Cleveland Caught Between Dreams of Revival and Reality of its Woes

Are the grand plans for reviving Cleveland put forth by city leaders - and hyped by the architecture critic at the city's main newspaper - fantasies masking the city's elemental problems or goals worth pursuing?
October 30, 2013, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In the coverage of Cleveland's current state, Michael D. Roberts and his journalistic colleagues see "a tale of two cities: the perception of a downtown revival contrasted with the reality of enormous job and population loss and the abandonment of neighborhoods."

"No one creates the perception of revival more than Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer's architecture critic, who writes frequently and voluminously of plans to advance the city," claims Roberts. "Litt has become the keeper of the civic flame, a voice that holds out the promise of prosperity and metropolitan glory. But when Litt extols the virtues of ambitious new development plans, he sews a promise of renaissance that's more fantasy than fact."

"While Litt likes to hold out the promise of abstract plans, the weight of reality hangs over the town, a reality Cleveland elites never seem to grasp. Ever since they built our freeways, a highly effective series of escape and evasion routes from the town's core, city planning has become uncoordinated, with little long-range vision. That leads each generation to reinvent the city, shunning symmetry and common sense."

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Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in Cleveland Magazine
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