Cudell- One of Cleveland’s most racial diverse communities with the right urban bones to once again be a great urban district

The Cudell neighborhood has been a part of Cleveland since 1904. It was named after Frank Cudell who was a well know architect and bequeathed property to the city (where Cudell park and Recreation Center now stands). Cudell developed in the early 20th century as a streetcar suburb and mostly a working class community with residents working in nearby factories concentrated along W 117 and Berea Road. The construction of Interstate 90 in the 1960s isolated the neighborhood’s southern quarter and the Lorain business district. The neighborhood is now half of its peak population of 17K. Fortunately most of the residential streets have remained in tact especially the large homes along West Blvd. The commercial districts (especially Madison Ave) have not fared as well. Commercial uses along Madison are mostly gone and there is still significant vacancy along the corridor.

Cudell excels at great public transit access, affordable for sale homes, decent access to retail amenities (Target, Home Depot, and Stables are all located on W 117) and great racial diversity. With no racial group exceeding more than 1/3 of its population, this is probably Cleveland’s most diverse community. Cudell has the urban bones to be a great neighborhood, it just needs more investment and retail and cultural amenities to fill the vacancy, especially along the commercial corridors. My guess is that Cudell increasing sees the revitalization of neighboring Detroit Shoreway spill over. By 2035 I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a thriving urban district again. But that of course is not a done deal!

Click here to view my Cudell album on Flickr


* Solid sidewalk and ADA infrastructure with most intersections having up to date curb cuts.
* Excellent public transit service here and good access to Dwtn across all modes.
* Connectivity is generally good but the railroad and industrials areas cut into the street grid at points.
* Excellent racial diversity with no racially group exceeding 1/3 of the population. This is probably Cleveland’s most diverse community.
* Decent generational diversity. While households with children are a bit limited good adult diversity.
*Good amount of rental product that is generally pretty affordable. 1-beds lease btwn $500-750$, lots of 2-beds leasing btwn $800-the low 1Ks, plenty of 3-beds too leasing btwn 1K-1.4K.
* Pretty good tree canopy.
* Decent retail amenities concentrated on W 117th and Lorain including several Middle Eastern & Latino grocerias, a Target (with grocery), Home Depot, Staples, Save a Lot, a large Habitat Thrift store, a couple drug stores, several boutiques/clothing stores, several banks, a couple dessert joints, a public library, several churches, and a couple doctor offices.
* Excellent historic homes along West Blvd. Quality of housing off the Blvd is hit or miss. Some excellent but beat up historic commercial bldgs along Lorain.


* Decent Density
* No bike lanes in Cudell but it should be served somewhat by the City’s new dockland bike/scooter share.
* Poor economic diversity as 40% of residents are living in poverty. The Medium household income is just under 30K.
* Schools are so so. Good number of elementary schools (public, charter, and Catholic) but with mixed ratings. No walkable high schools or public middle schools.
* For Sale housing is mostly affordable with some moderate priced hsg. Really no 1-beds available. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-135K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 50K-250K. Higher end product includes the larger homes along West Blvd, newer hsg around the West Tech and some of the gentrification is pushing in from Detroit Shoreway.
*Cudell park is a nice and multi-faceted park with a recreational center that includes a pool but really not other park spaces in the neighborhood.
* Some cultural amenities including several restaurants & bars concentrated on Lorain, a couple coffee spots and art galleries and the Cudell Fine Arts Center and a couple night clubs.
* Good amount of vacancy here especially along Madison and its side streets. Some crime as well.
* Lots of auto centric crud along W 117 and Lorain.

Bedford, OH- A very diverse Eastside Cleveland Suburb with a rich history

Difficult to parse out exactly what is urban and suburb in Bedford. As a general rule I used the river as a southern boundary, Wellman St as the eastern, Columbus & albot as the northern, and the railroad tracks as the western boundary.

The first settlers to Bedford arrived in 1813. Early settlers to the region were drawn to Tinkers Creek and the hardwood forests. Waterfalls on Tinkers Creek were ideal for mills. In 1837 Bedford Township had a population of 475 people and petitioned to become the Village of Bedford. With the growth of industry in the area Bedford reached 2,000 souls in 1840. Bedford’s population quickly declined, however, as separate municipalities splintered off. In 1900 just under 1,500 people lived here. Population grew swiftly in the 20th century leading to over 7K residents in 1940 and more than doubling to 17K in 1970. Bedford’s population contracted by about 4K but has appeared to stabilize at around 13K.

