At the junction of 6 streets: Eagle Street, Woodland Avenue, Broadway Avenue, Sheriff Street, Ontario Street and Factory Street, lies a prominent junction in downtown Cleveland. The junction seemed to be on the boundary between Lakewood in the west and Downtown Cleveland to the east. It functioned as an integrated network of street work and structure formed out of the buildings around it. It was as if the street junction dictated the stores and dwellings around it.
The location seemed be a perfect location for a market. Opened in the middle of the 19th century, Central Market attracted street vendors and farmers from outside of the city. As popularity grew, so did the value of the land adjacent to it. As a result, businesses and developers were attracted to the area and brought with them traffic and density. Stores of 2 and 3 stories tall lined the streets around this junction in the late 19th century. It became a significant retail district in the city. Essential to the success of the market was Cleveland Provision Company, functioning as a storage facility and a meatpacking and shipping center.
In immediate proximity to the market lay a bowling alley, several convenience stores and fresh produce stores, a tobacco store, and a few residential units. The single-family housing units along Eagle Avenue appealed to the middle-class residents who were attracted to the convenient location and able to live comfortably within the urban chaos that was occurring in the streets. As more vehicles began crowding the streets, these residents were forced to consolidate their property. Developers responded by building apartment buildings that could satisfy more than one family, a new school called “Eagle School” on Eagle Avenue, a bank, and a new shopping strip along Ontario.
As more tenants began flooding Central Market, more land was required and congestion became a major concern. On Sundays, when the market attracted the most buyers, it was almost impossible to drive through the junction. As a result, sanitation, hygiene, over-crowding, and littering became major problems. The city organized programs and took planning initiatives to manage these problems in effective ways such as widening the streets and directing traffic. However, it didn’t seem to resolve the congestion entirely. By 1910 Central Market was at its height.
In the early half of the 20th century, a fire broke out at Central Market, spreading quickly and fueled by the wood construction and poor fire-resistive materials. An entire strip of stores burnt to the ground in the matter of hours and was never re-built. The junction lost its appeal in the matter of hours. Residents moved away, dismayed by the effect the fire had on them and the land. They became attracted to the suburban towns that were quickly emerging adjacent to downtown. With the automobile becoming more economical and convenient, people found that they could drive to work in a matter of minutes.
After the great fire, the junction turned into a park. It attracted few people, very rarely able to expose its land value. With the constant flow of traffic through the site, the lack of maintenance and care, and an inability to redefine the land after the fire, the land as a result became disregarded and forgotten. A few buildings emerged, such as a new post office, the Cleveland Trade School, and a Packaging company. The buildings brought little success and lacked the ability to grow.
Traffic flow became a primary concern. New routes were established but didn’t seem to solve the problem. As highway networks appeared, Cleveland became immediately attracted to the idea of an infrastructure connecting it with the rest of America. The junction that once served the traffic of a few local streets and a main street now transformed into a junction of highways: interstate 77, route 8, and I-90. The junction once again was transformed. It no longer appealed to the people in the way it did decades before.
We see this junction as an interchange of road systems; structures that wrap and define boundaries, guide our movement, and cut through space. The “market-goer” is now the driver. The vendor is now the government official. What used to be a Market for social activity in now a network of concrete and asphalt. Few buildings surrounded themselves around the junction: an administrative building, a hospital, and a community college, among others. The junction was littered with parking lots and highways of railways and vehicles. The junction solved the problem of circulation but denied to resolve the character it once inspired.
Great Streets by Allan Jacobs
This reading recognizes how city patterns change over time. It gives the example of downtown Boston, a particular example of a city whose scale and complexity changed in reflection of a compulsion to be up to date, “to achieve a kind of modernity.” Highway and public redevelopment initiates cause downtown to lose its character and become more like others. The complexity is lost, and the blocks become larger. Take for instance, Central Market, which used to be in Cleveland up until the middle of the 20th century, lay at the junction of 6 or so prominent streets in Cleveland: Ontario, Woodland, Eagle, Broadway, Sheriff, and Factory Street. The atmosphere was once lively and energetic. After a great fire that character was never redefined and was lost. A highway interchange now takes its place and the city pattern is completely changed. The white areas on the Cleveland map are now more bold and defined. Contemporary city planning does just this to a city: it loses its image in place of organization and order.
The Uses of Sidewalks: Safety in "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs
This excerpt addresses the issue of safety on city streets. I believe that the most important asset to a safe and secure city is to fill the city with people. However, you must also provide for those people efficient and healthy environments to live and work. A challenge that many designers face is how to make the “in-between” spaces safe: the alleyways, the parking lots, the streets, and the plazas. Coming to Cleveland, I envisioned the most unsecure place to be dark, shallow, narrow, bounded, deserted, and isolated from people. For the most part, my vision still holds. However, most recently my car was stolen from a parking lot right down the street from where I work. It was stolen in the middle of the day in broad daylight! While reading this, I couldn’t help but compare this parking lot to what Jacobs defines as safe and unsafe places. If occupied buildings and streets fronted this parking lot, then security would have never been an issue. The presence of people is in fact a security measure, and that would have made all the difference.
