Kent State University (Jacob)



Aug '08 - Dec '09

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    The Site

    By jacob
    Aug 31, '08 10:19 PM EST

    Studio this fall is an urban design studio.

    Of all places, our site is Streetsboro, OH.

    If you’re not from [Northeast] Ohio, let me explain.

    Streetsboro is where I480 (the Cleveland “outerbelt”) ends
    It is a major junction with the I80 turnpike.
    The main drag is OH-14 which connects Cleveland to Pittsburgh.
    The other main drag is OH-43 which runs through Kent, Ohio, just 10ish miles south.

    The population is around 15,000; and statistically, it is statistically 99% white (and typically, 36 years old, married, and only speaking English). It’s a juxtaposition of people trying to “move to the country” from Cleveland or near-suburbs and people who really just want a house close to the interstate so they can drive home to Pittsburgh every weekend but still only have a 35 minute commute to Cleveland.

    It’s chamber of commerce membership list reads like a “Who’s Who of American Middle-Class Nationwide Shopping establishments.” With the exception of a pizza shop and a few regional sports-bar chains, there are virtually no local/independent business.

    It’s essentially a place, full of places where I don’t want to go.
    But somebody (and actually, a lot of people) want to go to all of these places. All of the time. And they’ll drive to get to them.

    So how does this “service city” deal with urban design? Everything is so absolutely boring and out of control that it’s amazingly interesting (and often for all of the ‘wrong’ reasons).

    I’m really intrigued. I feel that this is the edgy project that in the back of my mind I was hoping to get.


    • dedubs

      throw the midwest for a spin. introduce bike paths on busy roads, see if anyone knows what they're used for.

      Sep 1, 08 2:21 pm  · 


      They don't.

      I walked the site today (there are sidewalks). I literally got honked at simply for being on foot and potentially in the way (I was crossing a driveway, and mostly across, and an entering SUV felt it necessary to remind me that in Streetsboro, foot is not an acceptable form of transportation).

      I'll have some really offbeat statistics at the end of the week.

      Sep 1, 08 7:54 pm  · 
      liberty bell

      Wow - I'm really looking forward to your study! Those totally ugly unfriendly impersonal junky suburban environments are fascinating.

      Maybe some Extreme Traffic Calming (or a tree in every parking space), and an incubator for independent restaurateurs?

      Sep 1, 08 11:17 pm  · 

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