Bedford has a fairly in tact main street core along Broadway between Franklin and Powers roads. A decent array of local shops and food and beverage businesses are here but I wouldn’t say its thriving. The oldest buildings in town surround Bedford public square. There is a sizable pre-WWII fabric mainly to the east of Broadway with decent urban form. Bedford also has great access to the Metro Parks, a very diverse population, affordable for-sale hsg, good historic architecture, and good public transit.  Bedford struggles with poor schools, low density, limited bike infrastructure, limited rental supply, and many autocentric stretches. I’d love to see more dense mixed-use development here, but the market just isn’t strong enough currently.

Click here to view my Bedford Album on Flickr


* Good public transit, especially for a suburb.
* Great economic and racial diversity here. Majority African American suburb with 1/3 of the population is White and about 4% is Hispanic. Good generational diversity too.
* For sale housing is very affordable and moderately priced. 1-beds sell btwn 65K-100K, 2-beds sell btwn 100K-150, 3&4 beds sell btwn 85K-250K. High end housing and for sale condos is certainly missing here.
* Good historic architecture.
* Good tree canopy.
* Just west of Dwtn Bedford is the extensive Metroparks surrounding Tinkers Creek. Also a public pool and several ballfields and a nice public square.
* Decent cultural amenities including a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, a couple art galleries, and the Bedford Historic Museum.
* Decent retail amenities include a supermarket, a couple drug stores, several boutiques, a couple consignment stores, a vinyl store, bookstore, a couple banks, several bakeries and dessert stores, a dwtn public library and post office, plenty of churches, and a major hospital. Many of the commercial amenities lie within autocentric spaces.
* Bedford is pretty safe overall but some pretty underutilized and sometimes vacant space along the southern reaches of Broadway Ave.


* Density is more like that of a suburb.
* Decent access to Dwtn with a 25 min drive and 45 minute bus ride. A bit longer for both modes to University Circle.
* Some gridded blocks but connectivity is so .
* Limited biking infrastructure. Dedicated bike path in the metro parks however, but that connects mostly to other parks.
* Only a handful of schools within the Bedford Dwtn and Bedford schools overall have poor ratings.
* Rentals are pretty limited esp. 1 & 2 bedrooms. What is available for lease is generally pretty affordable.
* Decent but not great ADA infrastructure.
* Modern in-fill in Dwtn Bedford is almost all autocentric and pretty ugly.
* Good urban form and streetscaping along the core of Broadway. But very autocentric in the north and southern reaches of Broadway and along OH-8.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty limited to the core of Broadway Ave and even here it’s not terribly active.
* Dwtn Bedford certainly struggles from a positive image.

Chardon Ohio- heart of Cleveland’s snowbelt and a quiet, bucolic Eastside historic suburb

The core of Chardon is along Chardon square and then extends out along the various roads radiating from Dwtn where there are sidewalks and older homes.

Chardon Township was incorporated in 1812. The town slowly grew decade by decade and by around the Civil War Chardon had reached 885 souls.  This was also around the time of the Chardon Fire which, in 1868, destroyed the majority of the  uptown area around Chardon Square. Fortunately Chardon Square was quickly rebuilt and what followed was a concentrated array of gorgeous Italianate Victorian commercial structures from the 1870s & 1880s. A new more beautiful county courthouse was also built at this time.

Post fire, Chardon’s population continued to modestly grow reaching 1,350 residents by 1900 and 2000 by 1940. Chardon also witnessed a modest amount of post-War II suburban growing doubling to  4,000 people in the 70s and reached just over 5,200 residents in 2020.

From an urban perspective Chardon has a lovely historic square surrounded by well occupied historic commercial bldgs on the west side and more institution buildings on the east. Several historic residential streets radiate out from Chardon Square, but a street grid is limited and the City quickly transitions into more suburban/bucolic development. Chardon is also very isolated, located more than 30 minutes from any major employment center and thus has poor public transit. But the City posts good cultural and retail amenities, great schools, decent parks, moderately priced housing, and a safe and quite environment.