Prerequisites for Planning
This reading distinguishes between public and private spaces in a clear and logical way. When designing for residents in a complex building, the design for the 20 square foot balcony almost becomes as important as the 2000 square foot communal space. The private spaces are more personal and have a direct relationship with the inhabitants. Having multiple private spaces adjacent to one another is a strong representation of an effort to establish relationships between neighbors. Having this condition in adjacency to a public space such as a walkway, street or plaza is just as important. Being able to create transparent boundaries seems to be the task at hand, and doing so almost encourages this relationship that is ever so desirable. The question becomes how do we create these boundaries that serve two different, contradictory functions: provide a sense of enclosure for privacy and also encourage interaction between neighbors?
In order to design a successful city, one must think like a marketer, among many other things. When this reading discusses the vertical limits in the field of vision and the strategies that supermarkets take to get the most money from the buyer, it sparked an interesting topic that I believe could be applied to the design of cities. It mentions the shelving strategy; in which the regular goods are placed below the eye level and unique goods are placed at eye level; encouraging the consumer to buy impulsively. It fails to mention another important strategy that supermarkets are famous for. Perhaps the best example is Walmart, which practically redefined the store layout we are familiar with today. The basic techniques for store layouts that seek to capitalize on the amount of time a consumer spends in the store is this: place convenient goods in the back of the store, endcap displays and finally, placing impulsive goods such as magazines and batteries in the check out lane. Milk jugs are always placed at the back of the store for a reason. Have you ever gone to the grocery store and bought everything on your list and nothing more? Can this strategy be applied to cities? I believe so. Instead of placing a baseball stadium in proximity to highway exit, why not place it down the commercial street on the other side of the city. The occasional city-dweller now must pass a strip of retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and public plazas before they can finally get to their destination. It almost forces the person to engage the city more, even if it’s simply the observation we seek.
This reading distinguishes between “warm” spaces and “cold” spaces when comparing the different dimensions and intensities in various contact situations. It takes into account the human scale in different situations. The intense, narrow, and modest dimensions that define the warm spaces are crucial in the public spaces. The vision of the city can often be changed by how people perceive these intimate spaces: the architectural details, the street-side context, and the “off the beaten path” experience. As designers, we must know where these places should be and we must be able to distinguish these from the “cold” places: the large spaces, wide streets and tall buildings that create an impersonal relationship. I believe too much of one type of space results in negative results; there must be a balance between both types for a city to be successful.
What a trip Tommy and I had this weekend on our site visit! We met with two people at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and discussed the impact of stormwater and gathered information about the Doan Brook Watershed. Th visit was very informative and we took lots of pictures; even went on a nature hike exploring the marshes and the many different types of invasive and native plants in the area.
While on our site visit, we mapped out regions of ecological foci. Forests were mapped as young, moderate, or mature, and we also took note of topography, density, soil types (for as much as we knew), and habitat. We followed the entire length of the watershed. The first area we found interesting was a parking--> slope--> basin--> wetland park. It was very interesting to note that someone was able to efficiently control stormwater in a way we learned about in class.
The next place we found interesting was an area where we found the watershed being split in two: on either side of the railroad. We found controlled, engineered concrete ditches on either side. These are not ideal because they increase stormwater flow. To help the environment, I threw some rocks in the way!
Down along the railroad, we found a stormwater management failure. Because of sedimentation and erosion, a split occurred in an engineered depression to channel the water, resulting in breakage. We noticed concrete pavers used to slow down the stormwater, but because the system was broken it was almost useless. We determined that the system was used to control stormwater away from the railway.
Finally, we visited many vacant sites. One in particular seemed to be an abandoned house left after a fire. We couldn't help but wonder what happened to the site. We saw nature already beginning to take over. The site was littered with garbage as well. We were surprised by the amount of vacant sites we found.
Overall, the visit was very successful. We would like to thank the rain for allowing us to document stormwater firsthand. We are excited to see how this analysis will play out. More information to come this week.
The Dugway Brook Watershed (Cleveland, East Side) is approx. 9 square miles and contained within the cities of Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland and University Heights. Most of the watershed has been culverted, meaning it runs underground through storm sewer pipes. This was done in order to make room for urban development. Approximately 94% of the watershed has been developed. In only a select few areas is the watershed developed: Forest Hill Park in Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland Heights, and Bratenahl before entering Lake Erie.
