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Case Studies 

Public Square




Contributed by 
Shin-pei Tsay
Project for Public Spaces
October 22, 2004
December 14, 2017

The roads that carve up this downtown square make it nearly impossible to reach by foot, squandering its prime location.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Cleveland's Public Square is surrounded by wide roads with fast moving traffic. Streets also divide the square into four quadrants, and few people want to dodge the cars and trucks in order to visit. So, there's little going on there. The Square's mediocrity is all the more frustrating in light of its promising location: Cleveland's main street, Euclid Avenue, connects Public Square to Playhouse Square, the city's theater district, and the Square fronts Terminal Tower, a beautiful old mixed-used, transit-centered development. Public Square's saving grace may be the potential to use these nearby assets to reconnect itself to the attractive downtown. Opportunities The first priority should be to make Public Square more accommodating to pedestrians by narrowing intersections, reducing the number of vehicle lanes, and slowing down traffic. These steps are prerequisite to creating better connections between the Square and key places along its edges, such as Terminal Tower. These improved connections set the stage for increased coordination between neighboring property owners and the reintroduction of lively ground floor uses in all the buildings that face the Square. The finishing touch would be to program activities and create attractions and amenities to support this programming within each of the Square's four quadrants. The City of Cleveland, led by Mayor Jane Campbell, has already held a visioning session with stakeholders in the area to develop ideas for improving Public Square. We hope to see these ideas implemented soon.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

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*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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