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Description. The University neighborhood encompasses two of Cleveland’s most well known places, University Circle and Little Italy. University Circle came into being in the 1880s with the donation of 63 acres of wooded parkland to the City by financier Jeptha Wade, one of the creators of Western Union. “Little Italy.” was established in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants who settled there for lucrative employment in the nearby marble works. The dense housing in Little Italy represents the largest residential area in the neighborhood. There are a few other isolated streets of residential and student housing located in the neighborhood. The majority of the land in the neighborhood is either institutional use or park land.

Assets. Among the neighborhood’s most significant assets are:

  • educational institutions like Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Music School Settlement, John Hay High School and the Arts Magnet School
  • health institutions the University Hospitals and the Veterans Hospital
  • cultural attractions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, Severance Hall, the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Children’s Museum and the Cleveland Botanical Gardens
  • natural features such as Doan Brook and the hillside to the “Heights”
  • open spaces such as Wade Park, Ambler Park and Lakeview Cemetery

Challenges. Among the challenges faced by the University neighborhood today are:

  • increasing the variety of housing available for a variety of markets and identifying locations for new housing
  • maintaining aging historically significant housing
  • undertaking improvements that will maintain the vibrancy of Little Italy’s commercial district
  • creating a lively center of activity for University Circle
  • reconfiguring roadways to improve sense of place and traffic flow
  • better integrating rapid transit stations into the fabric of the district
  • creating development sites for institutional expansion and spin-off development

Vision. Maintain the University area as a leading center of arts, education and health care but with an improved sense of neighborhood and an increased variety of housing options. Among the development opportunities and initiatives proposed are the following:

  • encourage institutional improvements that maintain University Circle as a center of arts and culture for the region
  • encourage the student, faculty and worker populations of the universities and institutions to live in the neighborhood by providing the necessary housing, retail, entertainment job, and technological amenities they require and create a 24 hour environment
  • reinforce University Circle as the number two economic center for the region behind downtown
  • develop neighborhood connections utilizing natural amenities such as Doan Brook and Rockefeller Park
  • undertake roadway and intersection improvements that create gateways, increase safety and improve pedestrian friendliness
  • undertake improvements to transit stations that will foster the construction of transit-oriented development projects

Printable version: can be downloaded here.

Maps (current as of May 2007): Assets, Development Opportunities, Land Use (existing and proposed), and Retail Strategies are available here. (PDF)


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