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Center for Policy Studies

Public Affairs Discussion Group

What Can Be Done With Vacant Urban Land in Shrinking Cities?

W. Dennis Keating, Ph.D., J.D. - Levin College of Urban Affairs Distinguished Professor and Director of the Master of Urban Planning, Design, and Development (MUPDD) Program at Cleveland State University
Friday October 21, 2011
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

The Mayor of Detroit, David Bing, has suggested the city might have to cut off services to nearly a third of its territory, up to 40 square miles. This is land that has been so widely abandoned, he argued, that given Detroit's parlous financial condition it makes no sense to spend millions of dollars maintaining basic services to very few people. It would be better for those people if they were to move into parts of the city that have not declined so precipitously - and in which housing is already extremely cheap

We have not heard such proposals in Cleveland, but the city and some of its suburbs face similar problems. Tens of thousands of houses have been abandoned as the city's population has plummeted. The tax base has shrunk along with the population. Having abandoned homes in a neighborhood depresses the value of the remaining housing, creates security issues, and therefore fuels a spiral of flight and decline.

What is to be done? A few years ago then-Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis came to the Friday Public Affairs Discussion and described a new initiative: a Cuyahoga County Land Bank that would "establish nonprofit corporations to promote, develop, manage and facilitate the reclamation, holding, rehabilitation and reutilization of vacant, abandoned, tax-foreclosed and other real property." This week we revisit this major issue for our local community.

Dennis Keating is Professor in both the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Public Affairs and the Cleveland Marshall College of Law, and directs the Masters in Urban Planning, Design and Development program at CSU. He recently published a report which finds the program has been successful so far. How is the Land Bank working out? What is it doing? And are there other good ideas? Join us and Professor Keating as we discuss the challenge.

Very best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest...

Dennis Keating is a Levin College Distinguished Professor. He holds a joint faculty appointment in the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He is Director of the Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development (MUPDD) Program. He formerly served as Chair of the Department of Urban Studies, Director of the Office of Student Services, Acting Director of several graduate programs, and Associate Dean and Acting Dean of the College of Urban Affairs. Dr. Keating has been President of the Housing and Built Environment Research Council of the International Sociological Association. He teaches courses on housing, neighborhood development, urban planning, and land use law. In the Fall, 2008 and 2010 semesters he taught a new course on the housing foreclosure Crisis (Neighborhood Development). He has published widely in these fields. In Fall, 2003, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow.

Where We Meet

This year the Friday Public Affairs Lunch will convene each Friday when classes are in session in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. There is also on-street parking on both East Drive and Bellflower. Both are fairly short walks from the library.

Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

October 28: Should the Workday Include Time for Naps? Research Concerning Sleep and Productivity. Elizabeth Click, Assistant Professor, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

November 4: (Re)Regulating Financial Services: How Laws May Work in Practice.  Michael Wager J.D., Squire, Sanders and Dempsey

November 11: How are Successful Companies and Successful Universities Alike?  Richard E. Boyatzis, Distinguished University Professor and H. R. Horvitz Chair of Family Business, Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science.

November 18: Wikipedia in the University.  Peter Shulman, Assistant Professor of History.

November 25: No Session - Thanksgiving Break

December 2: University Circle Update. Steven Litt, Architecture Critic, Cleveland Plain Dealer

December 9: Outsourcing and Offshoring Legal Services.  Cassandra Burke Robertson, Associate Professor of Law

October 17, 2011

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Upcoming Events

The Importance of Community Leadership in 2011

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri’s Fifth U.S. Congressional District and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

October 20, 2011, 12:30-2 p.m., Case Western Reserve University Annual Louis Stokes Leadership Symposium on Social Issues and the Community, Allen Memorial Medical Library, 11000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44106. This program is free and open to the public. Reception follows.

Congressman Cleaver serves on the House Committees on Financial Services and on Homeland Security. He was Mayor of Kansas City from 1991-1999. Recent speakers for the symposium include U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters from California, U.S. Rep. Melvin L. Watt from North Carolina and U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel from New York.



October 20, 2011, 4:30-6:00 p.m., Case Western Reserve University, 108 Mandel Center, 11402 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106, ACES Distinguished Lectureship, Free and Open to the Public.

Nan Keohane writes and teaches in political philosophy, leadership and feminist theory. She has served as president of Wellesley College (1981-1993) and Duke University (1993-2004). She is the author of Thinking about Leadership.

Ethics in Humanitarian Intervention

Reuben Brigety, Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the US Department of State, Africa Bureau, Wednesday, October 26th. 2011, at 12:30pm in the Inamori Center. (ground floor, Crawford Hall, CWRU campus, corner of MLK and Euclid)

Reuben Brigety, Ph.D., will discuss the challenges of applying humanitarian principles in Somalia and elsewhere.

October 2011














































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