News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

NOCHE

Levin Furniture

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


Design District in downtown Cleveland seeks to redesign the city's image
Synergy between the region's 40 consumer product companies and 100 design firms could result from a more visible design culture.
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Cleveland, a city with a proud industrial history, will never be what it used to be. It has to find a new identity if it's going to survive. This time, instead of real estate developers, bankers, and politicians, a couple of college professors are leading the way. One is an expert in urban studies. The other, an industrial designer. They're spearheading Cleveland's Design District. WKSU's Vivian Goodman reports it's a bid to transform a decaying part of downtown into a showplace for the best new consumer products, an engine for economic development, and a talent magnet for young designers:
Click to Listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (8:42)


(Click image for larger view.)

Cleveland State University economic guru Ned Hill envisions a new image for downtown Cleveland. He heads a team aiming to transform 28 blocks, from East 12th to East 36th streets, from Prospect to St. Clair, into a District of Design. The district would showcase the latest household appliances, toys, furniture, and fashions. Local companies such as Kraftmaid, Rubbermaid, Royal Appliance, Little Tykes, and Moen would invest in showrooms. "The argument we're making to the companies and they're agreeing with it, is that if we provide a better experience for that wholesale buyer it will make it easier for them to come here and do business with their companies" said Hill. He hopes that Cleveland would also benefit from company employees moving into the area, filling the neighborhood with retail, restaurants and bars, and young professionals. Plans include up to 16 floors of housing in the long-abandoned Cowell and Hubbard and Woolworth stores. The design district concept springs from Hill and Cleveland Institute of Art director of Industrial design, Dan Cuffaro. Cuffaro returned to Cleveland after leaving a top corporate design job in Boston five years ago and sees the Design District as an opportunity for his students and his city. "And I saw it as an opportunity to have design and industrial design play a role in the redevelopment of a community." First, the project needs an anchor tenant to commit to creating the first big showroom. That's expected by the end of the year. Possibilities include Kraftmaid Cabinetry, Hoover, or Moen. Hill says those firms already value northeast Ohio's heritage of industrial design. The hope is that a more visible design culture will create the same kind of synergy that gave the rubber industry its polymer bounce and that now has a Kent firm using liquid-crystal technology in fashions. Cleveland is offering low-cost financing for Design District building owners to turn their spaces into showrooms. Regional Development chief Chris Warren says once the build-out is complete, the city will convert 40 percent of the loans to grants. "We see this as a central part of our economic development strategy that necessarily needs to look at transition from an industrial-based heavy industry economy to a knowledge-based economy," Warren said. He acknowledged that earlier downtown investments like Tower City and the Galleria aren't thriving. He says that's due to people fleeing the city in the 1970s and '80s, and that the city still suffers the effects. He has no illusions about the Design District alone addressing poverty and economic decline. Warren said that the Design District "needs to be one answer among a thousand answers to the question of how we provide hope and opportunity for people that live in our town, and particularly young people." Downtown Councilman Joe Cimperman sees the Design District as part of trend drawing people back to the city. He notes that the Tower Press Building at 21st and Superior Avenue was ready to be condemned 10 years ago, but is now filled with artists and designers who live and work there. Cimperman says the studio space is ten times cheaper than in Manhattan or Chicago. "Every city sees its greatest curse as a blessing. We have vacant space. We have a lot of former manufacturing property that can now be used for companies who wish to move in here. ... While steel-making and other things have gone to other countries, these warehouses are filled with people who are creating computer technology, some of the best design, things that are being shipped across the world in terms of what people are using. It really goes to Cleveland is all about in the first place which is: we are where things get made." Ned Hill sees local jobs being created through the Design District in marketing, distribution, sales and service. "The largest pool of semiskilled and unskilled jobs in the entire region is in the center of Akron, center of Cleveland. And by building a residential base of people that are going to need services, consumer services. ... This is how we're going to be generating jobs that are going to make a difference to people who don't have lots of skills." Mark Chupp of Case Western Reserve University's Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development says any economic development for Cleveland should meet 4 goals: attracting business; developing workers; improving collaboration and efficiency; and racial and economic inclusion.
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Ohio lawmakers want to eliminate background checks, training to carry guns
On the face of this report I don't find the name of the bill or who sponsered it. I will have to google a general bill with this as its content to address it. N...

Ohio lawmaker calls for an investigation into a Dayton women's prison
I was an inmate at DCI and I am so happy that it's being investigated. The staff behavior there is awful unless he/she is your lover. There are more drugs insid...

Ohio's disabled face long waiting list for services
Can we use the Tribble on Disability Care? if so can you send the link to http://voice4thevoiceless.us thank you, Mark J Cleland Sr voice4thevoiceless.us

Treasures rescued from Cleveland's closed Catholic churches
This was found to be a real gift today Good Friday Bless you for your work

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University