Urban regeneration : East Cleveland's Superior Avenue as the "Street of the future"
East Cleveland, Ohio is a city that has seen its prosperity fall into a grey period but is finally ready to forward toward a more colorful future. This once thriving 3mi2 industrial-metropolis has slowly degraded into a state of urban decay and widespread poverty. East Cleveland’s main arterial road, Superior Avenue, was at one point the commercial center of the city. It was the center of both the city's economy and its public space. Most importantly, it was the center of the inedible character of East Cleveland. This blue-collar, working class character has become lost amongst broken glass, plywood covered windows, and untamed landscapes. Beautiful boarded up buildings, abandoned lots, and empty storefronts line a majority of this 1 .5mi stretch of Superior. Because of its importance to the Greater Cleveland Area and its prime location within the context of the city as a whole, East Cleveland was the perfect location for an urban regeneration project that reconsidered Superior Avenue as Cleveland's new "Garden District".
East Cleveland needs to move away from its unsustainable past and toward a more productive and sustainable future. Overall, this design proposal responds to the countless voided spaces that exist on Superior Avenue. These spaces are in the form of unused parking, abandoned buildings, and empty lots. Not only are these voids unsightly, they are a waste of essential spaces that could be transformed into vital assets for the East Cleveland community. The design proposes that these spaces be re-envisioned as areas for the production of food, clean energy, and art. This network of productive spaces is bound together by an almost "greenway-like" right-of-way (street trees, a prevalent vegetated swale, separated bike line, pocket parks, and numerous living wall systems). Even the road itself acts as a productive entity as it allows water to percolate into a subsurface drainage system that is cycled throughout irrigation systems. The entire design is anchored by a new Biological Testing Center for the Cleveland Clinic that has been proposed on the site.
Transforming Superior Avenue into Cleveland's new "Garden District" will attract new residents and help create a more economically stable environment. The design accommodates current residents, students (from nearby Case Western Reserve University), young professionals, doctors (from the nearby Cleveland Clinic), organic farmers, and emerging artists. All of these users will be able to access their places of work easily via transit, walking, or bicycling. The residents of the new "Garden District will be able to live comfortable lives knowing that the place they call home will be sustainable, exciting, and beautiful for a long time to come.