Category Archives: urbanplanning

City cutting more trees in Old Brooklyn

In response to the threat of Ash Borer beetles, the city has cut down several Ash trees in Old Brooklyn in 2010. About 10 of these trees have been cut down on Mayview, where I reside.

Last year, I blogged my resignation to the city’s removal of ash trees on my planting strip (the space between the sidewalk and curb). Because our tree was the only one cut down at the time, I didn’t realize its impact on the street. However, after reading an article by Michael Gill in a December issue of the Cleveland Scene and seeing more trees cut down on my street [even in the snow], I’m having second thoughts about the city of Cleveland’s plan to cut down the remaining Ash Trees.

Why keep the trees ?
Aesthetics. They also provide shade and cool down the front of houses and while walking through the neighborhood [although I’m not sure if that can be calculated].

Unfortunately, the city, planting the Ash trees (on Mayview, they were planted in the late 1970s), didn’t follow a rule of biodiversity, to plant different types of trees to prevent a bug or disease from affecting all of the trees. Any new tree replacement should include different trees and I’ll see if that’s being done for Mayview and Cleveland.  A 2009 study by a group of Entomologists from OSU and a couple other midwest universities stated that there are several insecticides that are effective. 

More questions to be answered: do the insecticide treatments have any negative environmental effects ? Has Chicago’s or Milwaukee’s alternative strategies to cutting been effective and can they be replicated in Cleveland ?
After reading a bit more on it, I would like to find out more if our trees can be saved [though I’m still figuring out how high of a priority it is for me to take more action] and whether the insecticide treatments have any negative environmental effects. I don’t know how much it will cost to keep them. It’s something that I’ll talk to my neighbors about and think about.

PS – While writing this, I found to be a great source of information of Ash Borer beetles and communities’ responses.


Timeline of the Ward 15 Redistricting

The new, updated page for this timeline is:

Below is old version.


July 2, 2008 – Cummins proposes 3 different plans to reduce number of seats on City Council by Six.

Brian Cummins’ Proposals for City Council Size Reduction (PDF file format)
(courtesy of Bill Callahan)

November 2008 –
Voters approve measure to reduce number of seats on Cleveland City Council by two, to a total of 19.

March 4th – Public Meeting at Applewood center with some City Councilmen: Cummins, Santiago, Matt Zone, Kevin Kelly, and Anthony Brancatelli; discussing the possibility of a reduction in City Council Size

(I’ve found no mention whether the proposed ward boundaries were explicitedly announced at this meeting). According to Anthony Fossaceca , the discussion only focused on the probability that one unspecificed west-side ward would be eliminated. I don’t know whether it is just coincidence that

March 6th – Brian Cummins’ initial reaction after being told the day before that his lose his seat on city council due to redistricting.

March 6th – Henry Gomez’s reaction to the redistricting

March 7th – Bill Callahan’s Reaction

March 9th – Henry Gomez’s report

March 12th – Sweeney announces that he will not schedule a vote (one of his powers as City Council President) for the City Council on the proposed ward redistricting. No rescheduling date has been publicly announced.

March 13th –
Plans announced for a protest at the steps of Cleveland City Hall, on Monday, March 16th to protest the proposed ward redistricting.

(I just found out the oldbrooklyn blog, great to see a few new bloggers from the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, I’ve been alone (and/or unaware of others, besides the Ferris’es from Brooklyn Centre) for a while now..).

March 16th – Protesters from ward 15 gathered at city hall to express their disapproval of the pending ward redistricting.

Henry Gomez’s Initial report of the Protest
March 17th –
Henry Gomez’s 2nd report of the March 16th Protest. He and others at the protest remarked a similarity in atmosphere of the protest with several scenes in the movie ‘Milk.’

April 1st – proposed deadline for the final recommendations for redistricting from Triad consultants. Deadline for city council to pass plans for ward redistricting. If they do not pass anything, this power goes to Mayor Frank Jackson.


A list of who’s who (Catch up with the names).

Bill Callahan – local blogger.