Click here to view my Chardon Album on Flickr


* ADA infrastructure is good along the Chardon Square and hit or miss in streets move out.
* Good cultural amenities including a good array of restaurants, cafes, and a couple of community theaters,
* Good generational diversity with lots of families living here, but young adults are a bit limited.* Very high quality schools located within or just north of the core town.
* For sale housing prices are very reasonable here with 1-beds selling around 100K, 2-beds 150K-300K 3 &4 beds btwn 175-400K.
* Decent park amenities with the attractive central Chardon Square and Chardon Park, which includes a pool, several ballfields and other attractions.
* Very good tree canopy overall.
* Great historic architecture, especially the wonderful concentration of 1870s-1890s Italian commercial structures (thanks to a fire!). The residential homes are also very attractive.
* This is a very safe community.
* Good retail amenities although many reside just outside of the core area in strip malls (e.g. several supermarkets, a big lots, a home depot, a couple drug store, several banks, ). Around the square there are several boutiques,  antique, and home good stores, a couple banks, a couple gyms, several churches, a dwtn post office and public library.
* Definitively an in-demand Cleveland suburb.


* Density is similar to that of a suburb.
* Very limited transit provided by Geauga County.
* 35-40 minutes drive to all major employments areas (Chagrin Highlands, University Circle, and Dwtn. No real transit connections.
* Decent connectivity. Along the square but it quickly fades out.
* Bike infrastructure is overall limited but a nice dedicated recreational path cuts through town.
* Horrible racial diversity with over 96% of the population as white.
* Okay economic diversity.
* Rentals are reasonably priced but very limited, especially 1 & 2 bedrooms.
* No art galleries, live music venues, nor museums in Chardon.
* A decent amount of unattractive autocentric in-fill on the edge of the core. No inf-ill around Chardon Square.
* Not a ton of pedestrian activity but some around Chardon Square.

Berea, OH- Home to Baldwin Wallace University and lots of History

I include pre-WII development of Berea in this evaluation using Eastland Rd as the eastern border, the bottom of Coe Lake Park as the southern, Valley Parkway as the western, and the railroad as the northern border.

Berea was established in 1836 when educator John Baldwin joined forces with 2  Methodist circuit preachers to form an ideal Christian community. The town’s name was divinely decided by a flip of a coin between Tabor and Berea. The utopian Christian community didn’t last long but Baldwin tried to create Lyceum  Seminary instead. At same time Baldwin started making grindstones from sandstone in the nearby creek bed of the Rocky River and a quarrying industry arose in Berea. In 1845, Baldwin created an innovated new school, providing education to all, regardless of sex, race, religious creed, or ability to pay. It was renamed Baldwin University. In 1913, the current name Baldwin-Wallace University was established after the merger of two schools. Since then the town of Berea  has slowly grown around the college starting as a satellite community of Cleveland and eventually becoming a fully connected suburb after WW II.  Berea now hosts the Brown’s training facility and the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

Berea’s central biz district is located at Front and Center St. This is close to the heart of the Historic Balwin-Wallace Campus and the Berea Quarry (now Coe Lake). Attractive late 19th and early 20th century homes are nearby as well. Berea excels with plentiful affordable for-sale hsg, a safety, great park amenities, and decent cultural and retail amenities. To become a great urban community it needs more density, better transit access to dwtn, more walkable schools, more rental options, better bike infrastructure, and more mixed-use buildings along Front Street. 

Click here to view my album on Flickr


* Pretty good ADA infrastructure.
* Great economic diversity thanks to the large student population.
* For sale hsg is very affordable in Berea. Several condos bldgs where 1-beds sell btwn 50K and the low 100Ks. 2-bed sell btwn 100K-200K. 3 & 4 beds btwn 100K- the low 300Ks.
* Great tree canopy.
* Great park amenities including the Berea Recreation Center, the extensive Metro Park Trails, Lake Abraham Metro Reserve, Coe Lake, Baldin Creek trails, and green space on Baldin Wallace’s Quads.
* This a very safe community.
* Decent cultural amenities with several restaurants, cafes, and bars, a local arts center, a couple local museums, and the vibrant music program at Baldin Wallace.
* Decent retail amenities as Dwtn Berea host a supermarket, a couple drug stores, a handful of boutiques and home good stores, a couple banks, a dwtn library & post office, several dessert joints, a couple gyms, several churches, a couple doctor offices, and good access to Southwest General just east of Dwtn.
* Good historic architecture with lots of attractive homes from the late 1800s, historic University bldgs, and some good early 20th architecture in the biz district.


