Reversing Urban Dystrophy

Rebuilding the Connective Tissues of US Cities



Oct '11 - Feb '12

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    Urban Analysis Exercise: Cincinnati

    Kurt Neiswender
    Feb 17, '12 12:38 PM EST

    Project 1 Summary

    For Project 1 I chose the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati is located in Hamilton County which is in the southwestern corner of Ohio. Cincinnati is bounded by the Ohio River to the south, the Great Miami River to the west and some low lying hills to the north and east. Cincinnati, like many eastern cities in the United States was settled originally by Native Americans. As early settlers moved west Cincinnati was acquired from the indigenous people at a very low cost and prepared for rapid expansive western development. The local geography of the region reflects the city’s strategic settlement. As many industrial cities in the early American days it is positioned on some ideal flat land along a very long river that connects to many other colonial areas.

    It was this geographic context that my analysis first emerged from. After the various deductive hand drawings I discovered that the growth of the urban core of Cincinnati is concentrated in the flatland along the Ohio River and expands to the north through arterial roads that climb up the valleys of the “seven hills” of the city.

    Another striking feature of my visual graphic analysis was the profound amount of land dedicated to industrial land use. This area is concentrated on the western edge of the downtown area stretching north along the Great Miami River. Historically there is a lot of common sense that this would be the case, but in Cincinnati's case there is a great loss of natural eco-scape that the city’s residents could enjoy. Possibly this could happen as the city grows away from the gritty industrial past and into a more sustainable future. At least this would be an ideal use that is in close proximity to the populated urban core.

    Since the advent of the automobile Cincinnati was not immune to the interstate system’s sinuous veins of circulation. Two major interstates intersect each other and pass through the downtown of Cincinnati. I-75 flanks the west side of downtown and I-471 swoops down the east side. Two blocks off of the Ohio River these two freeways interchange with a sub-grade thoroughfare. On the upside this wide multi-lane road is crossed by almost all the streets from the downtown to the waters edge, but on the down-side the freeway network creates a physical barrier for pedestrian access to the recreation at the waterfront. Here is one other area where there is a lot of wasted potential, even though the city has a plan underway to take advantage of the waterfront areas between the football and baseball stadiums, there could be potential for much more. I hope that there is more development of recreation for this area in the coming years. 


    • mdler

      Newport on the Levy, my friend

      Feb 18, 12 1:06 am  · 

      the portion of i-75/71 that cuts downtown and the riverfront that are below grade do have the infrastructure in place to support future "burial" of the freeways to create more park space and pedestrian access.

      Feb 18, 12 1:54 pm  · 

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This is my personal blog to express my thoughts and research on architecture and urban design bridging academic and practice. My interests are in exploring the sustainability of urban environments.

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