Bedrock 0.0 Cleveland: Transformation of an Urban City Core

Once a bustling industrial hub, Cleveland, Ohio, has been undergoing a remarkable transformation in recent years, focusing on revitalizing its urban core. Among the notable projects contributing to this revitalization is Downtown Streetscapes Bedrock 0.0, a ground-breaking initiative to transform the city’s downtown streetscapes into green, pedestrian-friendly spaces. The project was undertaken by Bedrock Properties with MKSK of Columbus plus LAND Studio and Osborn Engineering, both of Cleveland, overseeing the design.

The Vision

At the heart of Downtown Streetscapes, Bedrock 0.0 has a vision of creating a more welcoming and accessible urban environment. The project seeks to reimagine the streetscape, focusing on greenery, pedestrian infrastructure, and public art to enhance the overall urban experience. The project encompasses two linear thoroughfares and several plaza spaces that front Bedrock-owned properties in the urban core. Specifically, enhancements have taken place along Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue and Ontario Street, at the entrance to the city’s Historic Terminal Building, and the corridor between the Terminal Building and the Tower City development.

Greening the City

Cleveland was once called the ‘forest city’ because of the many large, healthy street trees that lined its main thoroughfares. Following 150 years of industrialization and then neglect in the city’s post-industrial areas, many parts of the city are today devoid of mature trees. This is most notably the case downtown, where a lack of vegetation results in a city that feels hotter in the summer and more exposed in the winter. Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue and Ontario Street have been particularly notable for their barren, windswept appearance beneath impressive yet imposing buildings.

In light of this, project landscape architect Susan Maurer of MKSK explains that planters from Streetlife were added to enliven Euclid Avenue and Ontario Street. The Shrubtub designs, finished in an industrially referential feeling corten, are ‘marched’ in an architectural rhythm, as Maurer describes, down their respective thoroughfares and are planted with trees that provide much-needed shade while breaking down the scale of the street and creating a transition between the human scale and the architecture that surrounds. The sizable dimension of the planters also affords the addition of a lush understory of vegetation, which adds not only to the aesthetics of the street space but also its biodiversity, air quality, and microclimate.

Similarly, Streetlife planters were selected to celebrate the forecourt of Cleveland’s Historic Terminal Tower Building. Here, the custom Hug a Tub designs include trees and lush seasonal plantings that are integrated with inviting seating areas for the public, particularly those waiting at the site’s bus stop.

The next location of improvement connects the Historic Terminal Tower with the Tower City development. Both buildings are owned by the clients, so, as Mauer describes, they wanted to make a special area to connect the buildings and make what has been formerly described as a ‘dark’ street feel bright and happy. The custom Streetlife planters in parallelogram shapes add greenery, variety, and excitement to the corridor. Along with this, a custom-tiered bench relating to the rotunda form of Tower City brings a dramatic and welcoming feel that encourages the public to interact, engage, and remain within the space.

Pedestrian-Friendly Design

Central to the project is the concept of creating pedestrian-friendly environments. This includes widening sidewalks, adding new street/sidewalk lighting, reconditioning pavers and other sidewalk surfaces, and enhancing crosswalks to improve safety and encourage walking.

A significant highlight of Downtown Streetscapes Bedrock 0.0 is its focus on public art and cultural elements. The project includes the installation of art installations, sculptures, and murals that reflect the city’s rich history and culture. These artistic elements not only add visual interest but also serve to enhance the cultural identity of the downtown area.

Summary

Downtown Streetscapes Bedrock 0.0 represents a significant step in revitalizing Cleveland’s urban landscape. By prioritizing city greening, pedestrian-friendly design, and public art, the project sets a standard for transforming downtown Cleveland into a more liveable, vibrant, green urban centre.

 

Published on June 6, 2024

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