Wednesday, January 14, 2009


BOTC became very upset this morning upon reading about Mayor Jackson's trip to Chicago.

How is it that Cleveland's most important urban project is being hatched, designed, and thrown toghether in a secluded Chicago conference room with no public or critical comment?

The urban design implications of this project are profound. If this is screwed up, downtown can die. It this is successful, dowtown can thrive. Are local designers + planners even involved with the project?

BOTC has warned about the implications of the Medical Mart before:

Since Cuyahoga County has signed the deal to bring the Medical Mart to Cleveland and to establish a new convention center, many in the design community need to voice their opinions on the future sites of such institutions. Surely we know more about design than Dimora + Hagan.The placement of each building or buildings within the downtown context will impact how the city is used, how the city is experienced, and how the city will literally wear away or strengthen. The investment made in the near future will alter the dynamics of our downtown core for decades to come. The ramifications of these impositions need to understood.

BOTC agrees with Steve Litt that the process should be open to the public because of the civic nature of projects. We also believe that studies for the placement of the convention sites should include a broader study of the entirety of downtown since the placement of the convention center in relation to hotels, transportation hubs, attraction districts, and university campuses, will alter the hydraulics of the city.

For example, if the Medical Mart is built in the Tower City complex and the convention center is built on the Mall, Public Square suddenly takes on the important function of connector tissue than transcends everyday Clevelander use. Should Public Square then be re-designed?These questions should be asked and answered before any downtown site is ultimately chosen.

Previous plans for Cleveland were developed in Chicago offices - - but Daniel Burnham was a genius. We should not have the same confidence in our Chicago counterparts today without intense design scrutiny.

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