Tuesday, October 11, 2016  |  0 Comment(s)  |   Email   Print

A Look at Western Reserve Land Conservancy's Cleveland Property Inventory

by Ryan Mackin

Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s (WRLC) Thriving Communities Program recently published a 200-page report on its 2015 inventory of all properties in the city of Cleveland. The report, called Cleveland Neighborhoods By The Numbers, is available here in PDF format, and as a printed book as well.

In addition to the plethora of maps and data in the report, one unique yet integral addition is how WRLC “examines the human elements of disinvestment.” Throughout the report there are stories, interviews and photographs of an array of Cleveland residents and business owners. From Slavic Village to Hough, Detroit Shoreway to Lee-Harvard, the very human story and relationship with Cleveland’s ever-changing landscape is told by the Clevelanders who see it every day. Their words—their triumphs and tribulations—are why many of us do the work that we do.

With these stories we are able to assess what the data really means. When zoomed out to the City as a whole, the overall inventory data is quite telling as well:

  • Over 158,000 parcels surveyed by 16-member team
  • Over 6,000 deteriorated buildings inventoried
  • 71% of Cleveland’s residential, commercial and industrial properties have occupied structures
  • 8% have vacant structures, 18% are vacant parcels and the remaining 3% are parks, parking lots and non-inventoried properties
  • 84% of occupied structures are graded A (excellent) or B (good)
  • 37% of vacant buildings are graded D (deteriorated) or F (unsafe/hazardous)

The first part of the inventory report analyzes the overall status of Cleveland parcels and its neighborhoods. Tallying vacancy and structure condition data, it’s easy to see which areas of the city have the greatest need for assistance and stabilization.

The second part the publication shows maps for inventory results of each parcel in every Cleveland neighborhood, while the appendix maps vacant structures and land in every Cleveland neighborhood.

The report also covers commercial and industrial buildings, real estate values, redlining and other historically destructive measures, public health issues, crime and safety, future development, historical preservation, and greening opportunities.

By knowing the vacancy status of each neighborhood, elements such as lead exposure and crime are then overlayed to draw correlation between issues adversely affecting Cleveland residents. This is a big next step that other reports have failed to address in a complete way. The potential for this data to be used to address issues beyond vacancy is immense. Cleveland Neighborhoods By The Numbers really ties the big picture together.

A general critique of large-scale inventory efforts has been time-sensitivity—by the time the inventory is complete and analyzed, the status of some parcels has already changed. Although this is the reality when implementing a massive inventory project, it is the only way to establish a thorough, city-wide baseline. As long as agencies continue reporting data concerning demolition, rehab and vacancy through a consistent process, the data in this report will remain relevant. Once combined with other data analysis tools, the 2015 inventory will be effective for years to come. This is not to say a new inventory will not be warranted. By repeating the full-scale study every 5 to 10 years, we can stay on top of the issues that will still be significant for decades to come.

Although Vacant to Vibrant performed its own reconnaissance in finding neighborhoods-in-need and site selection within each neighborhood, the WRLC inventory would have served as an outstanding foundation for the type of project that V2V aimed to be. We hope that other projects in Cleveland, large or small, utilize this inventory as a starting point for targeted change throughout the city.

Finally, as V2V is a regional project, we are well aware of the differences in data available from city to city. This type of inventory is an essential tool not just for Cleveland, but similar data would provide a solid backbone for progress in every Legacy City. Hopefully the report will encourage others throughout the region to follow suit so that inventory data can be part of the catalyst for change, repair and growth in all of America’s Rust Belt.



All graphics in this blog post courtesy of Cleveland Neighborhoods By The Numbers: 2015 Cleveland Property Inventory (Western Reserve Land Conservancy, 2015).

In order of appearance:

The banner graphic, a bar chart of percentage vacancy per Cleveland neighborhood, is taken from Pg. 32 of Cleveland Neighborhoods By The Numbers. The V2V project neighborhood of Buckeye-Woodhill ranks as one of the communities with the highest percentage of vacant structures.

Cleveland Property Summary Table (Pg. 8)

Patterns of Vacancy map showing block group-level vacancy (Pg. 4)

Overall/Occupied/Vacant Structures pie charts (Pg. 9)

The final two maps show the individual parcel status of occupied and vacant parcels in the V2V project neighborhood of Buckeye-Woodhill (previously known as Woodland Hills). The map on the left (Pg. 102) shows actual inventory results as categorized by surveyors, while the map on the right (Pg. 170) further illustrates grades of vacancy.

You may select each image to view at higher resolution in a new browser tab or window. Resolution shown is the maximum resolution available from the report PDF. Please contact WRLC for higher resolution images or a printed book of this report. 

Again, you may download the standard report PDF here.



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