Designing for the Shrinking City: Re-imagining Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, OH
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Like many post-industrial cities in the Midwestern United States, Cleveland is shrinking. A decline in its manufacturing-based economy in the late 20th century has led to unemployment and outmigration, eroding the quality of life and economic stability of inner city neighborhoods. Traditional planning strategies that rely heavily on growth as a means of addressing shrinking city problems have proven to be somewhat ineffective. This thesis explores an alternative planning approach suggesting that Cleveland might successfully shrink into an archipelago of small, sustainable neighborhood islands while failed neighborhoods would be converted to productive "green belts". This project applies this approach to the site of an under-utilized municipal airport, proposing a new design that enhances the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of Downtown Cleveland. Specifically, the design solution promotes transit-oriented development, connects existing neighborhoods to the waterfront, cleans polluted water, and re-uses dredge material to create a recreational and ecological landscape.