The Case for a Walkable Cleveland

In this long-form article, G.M. Donley reminds us why walkable and diverse communities have become such a planning staple. In Cleveland, New Urbanism contends with a history of sprawl and decreasing population.
April 27, 2015, 6am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Erik Drost

Though it has marvelous advantages, G.M. Donley observes that modern technology is often guilty of "isolating individuals physically from each other: each commuter traveling in his or her own car, every home a self-contained living and entertainment center, shopping trips carried out from the desktop, social interactions mediated through a little screen."

This can be a serious impediment to diversity: "People are comfortable living among like-minded people, and communication technology and transportation networks make that easier than ever before."

Throughout the article, Donley develops the context to examine how Cleveland—and other "rust belt" cities—might factor into the walkability debate. 

  • Cleveland has been a historical crossroads, astride key routes of transport but still independent from major centers—and by extension their major developers and inflated real estate prices.
  • Walking is what we're meant to do: "humans evolved to walk a lot and our bodies and brains function best when we do that; our past century of not walking a lot has therefore begun to have serious consequences to health and well-being."
  • "Efforts are already being made to equip key Cleveland neighborhoods with the fastest fiber-optic and wireless internet capability, to set the stage for future entrepreneurship and innovation. Those initiatives will be most fruitful if conceived around the priority of creating great environments for people on foot."

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Belt Magazine
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