Brian Cummins – Ward 15 Councilman, Old Brooklyn

Henry Gomez – Plain Dealer’s and (operated by Plain Dealer)’s city hall reporter
Martin Sweeney – president of Cleveland City Council

The growth of poverty in Suburbia

(this post was an essay that I had written for my urban economics class)

The increase of poverty in suburbia results from suburbia becoming no longer economically feasible for its residents (Emerson 417). This prediction is the opposite of the status quo in
America. This prediction is not new to me but is to those who are not very familiar
with urban economics. In the past few years, I have witnessed the increase of poverty
in the suburbs in the Cleveland area and believe this general trend will continue in
the future for several reasons.
The physical infrastructure in the oldest suburbs is beginning to deteriorate. Pub-
lically funded physical infrastructures like recreation centers, schools, parks, shopping
centers, and malls begin to deteriorate physically after their initial constructions in
the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. With newer ones built around it, the older suburb’s
experiences a decrease in the sales,
The housing stock also begins to deteriorate. My father, a plumber, has a lot of
business from people living in the inner-ring suburbs, whose houses’ has the original
plumbing fixtures, needing to be replaced after 30-40 years. Moreover, the quality
of the original plumbing work, lasting for only 30-40 years, is often worse than the
old city plumbing fixtures (iron and brass) which has been able to last longer. The
plumbing is just one problem of these houses’ infrastructures, quickly built following
WWII in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
Outer-ring suburbs have usually have the newer housing stock and public infras-
tructure, attracting inner-ring suburb residents. Unless inner-ring suburbs are able
to raise the revenue for the physical infrastructures, people will continue to move
further from the city. To raise this revenue, the suburb may have to raise taxes or
cut city services.
In the near future, the donut (a barren, city as the hole, surrounded the wealth
of glaze and flour) will not symbolize income distribution of residents in cities. For
the case of Cleveland, it may be a city core with a mix of some gentrified neighbor-
hoods and poor ones, deteriorated inner-ring suburbs, surrounded by an outer-ring of wealthy suburbs.
One counterpoint, that I really want to mention that I don’t know where to fit
in this paper is that the factors that I mentioned are economically based. Other
factors, especially a person’s, family’s, or business’ loyalty and identification to the
community and neighborhood may make the incentives to leave less attractive. Inner-
ring suburbs that have unique cultural attractions and businesse whose customers
and residents continue to patronize them is important factor to prevent people from
moving out to the newer suburbs and convince people to invest in the community.

Filing Police Reports on the internet: Coming to Cleveland


An online form to allow residents to file police reports for minor incidents and petty crimes is coming to Cleveland, according to the Plain Dealer’s Henry Gomez . Now, it could even be more effective to have all incidents reported, so then we could have something like which could inform police and residents where are the hot spots truly are and give people objective data to form their perspectives and decisions within the police department and community.

Lastly, according to this plain dealer op-ed, – [Link is already broken – can’t the PD just keep their website organized and not move their web pages so readers can access them in the future ?] july 7, 2008, it said the online reporting system for broken-window related crimes [vandalism, small theft, etc] will be available about Six months from now.

This has a great opportunity to identify trends [popular locations, crimes, etc] and keep an organized system of these incidents, besides just paper copies at each district [I presume that paper copies is all they have].
With this information, the police department has to actually use it to make their decisions and implement the decisions (the devil in the details).

6 Months later, let’s see if the City council’s promise [and the PD’s prediction] will come through. (That reminds me, what about the city’s plan to reinstate the recycling plan, when was old brooklyn scheduled to receive new garbage cans ?)

Open for Business

The adjustment process back to America has been uneventful. There’s some responsibilities (finances, school loans, finding summer employment) on hold that I now have to deal with.

Time is flying by since I returned. I already return to school in 2 days, this weekend, wow.

My story: 4 pm, Monday: With Sunlight and melting snow finally appearing, I finally felt free to go for a walk for the first time in quite some time (a week probably, but it felt a lot longer than that). Plus, I needed to visit the barber. I took the chance of it not being open, but since it was close and I wanted to go for a walk (and the probability that it would be open), I didn’t call before leaving. After a 10 minute walk there, I found a sign on the door that the hours listed with CLOSED next to Monday and Sunday.

On my way back on Broadview, I saw the old pet food store storefront had been converted into a bicycle sort of shop. Cool. The lights and the “OPEN” neon sign hanging in window were off, it was closed.

