Sunday, February 12, 2012


Fine Arts Garden Fountain

Why start a blog? 
I admit that I have been resistant to starting a blog.  I don’t even like the sound of the word.  It doesn’t sound like a place for thoughtful and enlightened discourse. And isn’t there enough noise and chatter on the internet, and in the world, already? 

But I am concerned about the state of Architecture and Urbanism in the City of Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio.  And I believe there is a need for more community discussion on the issues of what we build, what we preserve, what we destroy, and how we inhabit the land on which we live.

I write a lot of letters about these issues.  I write to the Plain Dealer editorial page, and to the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, and to the Mayor, and to . . . you get the idea.  And I figure, if I am making the effort to write these mini-treatises, then the world may as well hear my voice too.  I can try to do that through this forum.

Why “The Civic Art: Cleveland Architecture and Urbanism”?
I have a true passion for vibrant cities and neighborhoods.  I love that feeling of strolling down a great shopping or residential street in Philadelphia, or Madison, WI, or even in Ohio City or Cleveland Heights, and feeling the history of the place mixed with the vitality of the present.  These great streets have been inhabited over time, and they are still beloved by their residents.  It is a pleasure to just be in an authentic, thriving neighborhood.  I would like to be able to experience that more often in Cleveland, and in more parts of the City.

As an Architect and Town Planner, I try to make the world better by using the tools that I possess.  Namely, by trying to create or preserve good architecture and good neighborhoods.  By reclaiming and reviving our neighborhoods, we not only gain a place where people want to be and want to live; we can also begin to address many of the pressing issues that face our city and nation: sustainability, global warming, resource conservation and stewardship, energy independence, social justice, intolerance, public safety, access to local food, and health and wellness.  More about how better, more pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighborhoods can address these issues is to come in future posts.

What to Expect to Find Here
§   Commentaries, critiques, essays on timely and significant topics in Cleveland Architecture and Urban Design.
§      Copies of the aforementioned Letters to the Editor on such issues.
§      Links to important articles about Architecture, Urbanism, and City Life.
§     Photo studies of notable architectural and urban typologies to be found in the City of Cleveland and beyond.

The Way Forward
Cleveland is a great and beautiful city, yet it also faces many challenges.  By leveraging its many great assets, Cleveland has the potential to create a more sustainable, more vital built environment.  This city can be a harbinger for the rebirth of older rust-belt cities, demonstrating the way forward to long-term urban rebirth and re-vitalization.

Those in the design professions have both a significant role to play and a real responsibility to help make our world and our communities into better places to live. I intend to engage in this endeavor as well, through my work and through these words.

1 comment:

  1. As a former Clevelander. I am very sad to see our heritage buildings being razed for the ugly modern buildings that don't seem to stand the test of time as do the lovely heritage sites. We should take a lesson from Prince Charles in England and put laws in place to automatically restrict what can be done to the beautiful heritage homes and buildings.....SAVE our heritage sites!!