Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Simple Care for the City

BOTC walks the streets of Downtown Cleveland everyday, usually working our way down East East 14th and Euclid, between the parking garage and the office. When you walk the same route everyday, you tend to notice things--little things--that can inform you to the state of the city. The details and micro-conditions are usually indicitive of the greater whole, or to steal a phrase from architectural theorist Marco Frascari, the detail tells the tale.

While constuction continues on the Euclid Corridor project, new details emerge, like the symbolic cross walk paving, the embedded public art, the articulated trash cans, and such. These are exciting, pleasing, and exhibit a care for the city.

Other "details" emerge after something like the recent blizzard, that exhibit a disregard for the city and the people who use it everyday. These "details" are not design related, yet testify to the lack of care for the city. Namely, along Euclid Avenue, the phenomenom of un-shoveled and icy city sidewalks and public spaces in front of absentee landlord-owned properties exhibit a disinterest in the greater good of downtown pedestrians. While some building owners assisduously clear and maintain clear sidewalks for their building tenants, as well as the passer-by, others disrespect the city by not investing this small gesture to make Cleveland more friendly and simply walkable.

Creating a better city does not always necessitate investment of million of dollars. Rather a better city can be realized with ten minutes with a shovel and some salt.
UPDATE: A BOTC colleague expressed dismay that the Union Club, a bastion of Euclid Avenue rectitude, is also guilty of failing to clear their sidewalks.

1 comment:

Adam Harvey said...

I'm in complete agreement and would even take it a step further. Though it certainly isn't their responsibility, it would be a great show of simple care if the businesses that remain downtown would shovel the walks of the vacant buildings next to them.

The stretch of Euclid between E14th and E9th is particularly bad.