I couldn’t find its hours or the name of the business easily (side window: ‘Fantasy Toys’ but it wasn’t obvious) and I was thinking:

What kind of business doesn’t have open hours posted or name clearly displayed at their store ?! I was surprised. I expected a place in the USA to have this information. It was something that I missed when I was in Senegal. There, places especially boutiques and small storefronts in the markets (Sandaga), usually did not have this information written down and posted for customers to see. A clear sign with the name of the store and its posted hours written down isn’t listed. This information is usually transmitted verbally in Senegal. People there just knew when most stores would be open and closed. The name of the business did not matter as much [especially for small businesses]. In addition to the name of the store, the owner’s name and the store’s location were signifiers of the store’s identity.

Update: I went by Fantasy Toys on Tuesday after I went to the (open) barber (around 3 PM). It was open and sells primarily low-rider bicycles and glitzy accessories; (I never understood my peers wanting to get their cars/bicycles/computers modified with extra accessories that sometimes only improve how they look.) and other stuff. They have some more basic bike accessories though.

Good News for the O.B.(Old Brooklyn)

Towpath trail connectors to Harmody Park Planned

A trail is being built from Harmody Park to connect to the Towpath Trail ! It will be connected to the Steelyard Commons as well. From a PD article , the project might be moving along now, but there’s no timetable (as far as I know) of when it will be started [other than ‘soon’] or when the project will be completed.
After looking at the proposed trails on the map, I’d love for this project to feasiblely allow someone to walk or bike from the Treadway Connector to the Steelyard Commons and go shopping there. However, I wonder how much of a barrier will the geography of the hills will discourage that from happening and what the archetects are doing to make sure the hills won’t be a problem.

However, as I think about it, I wonder how many people will use the trail as transportation instead of exercise and nature walks. I’m not sure what their planners’ intentions are, but if it’s more than a 1/4 or 1/2 mile (1) from the Treadway Connector to Steelyard Commons, most people probably would not be willing to do it. The distance from Tremont (say, Starkweather and 14th) to Steelyard Commons (or more specifically, the stores down the hill) is something I’d like to know.

Anyways, I spent some good times playing and hanging out in the ravine (My friends and I just called it the gully)…

cheers, will.

1 – It’s an urban planning stat, that most people aren’t usually willing to walk more than that distance for a general errand or affair. Sure I’d like it (the distance) to be higher, but I just don’t know if that will happen.

Why, Oh Why !? A plea against the proposed Stadium in Summit County

Why, oh why do NEO needs to have another sports stadium in order to create economic vibrancy in Northeast Ohio !

A response to Paul G. and supporters of the stadium.

A professional sports stadium and nearby retail development created by the stadium WILL NOT help the healthy, long-term economic vitality in Northeast Ohio. What sort of jobs will it create that will draw a young college grad (like me in 3 years) and your children to work in NEO ? Besides a few pro soccer players and administration positions within the soccer club, the new jobs created by the stadium and its outlying development (hotels, restaurants, retail) are not temporary construction work.

The new restaurants and retail (which usually consist of businesses not based locally) will have profits that will not primarily stay in NEO – they’ll to the businesses (and where the Corporate Management’s offices are run).

The skills and assets that workers develop in these retail and hospitality jobs are not unique to NEO. Few companies will want to develop their business here if they do not have a qualifible labor market or have potential local investors (Mr. Wolstein, why not take this hat ? [Or you could lend them some of your space) to fund their company.

I’m witnessing another move in NEO to create economic vibrancy (Crocker Park, Legacy Village, the Sports stadiums, etc) that primary functions to fulfill peoples’ discretionary needs for entertainment. This to create an economy focused more on services and businesses that help people and institutions to fundamentally function (health care, energy, education, etc) and collaborate around the world.

Edit – two things I thought needed to be added and clarified after I reflected on this more…. a] Retail for consumer goods and restaurants are necessary parts of an economy, however they should not take as much of a priority as they have in NEO. b] I didn’t cite anything here or bring substantially develop my thoughts in this writing. In most instances, I cite and prefer to use concrete evidence to thoroughly develop my statements. I feel sorry for not doing so because neglecting to do so only furthers the rhetoric, boils down very complex issues to only a few sentences that doesn’t help bring both parties to better understand the complexities of an issue. But, recognizing that I’m a hypocrite (1), I felt it was necessary to express my thoughts on it (since it’s pretty easy to do so, with blogging…)

1 – (because, after all, just because you’re a hypocrite doesn’t mean you’re unable to give good advice..)