Teaching Cleveland

Lesson 46


By the 1940s the Cleveland community was looking at ways to improve the city for families by focusing on development of neighborhood communities. Interest in this development was assisted by a doctoral dissertation, "The Analysis of a Slum Area," by the Reverend Robert B. Navin. In 1934 Father Navin conducted a study of Cleveland's E. 21st - E. 55th -Central - Woodland area, which became a pattern for studies in 34 other U.S. cities.

Navin's study concluded that the maintenance of slum areas was costly to the city of Cleveland. A pamphlet published in 1943 by A. C. Kayanan, promoting neighborhood conservation states, " Compared with the average per capita cost of maintenance of Cleveland, the slum area cost 7 times as much for tuberculosis control. As to the social condition found in this slum area, the comparative figures are as eloquent. The frequency of murders per capita here was 8.5 times the average for the city; of social vice,10.5 times; of juvenile delinquency, 2.7 times; of illegitimate births, 4.2 times; and of tuberculosis deaths, 5 times. This is why Neighborhood Conservation must be undertaken now to prevent your community from becoming blighted and finally turning into a slum."

The pamphlet, titled, "Neighborhood Conservation: A Handbook for Citizen Groups", provided ideas and suggestions on how to prevent urban blight, maintain a neighborhood unit, how to study your neighborhood, making odd lots useful, and eliminating dangerous traffic patterns and intersections.

The City Planning Commission was also concerned with neighborhood improvement and developed a study titled "Places for Playing in Cleveland" in 1945 that discusses types and areas of recreation for Cleveland's children by age group as well as neighborhood. The City Planning Commission was also responsible for a study "Cleveland Today . . . Tomorrow" in 1950, that provided a general plan for Cleveland that includes neighborhood improvement, highway development, public services, transit systems and land use.

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