* Poor density.
* Pretty convenient drive to Dwtn but poor transit connection. It takes about 1 hr. to take the bus into dwtn.
* Overall transit connection is pretty poor in Berea.
* Nice bike lanes along the Metroparks but none on City streets.
* Limited racial diversity and esp. family diversity as much of the population is students.
* Only a high school and Catholic grade school are located within Dwtn Berea. 2 other schools are semi walkable in the more suburban half of Berea. Also schools are rated well.
* Not sure where all the students live but rentals are very limited but inexpensive. Few 1-beds available. 2 & 3 beds lease in the 1Ks.
* Good ped activity in Baldin Wallace and around Coe Lake but pretty limited elsewhere.
* Not much urban in-fill but a decent mixed-use bldg and several 1960s in-fill condos and townhouses. Also some unattractive auto centric in-fill.
* Some good urban massing at the core Biz district at Front and Center. But the rest of Front and Bagley are a mixed-bag and often pretty desolate.

Old Brooklyn- Home of the Cleveland Zoo and a stable community for middle class families

I excluded the suburban part of Old Brooklyn east of I-176 (Jennings Freeway). During the late 1880s farmers in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood were among the first in the Midwest to use greenhouses to cultivate vegetables and by the 1920s the neighborhood was one of the nation’s leading producers of greenhouse vegetables.

Development started to replace the farmsteads by the late 1800s and early 20th century and Brooklyn became another Cleveland streetcar neighborhood completely annexed into the City by 1927. There is also some housing on the edges developed btwn the 30s-50s. Old Brooklyn is also blessed with several commercial districts. Pearl, Broadview, and State roads were vibrant biz districts btwn the 1920s-1960s and were followed, after WWII , by  shopping plazas at  Memphis-Fulton, Broadview-Brook park, and Pearl-Brookpark. Old Brooklyn’s most notable landmark, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, created in 1907 after relocating from University Circle.

From an urban perspective this is one of Cleveland’s more stable residential areas and historically has been a place where middle class families who wanted to live in the City would consider purchasing an affordable home. There is some walkability here with many schools, decent transit and good access to dwtn, lots of parks, and some retail and cultural amenities. But there are still some iffy spots throughout and many vacant store fronts limiting the vibrancy of the biz district and retail options. Bike lanes are also limited. A major push to activate Brooklyn’s biz district and build mixed-use apartments along them would do wonders to the neighborhood from an urban perspective.

Click here to view my album on Flickr


* Consistent sidewalks and curb cuts throughout. 50-50 with modern ADA curb infrastructure and generally concentrated in the more upscale parts of the neighborhood.
* Convenient access to dwtn.  Only 15 minute drive and 30 min bus ride.
* Good diversity across all measures, especially economic.
* Good tree canopy.
* Overall good parks, especially the Cleveland Metro Parks around the Zoo, the expansive Loew Park, and Harmody Park which follows the creek. Several other small parks pretty well distributed throughout Old Brooklyn and several cemeteries.
* Culturally, decent restaurants & bars, several cafes, a couple art galleries, night clubs, and live music venues the Cleveland Zoo, and a couple of local museums.
* Good number of walkable schools across all ages but mixed ratings.
* An ok # of rentals but very affordable. 1-beds lease for $600-800, 2-beds btwn 700K into the low 1Ks, and a handful of 3-beds in the $1,000s.
* For sale is also very inexpensive. Small  1-beds sell btwn 50K-100K, 2 beds btwn 50K-200, 3 & 4-beds  btwn 75-350K.


* Bike lanes are patchy and not consistent. Not dedicated bike stations here.
* While housing is relatively inexpensive there is  limited higher end product (both rental and for-sale) .
* Ok retail amenities with a discount supermarket, a butcher & cheese shops, several drug stores, a large greenhouse in the middle of the district, a couple bike stores, a couple thrift stores, several dessert stores & bakeries, several banks, a public library & post office, a good # of churches, and a hospital.
* Urban form is good in chucks but often large auto centric breaks and consistent limited renovated stretches.
* Generally a safe area but with crime hot spots here and there. Also a good amount of vacant store fronts.
* In-fill is generally pretty limited but most of it crummy autocentric bldgs. But some decent mid-centric apartment bldgs with good urban form.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty low.

