polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Modeling a Green Street in Cleveland

by Vivien Park

Pop Up Rockwell is a green street-improvement project based on rapid design prototyping. For a week in April, an underused stretch of Cleveland's Rockwell Avenue was transformed into a tangible vision of bike and pedestrian friendliness. Temporary structures like cycle tracks, stormwater-biofiltration benches, enhanced waiting areas for public transit, and wind-animated public art were installed, experienced and studied. The lightweight modular configuration made it possible to transport the installation to other sites and optimize its functions.

The project was carried out by graduate students at Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), along with non-profit organizations, the municipal government, federal agencies and local businesses. Although the methods are lean, this project reflects best practices of temporary urbanism developed through CUDC's Pop Up City initiative and recommendations from Cleveland’s Complete and Green Streets Ordinance and Group Plan Commission.

As green planning becomes more common, the use of urban prototypes could potentially be a rapid, collaborative and cost-effective way to implement and adapt innovative ideas.

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