Thursday, October 29, 2015

1st Year CRP Students Travel to Cleveland

Walking Tour of Downtown Cleveland.
Each Fall, First-Year MRP students are encouraged to participate in a class trip to a large U.S. city.  During the first weekend of October, first year MRP students traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to learn about various planning initiatives to revitalize the once prospering city!  Professor Jeff Chusid and two second year MRP students led the trip.  Prior to the trip, students were able to learn a bit about Cleveland during a scheduled colloquium.  John Grabowski of Case Western University provided the first years just enough information about the city to get us excited for the trip!

During the students’ time in Cleveland they were given the opportunity to learn about city planning initiatives from various development agencies, network with local alum, and take in some of the unique flavor that the city has to offer.   The trip started off in Terminal Tower.  The Tower is one of Cleveland’s most well recognized buildings, and also home to the Renaissance Hotel where the group stayed for the weekend.

Renaissance Hotel
The City of Cleveland has a ton of development projects in the works in hopes of revitalizing the city.  Many of the projects are taking place downtown where the students were staying, but they also learned about development in University Circle, Ohio City, and a future roadway known as “Opportunity Corridor”.  University Circle is home to two medical institutions, Case Western University, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, multiple art museums, and a botanical garden.  The students were able to take in some of the action of University Circle by attending the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, as well as a mixer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Students getting acquainted with the framework for Opportunity Corridor
Along with participating in some of Cleveland’s most exciting nightlife, the students were also given the opportunity to speak directly with some of the individual’s leading development within the City.  While visiting the Cleveland Foundation, students learned about development within the city, particularly with regards to “Green City Growers”, an urban farming initiative with the goal of providing sustainable agriculture and jobs to residents of Cleveland through the use of hydroponic farming.  That discussion was followed by a visit to Ohio City Farm.  Ohio City Farm has similar objectives as Green City Growers, but approaches the process differently.  Both farms, however, were great examples of creating environmentally sustainable jobs in large cities.
Cornell Alumni Dinner

The topic of vacant homes came up quite frequently during the trip.  A bus tour around the city showed entire neighborhoods that were almost entirely vacant.  Cleveland hopes to revitalize some of these neighborhoods with a plan called “Opportunity Corridor”.  Opportunity Corridor is a plan to encourage travel between University Circle and the nearby highway.  The accessibility created by this roadway hopes to encourage job and residential growth in many of the areas that are currently vacant.

On a whole, the group learned an immense amount of information about Cleveland within a short time frame.  Many of the students valued the opportunity to learn about a new place, and everyone was grateful for the time spent getting to know their peers.  

Article contributed by: Laura Kenny, 1st year MRP Candidate
Photo Credits: Meng Yu, 2nd year, PhD Candidate