Historic Willoughby- an attractive historic suburb of Cleveland

Permanent White settlers first came to Willoughby in 1798, who operated a gristmill. In 1835, the village was permanently named “Willoughby” in honor of Dr. Westel Willoughby, Jr., a public health official and founder of a short-lived Medical College. Willoughby reached 1,000 residents in 1880s and slowly grew from there to just over 4,000 souls in 1940. The city’s population really boomed after WWII in areas not covered by this evaluation because they are very suburban.

From an urban perspective Willoughby excels at having an attractive and vibrant historic downtown. There are also several well rated walkable schools, good parks, moderately priced for sale housing, excellent tree canopy and a very high level of safety. But Dwtn Willoughby still has many suburban characteristics with many missing sidewalks, low density, no dedicated bike infrastructure, poor urban massing outside of the main street, and no walkable supermarkets and drug stores. While the chances of this occurring are slim, I’d love to see an effort to densify and urbanize this historic core of Willoughby. The infrastructure, sidewalks, and street grid are certainly there to do it.

Click here to view my Dwtn Willoughby Album on Flickr


* This is a very safe community.
* The population skews old by around 50% of households are family ones. Decent economic diversity too.
* Walkable schools within or nearby Historic Willoughby include a public middle & high school and catholic grade school. All are rated well.
* For Sale housing is moderately priced with 2-beds selling in the 100Ks, 3 & 4 bedrooms anywhere between 100K-400K depending on size and condition. A handful of larger homes costs more.
* Good array of parks within Historic Willoughby.
* Cultural amenities include a nice array of restaurants, bars, cafes, breweries, and a couple art galleries.
* Retail wise an excellent array of boutiques, home good stores, dessert places, and creative shops. Downtown also hosts a historic public library and the post office.
* Very nice historic architecture in Dwtn. The historic homes are mostly mediocre 30s-40s housing but some gems.
* Excellent tree canopy.


* Poor density more on pare with a suburban community.
* Some public transit access but overall pretty limited.
* Driving to Dwtn takes about 30 mins via bus on the weekday 50 mins. Limited transit access during the weekend.
* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is good along the historic main street but spotty in the residential areas. About 80% of the streets have sidewalks and less than half current ADA ramps.
* No dedicated bike lanes in historic Willoughby.
* Very low racial diversity as 98% of population is White.
* Rentals are very limited.
* Culturally no museums, or theaters.
* No supermarket nor drug store in Historic Willoughby.
* Not much modern in-fill and what does exist is mostly auto centric development.
* Massing and streetscaping is very good in Dwtn but quickly becomes auto centric in areas still within this evaluation.
* Pedestrian activity good Dwtn but limited in residential areas.

Shaker Square- A Transit Rich, Walkable, and Diverse Cleveland Community

Shaker Square is technically in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood but I carved out what is more considered the Shaker Square/Larchmere district. This includes the most stable portion of the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood and even a sliver of Shaker Heights. It is the area between the western border of Shaker Heights and Moreland Blvd (in the southern half) and the area between Shaker Square-Fairfield Hill Drive and MLK Dr and Coventry Rd in the northern half. Shaker Square has lived on the edge of some of Cleveland’s most impoverished and blighted communities (i.e. Buckeye, Mt. Pleasant and Woodland Homes) since the 1960s. What has kept it stable is the success of the Larchmere and Shaker Square biz districts and the stability of the Shaker School district present in the eastern half of the neighborhood.

Development of Shaker Square as a American Colonial-Georgian Shopping Center began 1927. At completion, it was the second planned shopping Center in the US after the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Many attractive restaurants, shops, bars, art galleries, and unique shops line Shaker Square and Larchmere. The neighborhood is also anchored by a cinema & Dave’s Supermarket. Other urban amenities include great transit access, stable but affordable housing, a high level of walkability, great tree canopy, and attractive architecture especially the 1920s Tudor Apartment buildings. Shaker Square still suffers from perceived crime problems and this has really held the neighborhood back and kept it highly undervalued from a real estate perceptive. Most of this concern is mis-placed due to Shaker Square’s close proximity to poorer parts of Cleveland. The neighborhood also needs better park amenities, bike infrastructure, and better performing schools in the Cleveland School District portion of the community. There is certainly also room for more density which would increase neighborhood vibrancy and amenities.

