Art and advanced technology. Pedestrian friendly streetscapes. Higher education and improved neighborhood schools. Fresh urban housing and retail. Mass transit. Inviting public space.
All the basic elements of a forward-thinking development strategy apparently are coming together in a multi-billion dollar effort to transform Cleveland's University Circle into a thriving metropolitan center. The overarching goal is to improve the region's ability to attract and retain knowledge workers and prosper in the 21st century.
The project is also another compelling example of how the creative thinking and action to reverse the economic, environmental, and cultural decline of the greater Great Lakes region is happening at the local level. Not in state capitals or Washington, D.C circles.
People "tend to think of it as a patchwork of destinations, hospitals and education centers," Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc. and Cleveland's former planning director for told the Plains Dealer. "They tend not to think of it as a place. It doesn't have the feel of a place you just amble around in," said Ronayne. "That's what we aspire for it to be."