Nine Mile Creek is the same story. Only small pockets of the watershed are exposed. Nine Mile Creek runs through the communities of University Heights, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Cleveland and Bratenahl. It drains approximately 18 square miles and is 11 miles long.
The question I asked while doing my research was: Why was their such a need to enclose these valuable watersheds? After further reseach, I found out that urban development was in fact, the primary concern. In 1912 the Ohio Board of Health approached the City of Cleveland with concern for the contamination into the watershed. Today, the watershed experiences nutrient overflow and stormwater drainage through pipes. This project we will be looking more into the impacts of stormwater and stormwater management and how people and development are affecting ecology.
Whether large or small, virtually all design and planning efforts should evaluate likely project effects on living systems. Failing to routinely do so risks damage to those systems. Broad planning should explicitly incorporate living systems, from research and collection stage to the analytical stage and finally, to the project planning and implementation. Planning should be evaluated to determine if stated goals are accomplished as well as if the aftermath of projects includes unexpected consequences.
The City Image and its Elements
I admire the clarity and organization of this book by Kevin Lynch. The path, which Lynch recognizes as “channels along which the observer customarily, occasionally, or potentially moves,” can be misleading from the image of the city. Particularly, the freeway, which divides and cuts through the city, separating the elements into districts and zones. The freeway makes the subject oblivious to their surrounding; camouflaging the image of the city in place of road signs and traffic. Take for example, the shoreway in Cleveland, which runs from Lakewood through downtown Cleveland. The shoreway portrays this role as a divider. The numerous exits and turns distract the driver from recognizing the city around them. Coming off an exit ramp is “typically a moment of severe disorientation.” As Lynch notes, even familiar drivers show a surprising’ lack of knowledge of the freeway system and its connections in the case with Los Angeles. Another good example is Pittsburgh. I find myself paying close attention to the complex transportation routes and interchanges rather than taking in the image of the city.
My first comment leads to another observation I’ve made in the case of the image of the city. I have noticed, through my experience so far in Cleveland, that the junction, or the place of a break in transportation, has a compelling significance for the city observer. Lynch notes these areas as being nodes into which the observer can enter. As Lynch quotes, “because decisions must be made at junctions, people heighten their attention at such places and perceive nearby elements with more than normal clarity.” I can agree with this statement up to a certain point. I believe that people heighten their attention at these places, but I don’t necessarily believe that they pay closer attention to the nearby elements of the city. A good example is Euclid corridor. As I was observing people walking across Euclid Corridor I noticed that most of their attention was directed toward the traffic and the traffic signals rather than what I would consider the “elements” of the city: the architecture, the buildings, the landscape, the streetscape, and the people. Euclid corridor seems to serve its purpose: it interrupts the thoughts in your brain if only for a moment and portrays that junction point that Lynch notes as a structural unit dividing the city.
Camillo Sitte and “The Art of Building Cities”
Sitte notes the importance of the public square in ancient times and how modern planners and designers lack the ability to maintain that same degree of importance with cities today. Cities no longer have distinct character. Merging ideas and motifs from various cities creates cities that are mingled in character. It would be interesting to compare Colin Rowe and “Collage Cities” with Camillo Sitte. According to Sitte, as a result of “Collage Cities,” local characteristics are gradually disappearing. In comparison, Rowe proposes a city which can accommodate a whole range of utopias in miniature.
The Soaring Twenties
This excerpt recognizes a theme, whether or not the author intended to or not, that I have studied most recently and that is the theme of “individualism vs. collectivism,” not in politics but within a man’s soul. This theme is most portrayed in the field of architecture because, as Bascomb mentions, “man wanted to make his mark on the world, and the structures he built became a statement of self.” During the time that this book was written, America was going through a dramatic change in Architecture, among many other things. The switch from a classical style of architecture to a more modern style received much criticism. A classical representation was considered a collective motif; one that reflected the conservative values of society. The modern style portrayed individuality in the sense that it only conformed to the needs of a select few architects. Individualism can be attributed to tall buildings, like Bascomb makes clear in his book. “The Woolworth Building was going to be like a giant signboard to advertise around the world [my] spreading chain of five-and-ten cent-stores.” But lets face it, we find satisfaction in the idea that our buildings are a reflection of ourselves and so why should we be anything but autonomous thinkers; not molded playthings of “social conditioning.”
New York, New York: How the Apartment House Transformed the Life of the City
As little as I know about New York City, this reading helped me recognize the impact it had on the rest of the America. Although the apartment house was an old European way of life, many Americans saw it as a vision of the future, and there lies the difference. The apartment house helped reconnect the city that was once a series of separate households, as most suburban areas are today. A new community of interests was established, promising a new sociality. Planners began designing residential blocks rather than individual buildings; complexes rather than units. It was this type of change that made people evolve from European to an American way: we are innovators to our own success, we learn from our own mistakes and other countries will learn from us.