Click here to view my Shaker Square Album on Flickr


* Excellent transit access thanks to many bus lines and a dedicated rail line. This helps give Shaker Square solid access to Dwtn and University Circle.
* Great diversity across racial, economic, and generational lines. Over 50% of households are family households.
* Housing is generally affordable or moderately priced. Some 1-bedroom condos available mainly around Shaker Square selling in the low-mid 100Ks. 2-bedrooms condos, homes and townhouses sell from anywhere btwn 50K- low 200KS deepening on size and condition. Single Family 3-5 bedrooms sell anywhere between 50K-200K.
* Rentals are also very affordable. 1-beds lease for anywhere btwn 600K- the low 1Ks, 2-beds around $1,000s,  and 3 beds in the low $1,000s.
* There is also a decent amount of dedicated affordable housing.
* Great Tree canopy.
* Shaker Square hosts some good cultural amenities including many diverse restaurants, plenty of bars, cafes, and several art galleries. There is also a Cinema and dance studio.
* Retail amenities include a Dave’s Supermarket, Drug Store, a wonderful book store, nice array of boutiques, antiques, creative stores, and home good stores. There are also several dessert spots, a local post office & library, several gym, a specialty hospital, and indoor ice rink.
* Quality historic architecture, especially considering the Tudor apartments. Modern in-fill is generally quality too.
* Urban massing and streetscape is generally quite good other than a couple auto centric spots on Larchmere.


* Decent but not great density. A bit surprising considering all the apartment buildings in the neighborhood.
* Bike infrastructure is limited to only the dedicated bike lanes on MLK Boulevard.
* If anything there is not enough higher end luxury product in Shaker Square since the market is so soft.
* Schools are a mix of well performing schools in Shaker that some residents have access to and the poor performing schools in Cleveland. Fortunately in Cleveland there are a couple well performing charter schools and a good Catholic High School and Grade School.
* The neighborhood is generally safe, especially the areas next to Shaker Heights, Larchmere, and Shaker Square itself. Areas around Moreland and MLK Blvds can be a bit dodgy.
* Other than Ambler and Rockefeller park on the north edge, park space is pretty limited.
* Shaker Square sadly still suffers from perspective issue. This is mostly unjustified due to its close proximity to rougher parts of Cleveland. This largely holds the neighborhood’s potential back.

Shaker Heights- A well planned Cleveland inner Ring Suburb

In July 1911, a petition by property owners successfully detached Shaker Heights from Cleveland Heights. But Shaker Heights has a history that goes back almost 100 years before this. The community was originally established as the North Union Shaker Settlement in 1822 with just over 80 individuals of the infamous Unity Society of Believes “aka the Shakers”. The community peaked in the mid 1800s but fizzed out by the late 1800s. Modern day Shaker Heights was a planned community developed by the Van Sweringen brothers, railroad moguls who envisioned the community as a suburban retreat from the industrial inner city of Cleveland with a direct rail connection to Terminal Towner in Downtown. Development really picked up in the 1920s and Shaker filled in by about 1950.

Shaker Square was originally supposed to be within the Shaker Heights boundaries, but due to the founders’ wish to keep retail out of their community, it was given over to the city of Cleveland. This agreement also led to this portion of Cleveland remaining within the Shaker School District. Shaker Heights has been an attractive, amenity rich inner ring suburb since its founding characterized by stringent building codes/zoning laws, great park amenities, well rated schools, quality transit access, and good urban business districts. Like Cleveland Heights, Shaker made conscious efforts toward Black-White integration starting in the late 1950s. As a result, Shaker Heights avoided many of the problems created from practices such as blockbusting and white flight and now is a very integrated community, albeit still facing significant economic white-black disparities. To become a great urban community Shaker needs to relax its zoning and permit more density and mixed use development. It especially needs better urban development at the Van Aiken District and Lee & Van Aiken. This is also need for more bike infrastructure and cultural amenities.

