecting a design firm,
“to develop a comprehensive master plan for an iconic and transformational redevelopment strategy for a portion of Cleveland’s downtown lakefront. This area is approximately 100 acres of industrial waterfront land, in public ownership, located between the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and the North Coast Harbor public venue and currently is used principally for commercial maritime activities.”
I just moved back to Cleveland, my hometown, after graduating from college in New Hampshire, and one thing kept me from moving off to New York, Boston, or Chicago to join so many of my peers: the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.
Although I loved growing up under the shade of the giant oak trees in Shaker Heights—where I walked the block to and from lower and middle school—I convinced myself while I was away in New Hampshire that the only place to live and work after graduation was some other city… any other city.
Why was this? Many of us Clevelanders have come to terms with the fact that Cleveland is indeed a shrinking city. Young people need jobs, and they want to be around other young people. I was lucky enough to find work in Cleveland, but many of my peers have not been so lucky.
So Cleveland needs to work on Sustainability. Sustaining the younger generations so that we have a growing (and constantly improving) workforce. Sustaining the economy with jobs – jobs that could be created through up and coming Green enterprises (plug for the wind turbines on the lake, among many other ideas to make Cleveland the Green City on the Blue Lake). Sustaining the environment by redeveloping in our city instead of continually sprawling.
While rooting for Cleveland is a lot like rooting for the Browns, many of us will never give up hope. There are so many people in this town that are dreaming, striving, and toiling to make Cleveland the Great City that it is and will become. The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative is chock-full of people like this. They’re constantly concocting new and exciting ideas and then turning them into realities.
The CUDC is a Community of Practice. Their work has transformed many areas of Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs through redesign and redevelopment. The people at the Urban Design Center inspired me to re-imagine the way I thought about Cleveland and what I hoped for its future.
The CUDC taught me to once again “Love My Place” and to work towards making it the Perfect City for both myself and for many others.
by marianne eppig.