First Impressions are a Wonderful Thing

The dynamic, eclectic, increasingly safe neighborhood known as the Gateway Quarter is the latest chapter in seemingly unending book of urban revitalization efforts in Cincinnati. The Gateway Quarter is reinventing Over-the Rhine in many ways. The work by Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) continues to bring quality redevelopment efforts to an area town that has seen better days. I had the opportunity, along with some other members of the Cincinnati blogging community, to take a tour of the latest projects that 3CDC is developing.

It is important to note that in previous attempts to revitalize OTR, the incrementalized approach helped incorporate many constituencies in the effort, but in the end, did not create that critical mass of residents, that would sustain growth. The new approach, by 3CDC, is to buy up a large portion of entire blocks, in order to create a more complete developmental pattern. It seems as though 3CDC understands that perception is OTR’s biggest enemy and that in order to change that they would have to condition their developments to create positive energy, and positive perception. They have done a wonderful job so far.

All of the units that we toured, Centennial Row, Duncanson Lofts, Gateway Condos, and Duveneck Flats, were all very unique in their unit layout and design. As we walked through all of the different options it was apparent how distinctive this kind of tour was. They were selling the neighborhood, as much as the actual units. Instead of each developer promoting their property to the buyers, this group was able to come together, and create a cooperative environment that should set an example for other development corporations.

It is hard not to get wrapped up in the vibrant, effervescent reaction that these developments give off. I feel confident that the work will continue, that the momentum is gaining, and that even now, this is a neighborhood that we should be proud of.


The New Urban Century

From the beginnings of civilization around 4000 B.C., man has lived a predominately rural life. Cities were the wellsprings of arts, culture, science, et. al., but the majority of people still lived in rural areas. Recently, or in the very near future, more people will live in urban areas that rural areas Although some demographers predicted that this event happened in 1994, the 21st century will be mankind’s first urban century.

The mega cities of the 21st century in the developing world must seem as frightening and chaotic to the casual American observer as the burgeoning American cities of the 19th and early 20th centuries did to the European observer.

Regardless, the next century will be one unlike any others we have seen. There will be new challenges around the world, new issues, and new developments.

Too often Americans take a Amero-centric or Euro-centric view on urbanism. This overlooks some of the world’s largest and all of the world’s fastest growing megalopoli. The City Mayor’s website takes a global perspective on running the world’s cities and provides a wealth of information on best practices throughout the world. The future will be very different, hopefully information like this will make us better prepared.

Development News

Clifton Plaza moving forward

The Bender Optical site on Ludlow Avenue, which is jointly owned by Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) and the Clifton Business and Professional Association, is moving forward with the city’s recent approval for the demolition of the Bender Optical building.

The city has stated that the building will be coming down this Thursday (11/15)…thus clearing the way for the plaza to move forward. Following the demolition one more round of soil testing will be done, and then the site will be ready for the start of the plaza.

As for some background…the Clifton Plaza is part of the larger Ludlow Avenue revitalization project which will eventually include new sidewalks/curbs, added trees (where needed), improved streetlights, coordinated street furniture and the reduction of some overhead wires.

For more information check out the following:
Ludlow Avenue Revitalization Project Presentation
Clifton Town Meeting (CTM)

***The images illustrate the proposed improvements to Telford Avenue, and the proposed improvements for the Merchant’s Lot access. Both images are from the presentation PDF that is linked above.


The Queen’s Crown Jewels

A new Cincinnati blog is up and running, and it is a good one. He posts lots of pictures, enlightens you with his vast knowledge of architecture and the city as a whole. Dan describes himself, and the site as:

“My overviews and observations of Cincinnati, OH. I am a single, thirtysomething living in Over-the-Rhine with a certain point of view on the city around me.”

The most recent post covers the history and special features of Cincinnati classics that make the Queen City what it is. This first edition of what will become an ongoing feature, on Queen City Survey, covers the Cincinnati Gymnasium & Athletic Club.

Dan knows his stuff…so go check out what Queen City Survey has to offer, you won’t be disappointed.


Shameless Plug

I have been working on editing and going throw all of my photography…from there I am selecting the best of the best and uploading them to my new Pbase page. So I just thought I’d let all of you know that you can go and check it out, leave comments or whatever else.

As of right now I have Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati and Philadelphia (plus one bonus gallery) up and running. Still to come will be: NYC, Dayton, Indy, DC and Savannah. So enjoy and please feel free to let me know what you think of my work.