Click here to view my Shaker Heights


  • Excellent family diversity (65% Family households) and racial diversity.
  • Great transit access helped by have two light rail lines running through.
  • Very safe community overall.
  • Up to date ADA infrastructure was very consistant.
  • Excellent array of walkable public and private schools. Really impressed with the sheer number of elementary schools providing a walkable options to most residents of the City. Shaker is also home to a large concentration of expensive private high schools.
  • A decent # of rentals. 1-bedrooms are concentrated around Shaker Square and the Van Aiken District and lease for btwn $700 and the low $1,000s. 2-beds a bit more broadly distributed lease in the law $1,000s, and 3 bedrooms btwn the low 1Ks and low 2Ks.
  • Good for sale diversity. Cluster of 1-bed condos along Van Aiken selling btwn 30K-100K, 2-beds sell for anywhere btwn 30K-300K and can be a condo, small house or townhouse. 3-bed homes sell anywhere btwn 85K-400K. 4 & 5 beds is a bit more expensive but with the additional of mansions selling btwn 500K-1 M.
  • Excellent recreational amenities including a whole system of trails, woods, and lakes along Shaker’s natural streams. Instead of burying them (like most cities) Shaker made them assets. Also plenty of playgrounds, ballfields, and a swimming poor spreader throughout.
  • Culturally a decent amount of restaurants, bars, and cafes in Shakers 4 Commercial nodes (Shaker Square/Larchmere, Lee & Van Aiken, the Van Aiken District, and Fairmount Circle), several art galleries, the Shaker Square Cinema, and Shaker Historical Museum.
  • Retail amenities are good including 2 supermarkets, several drug stores, a wonderful bookstore, hardware store, lots of general retail, great array of boutiques and creative retail at Larchmere and the Van Aiken district, plenty of banks, dessert spots and gyms.
  • Excellent tree canopy.
  • Many gorgeous mansions but also lots of more modest mid century architecture.


* Poor urban density. Closer to that of an autocentric suburb than urban district.
* Street connectivity works in Shaker Heights but intentionally confusion. This certainly hurts Shaker’s imageability.
* A couple recreational/bike lanes but no dedicated bike lanes are strongly connected routes.
* Medium household income but still some decent diversity. 8.5% of population is under the poverty line.
* No community theaters, museums, or live music venues in Shaker.
* Mixed bag in terms of urban form with Shaker’s Biz district. Shaker Square (just outside of Shaker) is great and so is Larchmere. Lee & Van Aiken is mostly strip malls with parking in front, the Van Aiken District is quasi urban but a nice semi-lifestyle center, and Fairmount Circle is small but walkable.
* Having lots of auto centric biz districts obviously leads to some crummy modern in-fill. Good mixed-use infill at the Van Aiken District however.
* Outside of the business district, pedestrian activity is pretty sparse. 

Cleveland Heights [West]- An Affluent but Urban Cleveland Suburb

For evaluation purposes I divided Cleveland Heights around Superior Road. Southwest of Superior Road is what I consider to be West Cleveland Heights. This is the more affluent, urban, and amenity rich portion of Cleveland Heights that contains its best housing and the business districts of Cedar-Lee, Coventry, Cedar Fairmount, and Cedar Taylor.

Rockefeller was one of the first to come to Cleveland Heights at present day Forest Hills Park. More consequential development began with the Euclid Heights development in 1892. By the end of 1899 the streetcar reached Cleveland Heights along Mayfield Road to the old village of Fairmount. In 1910 Cleveland Heights had a population about 5,000 people and 15,400 by 1920, This tripled in the next decade and by 1960 the City hit its highwater mark of 61,813. Cleveland Heights is one of Cleveland’s most diverse urban areas. This first began in the 50s when the City saw a large influx of many Jewish people leaving Cleveland, particularly the Hough and Glenville neighborhoods. The City also dismantled its restrict covenants in the 1960s and encourage many African American families to move to the City helping the City move from only 1% Black population to its current representation around 40%.,

From an urban perspective West Cleveland Heights excels at having multiple concentrated urban business districts well distributed across its borders. It also has gorgeous historic architecture, high levels of cultural and retail amenities, convenient access to University Circle, excellent housing diversity, and is safe. Surprisingly Cleveland Heights has very low density. These leads to vibrant activity being concentrated in its biz nodes. There is also need for better schools, more bike infrastructure, and several autocentric areas along Mayfield Rd.

