Field Operations Proposes Downtown Cleveland Revamp

Fast Company writes about a recent proposal to revitalize downtown Cleveland through a new park. Two Cleveland non-profits, Parkworks and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, commissioned James Corner Field Operations to create a set of downtown revitalization proposals. Both organization hope to use the proposals to build overwhelming public support for downtown revitalization and, hopefully, gain financial commitments from the city.  Fast Company writes: “If you’ve ever been to Cleveland, you know the downtown area is a forbidding, pedestrian desert. The main public space, Public Square, is no better–it’s a wind-scarred, 10-acre expanse flanked by skyscrapers.”

To create a new public square park, Field Operations proposes to join together a “patchwork of paved islands” into an unified park. To unify the space, Field Operations offered a few ideas: a frame, a forest, or a “thread.” The thread won the most support from the sponsors — it will include a “biomorphic ramp that would rise 20 feet above the roadway below,” creating unique perspectives of the city, much like Field Operations’ High Line Park in New York City (see earlier post).

Parkworks and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance think a new Field Operations-designed park can bring in people, shops, and also increase real estate values. A new park could lead to more valuable downtown real estate, and, therefore, higher property taxes. Increased property tax revenue could then be used to finance the park.  

In January, the design proposals will be on view for the public.

Read the article and see more images. Check out James Corner Field Operation’s design proposals (big file – 7.5MB)

Also, check out ArchNewsNow‘s report on the last twenty years of downtown Pittsburgh’s revitalization efforts, which focus on the river. Michael A. Stern, ASLA, LEED AP, writes: “The population of the City of Pittsburgh peaked at more than 700,000 inhabitants right after World War II, but now hovers at around 320,000, and continues a slow decline. Moreover, the whole Pittsburgh metropolitan area has seen a significant population decline as well, as the earthquake effect of the disappearance of the steel industry continues to send aftershocks through the region some 25 years later. But Pittsburgh – and Downtown in particular – has unique assets and history that continue to maintain a healthy urban core.”

Image credit: Field Operations / Fast Company

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