Making Sense of Place--Cleveland

Making Sense of Place--Cleveland : Confronting Decline in an American City

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Cleveland: Confronting Decline in an American City examines the ongoing crisis of urban decay and the erosion of inner suburbs in what was once America’s fifth largest city. The film, in digital video, includes both original photography shot on location during 2004 and 2005, and historical and archival footage of Cleveland’s vibrant economic past and early days as a manufacturing powerhouse. The producers conducted in-depth interviews with dozens of residents, leading civic figures, commentators, planners, policy makers, developers, business executives, and many others who live and work in the region – all confronting suburban growth and accompanying decline in the urban core, as well as signs of hope and neighborhood revitalization.“We selected Cleveland to some extent as a counterpoint to Phoenix,” says Cram. “They are about the same size, but have had diametrically opposed experiences – in Phoenix outrageous growth, and in Cleveland persistent decline. We looked at demographic change, economic change, and policy change, which all play a part, but our real interest is change from the standpoint of where people are choosing to live, and the manner in which a city is transformed by those choices.”The film’s candid and journalistic approach examines urban neighborhoods, booming suburban areas, and downtown Cleveland – home to the popular Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jacobs Field baseball stadium, but still falling short of a full revitalization. The film seeks to educate and inspire citizens to engage in a civic dialogue about economic opportunities, population loss, social equity, regional impacts, and public and private partnerships that can shape the city’s future.There is much in Cleveland’s story that can inform other cities across the United States that are wrestling with similar issues and seeking to understand the forces that shape growth patterns. “This film is for a general audience who feels that there is something at stake when they think about the city they live in,” Cram says. 
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