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March 23, 2015

Urban Affairs college class wins national award

By Melanie Morris

FlatsThe planning studio class for spring 2014 in the Levin College of Urban Affairs has won a national student award from the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Each year, the AICP recognizes exceptional work in the Planning Accreditation Board, which is comprised of accredited planning programs that contribute to advances in the field of planning. Faculty instructors and advisers nominate student accomplishments, ranging from class projects to papers.

There are three categories for the award: Application of the Planning Process — won by Harvard University this year, Applied Research — won by The University of Texas at Austin this year, and Contribution of Planning to Contemporary Issues.

Cleveland State University’s class project titled “Irishtown Greenway: A Strategic Plan for the Flats West Bank” won the award for the third category.

Wendy Kellogg, associate dean of the Levin College, and Jim Kastelic, college fellow and planning professional, led the project. The student team members who are enrolled in the Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development program are Juleian Curtis, Nikki Glazer, Dion Harris, Dean Ibsen, Kyle Krewson, Andrew Lang, Shiqi Lu, Darrick Matthews, Michael Mears, Matthew Moss, Caylen Payne, Scott Schirg, Steve Sump and Ann Thompson.

“These students are the next generation of planners in Northeast Ohio and we are very lucky to have had them in the program,” Kellogg said. “We are very proud of their accomplishment.”

The final project presented at the end of the class — offered each spring for students in the master’s program and required as a capstone course — included a document, PowerPoint presentation and website.

The project focuses on revitalizing the 86-acre west bank of the Flats in Cleveland. The team worked with an outside client, The Trust for Public Land, which protects land and creates parks in an effort to provide healthy communities for the public.

“We felt that the Flats were a perfect area to study for a project of this scope because of several revitalization efforts that are currently underway there,” Kastelic, who is working with The Trust for Public Land, said.

The project specifically mentions reviving the Lake Link Trail, an abandoned railroad in the neighborhood. The first phase of the students’ trail project is now under construction and should be done by the end of May.Logo

According to Kastelic, the entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2017. The Trust for Public Land has taken the students’ recommendations into consideration and has also used their maps and graphics during fundraising events.

“The students took a very comprehensive and innovative approach to this project,” Kastelic said. “We’re very proud of the students for all they were able to accomplish during the semester.”

The award will be presented at the APA/AICP Meeting and Leadership Honors Ceremony at the National Planning Conference in Seattle, Wash. in April. Michael Mears, who chaired the class steering committee for the project, and Ann Thompson will accept the award on behalf of their colleagues and the college.

“I am very excited and proud of my classmates, professors and the Levin College,” Mears said. “This award is a tribute to everyone’s hard work and contribution to the project.”

Mears said he believes urban planning plays a major role in how cities evolve and that planners have the knowledge and resources to create solutions for future challenges. He said he enjoyed his time at Cleveland State and working on the project, and Thompson agreed.

“Working with the other students on the project was a great way for me to end my time at CSU,” she said.

Visit http://www.irishtowngreenway.org/ to view the website created by the students about the project.