GreenCityBlueLake is like the central nervous system for sustainability in NEO. We don’t often blog about projects in which we’re partners, but Mobile Encounters—pop-up cultural districts in Cleveland’s Asia Village and its Ohio City neighborhood—are potentially significant. But they need your vote before they can happen.
A finalist in the CAC’s Creative Culture competition, Mobile Encounters will bring concepts of vibrant cities to life for two weeks on Payne and Lorain avenues. Similar to Pop Up Rockwell, a bold demonstration in April, 2012 of a “complete street” in downtown Cleveland, the creative minds at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative plus Kent State’s design students, and the bike community headed by BikeCleveland will make it happen. Ohio City Inc. and the Asian Festival are excited about tying in their local food district and street festival which attracts 50,000 people in May.
"These installations will really accentuate the cultural diversity that exists in these neighborhoods," Jacob Van Sickle, director of BikeCleveland, explains in the project video. "They’ll bring the neighborhoods to the street, and create a place to be active."
Mobile Encounters plans to engage the community, such as Ohio City’s artisanal, local food businesses and across town Asian Services in Action—to flesh out their vision for a more vibrant cultural district. Where gaps in infrastructure—such as crosswalks and bike lanes—and where placemaking in pocket parks, food truck corrals, or BioRetention Wifi benches need filling, Mobile Encounters will creatively respond.
"It’s an experiment on the ground," Jennifer Coleman, chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, says in the video. "So people can really understand the benefits of being together, as pedestrians, and being out of the car."
“Once we get people on the street, it will be a big social event,” adds Michael Fleming, director of St. Clair-Superior CDC.
With Mobile Encounters, Cleveland will continue to lead a national effort to address underutilized or hazardous places with “DIY Urbanism”. Its sometimes called Tactical Urbanism, which Planetizen and Urban Times called the Top Planning Trend in 2012. In Cleveland's biggest example, Pop Up Rockwell (and likely Mobile Encounters), the "tactical" side was to engage key decision makers at Cleveland City Hall in the project in order to demonstrate and influence what is possible within the city’s 2011 Complete and Green Streets law.
Mobile Encounters will be another opportunity to push forward Complete Streets education and training for Cleveland and Cuyahoga traffic engineers who still lack first-hand experience with model bike and pedestrian facilities, and how to convert vibrant cities concepts into reality.
Mobile Encounters is a project of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and GreenCityBlueLake in partnership with the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and Bike Cleveland.
Download the Mobile Encounters flier and paper ballot.