To conclude our analysis of water as a system, we focused on water particularly in residential areas. We focused on a sub-division in the Southwest corner of the Westcreek watershed; an area that receives headwater to the tributary. We chose this area because we recognized that the best way to control stormwater is to control the source of pollutation: at the headwater areas.
We took the treatment train approach, which is "a series of treatment measures that collectively address all stormwater pollutants." Our mapping analysis contained hydric soil locations, topo, roads, and boundary lines (see slides below).
Our design was to create an effective stormwater control system that filtered and infiltrated water. We also created an ideal subdivision that incorporated stormwater by adjusting to hydric soils and by using porous surfaces that help absorb and filter stormwater. Swales, constructed wetlands, elevated pathways, sediment basins, and inlet/outlet areas were all used in this design.
•By utilizing existing open space within the residential fabric, analyzing existing surface conditions, and appropriating proper wetland locations and treatment train plan we were able to design new sustainable homes that were influence by and worked with the natural landscape
•In addition to new homes, a community plan of renovating residential impervious surfaces and reducing the use of pesticides is promoted throughout the surrounding existing homes
•While a single home is a near fraction of the size of other commercial/industrial uses, the density and quantity make residential fabric some of the most influential within a watershed. By both renovating the existing, creating new, and living by example, a more diverse solution it created to the problem thus allowing for more significant effects on a more universal scale
Epstein, Brasilia Plan
1.) The city is not, cannot, and must not be organized like a tree. I agree with Christopher Alexander in his position of the city plan. Costa’s plan is irrational because it addresses hierarchy over connection. A city is a complex series of connections, and if you limit these connections then you decrease efficiency. “If we make cities which are trees, they will cut our life to pieces.” The first flaw in the plan was to create a monumental axis and a residential axis. Immediately, this requires the citizen to travel long distances and ignores any sort of foot traffic.
Broadacre City: A New Community Plan
2.) Broadacre City was a response to the emerging congestive cities. Wright’s proposal could potential decrease congestion by implementing decentralization in general but it lacks efficiency. What bothers me is the idea of one acre per individual. In Wright’s model, there was a close-knit relationship between home, work and recreation; the spatial order emphasized “economies of scope” rather than “economies of scale.” Like Costa’s plan, Wright fails to address the dynamic complexity of life. The plan is also inefficient in that the numerous single-house developments give rise to an inefficient use of energy.
3.) It seems as if Wright did not, in fact, invent any new approach to urban planning but rather he repackaged the American order of things. During the time that Wright was writing this book, decentralization was already taking place in the form of sprawl due to improvements in communication, electricity, and transportation systems. Wright obviously recognized these trends and implemented an extreme plan that promoted these changes far beyond the way they are even today. The promotion of individuality leads to alienation which defies any movement toward reintegration. In order to have a more influential plan, Wright should have highlighted a need for both city life in some ways and a need for suburban life in other ways.
The City of Towers
4.) Corbusier should stick to what he does best, and that is architecture. The planning of Chandigarh was more of an architectural style than a planning style. Corbusier ignored the basic problems of the human population and rather, focused on the visual form, symbolism, imagery, and aesthetics. The city was heavily segregated by income and civil service rank. Clearly, segregation is not the key to an orderly city. A city planner must first address integration and then focus on monumentality rather than the other way around.
5.) This reading made me agree with Jane Jacobs even more in terms of city planning. Pruitt-Igoe was designed on the basis of a superblock and could be freely positioned in the landscape. The designed failed because it lacked quality and instead strove for quantity. It was ideal for the middle-class, not the poor. The plan didn’t address the site in any way; the buildings could’ve been duplicated anywhere- and that is the fault of the design. When designing for the welfare family, you must first address the physical environment.
A simple observation of Cleveland THEN: dominated by the railway, the industry, the harbor, and downtown VS. NOW: dominated by the roads and highways, the districts, the landmarks: Browns Stadium and Progressive Field, and the boundaries.
This week we investigated the West Creek Watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains precipitation (rain and snowmelt) to a stream, river, or lake. Watersheds are influenced by soil type, topography, geology, vegetation, groundwater, and land use.
The West Creek Watershed is undergoing many water quality issues mostly caused by NPS (Non-point source) pollution such as suburban run-off. Pesticides, fertilizers, cleaners, car washing, and waste all contribute to suburban run-off. The question we asked was: how can we effectively treat stormwater?
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has taken action in this area by awarding a $394,000 grant to the West Creek Preservation Committee to help restore the 10-acre confluence of West Creek, a tributary of the Cuyahoga River watershed in Cuyahoga County. The grant is one of seven federal Section 319 Clean Water Act grants awarded by Ohio EPA this year. The grant totals nearly $2.9 million.
Please view the following presentation for more information on West Creek and the EPA.
Brandon E. Young