Click Here to view my Cleveland Heights [West] Album on Flickr


* Generally very good ADA infrastructure minus some intersections without modern ADA infrastructure.
* Access to Dwtn Cleveland is pretty good but excellent access to University Circle an employment center of around 30K jobs.
* Excellent economic diversity but also racial and family diversity.
* Excellent diversity of for-sale housing. A good # of 1-bedroom condos selling anywhere btwn 80K to the low 200Ks; 2-bedrooms are either older condos selling in the 100Ks/low 200Ks or new townhomes selling in the 300Ks & 400Ks. Most 3 bedrooms sell between 75K-300K but some larger and newer townhouses sell around 400K & 500K.  4 & 5 bedrooms also have a great range. The large mansions sell btwn 500K and 1 M.
* Rentals are generally very moderately priced. 1 beds lease anywhere btwn &700 to low $1,000s, 2 beds btwn 800K and mid $1,000s, 3-beds in the low-mid $1,000s. 4 beds a bit more.
* Solid park spaces ring west Cleveland Heights including  Doan’s Broke (aka Shaker Lakes), Lake View Cemetery, Forest Hill Park, and Cumberland Park, and Cain Park/
* Culturally a good number of ethnic restaurants, bars, cafes, and breweries. Also a historic cinema that still operates, several local theaters and art galleries, and convenient access to all the museums and other cultural amenities of University Circle and Little Italy.
* Solid retail amenities as well including  3 full service supermarkets, drug store,  several book stores, a hardware store, banks, dessert joins, and plenty of boutiques and unique retail dispersed among Cleveland Heights several solid commercial nodes. There is also a public library, several top notch hospitals located 2-3 miles away in University Circle and many big box stores in Several & brand name retail in Severance Town Center 1 mile away.
* Excellent tree canopy.
* Great historic architecture and generally urban in-fill is good except for some auto centric bldgs here and there.


* Nice dedicated bike lane along the Shaker Lakes and a small one along Lee road but no dedicated bike stations.
* Poor density at just over 5,000 per square mile.
* Good pedestrian activity in the commercial nodes. Pretty dead in the residential streets, especially where the larger homes are located.
* Good array of walkable schools but rating are only okay.
* Generally a safe City but some rough spots, more in east Cleveland Heights however.

West Boulevard- A solid early 20th century district on Cleveland’s Westside ready to be noticed

West Boulevard developed around the turn of the 20th century as Cleveland’s streetcar system extended outwards, primarily along Lorain. W 105, Memphis, and Dennison were also built as mixed-use streets although they have experienced a good amount of blight and auto centric development. Large homes were built on set back lawns along the curvilinear West Blvd. This homes demand the highest prices in the neighborhood generally btwn 150K-200K.

West Boulevard started declining probably in the 70s but has retained most of its housing stock. (The portion of the district east of Dennison is the most blighted abutting Stockyards). Like Jefferson to the west it has remained static for decades, but households are less wealthy. This is also one of Cleveland’s most diverse districts hosting large Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Black, and Asian Populations. My hope is that the general revitalization of nearby Cleveland westside districts (Lakewood, Kamm’s Corner, and Detroit Shoreway) will arrive to West Boulevard. I’d love to see the Lorain Station commercial district (btwn West Boulevard and W. 90th) revitalize as it contains most of its attractive early 20th century 2 story fabric.

Click here to view my West Boulevard album on Flickr


* Better urban form along Lorain between W 117th W 92nd especially in Lorain Station section.
 Many large stately homes from the early 20th century with massive years along West Boulevard.
* Excellent racial diversity and decent economic and generational diversity.
* Convenient access to Dwtn with solid public transit service.
* Good array of parks west od Dennison Street. Really no recreational spaces east of Dennison St.
* Indoor mountain bike park within an old industrial site.
* Very good ADA and sidewalks infrastructure.
* Some very nice homes especially the quasi-mansions along West Blvd. Also some crummy woodframe worker housing not maintained well, especially east of Dennison St.
* A good amount of school options K-8 mixing private, public, and charter options. Mixed however in terms of quality education. No walkable High Schools.
* Decent urban commercial massing especially along Lorain street where much of the historic commercial is still in-tact even with high vacancies. Recent streetscaping project along Lorain as well.
* Decent amount of retail amenities including a discount supermarket, many ethnic grocerias & markets, a drug store, public library, Shoppers World (like k-mart), Rainbows, a fabrics store, good array of banks, and several discount boutiques. 


* Moderate level of vacancies in commercial district and residential especially east of Denison.
* Limited bike infrastructure.
* Rentals are kinda limited but generally very reasonably priced.
* For Sale product is a mix of stable and standing but blighted. Majority of housing sells between 50K-100K. But some below 50K. Larger well maintained homes will sell between 100K-150. Some of the larger homes along West Blvd are pushing 200K. Sale prices are too low for any quality new in-fill. In-fill is generally crummy auto centric stuff.
* Good amount of rental product but all pretty inexpensive. Mix of decent and poorly maintained rentals.
* Cultural amenities are pretty limited but include a decent array of ethnic restaurants, lots of dive bars, and several cafes.