Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative

This study describes a collaborative redevelopment initiative, The Greater University Circle Initiative (GUCI), by multiple anchor institutions in and around Cleveland’s University Circle district. The goals are to rebuild neighborhoods and improve the economic opportunities of the people who live there.

GUCI focuses on four strategy areas:
1 Institutional Partnership. Creating opportunities for diverse institutions to work together.
2 Physical Development. Catalyzing transportation and real estate projects that reconnect neighborhoods.
3 Economic Inclusion. Encouraging institutions to buy local and hire local, and empowering new and existing residents to live local.
4 Community Engagement. Ensuring residents have authorship in the revitalization of their neighborhoods.

This study explains the development and rationale behind these strategies, and the specific projects the Initiative has driven. It also recounts GUCI’s many successes to date, including:

• A collaborative structure that allows diverse institutions to identify and lead mutually beneficial projects [ p. 24];
• The completion of the Uptown mixed-use project and nearby transportation improvements [p. 35];
• New cooperatively-owned businesses that serve institutional needs, employ neighborhood residents and build community wealth [p. 57];
• A business growth and retention program that resulted in more than $200 million in investment since 2008 [p. 64];
• Incentives for new residents to move into GUCI target areas, and for existing residents to improve their homes [p. 48];
• A new institute that provides workforce training programs for adults and after-school programs for children [p. 69];
• A community engagement agenda that connects residents with each other and with institutional leaders, while funding several neighborhood-driven community development projects [p. 75].
• Finally, the report provides a candid summary of lessons learned, and describes how GUCI plans to expand its efforts in the future [p. 81].

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Cleveland Foundation.  Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative: Building a 21st Century City through the Power of Anchor Institution Collaboration.  2013.  Available from: http://www.clevelandfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Cleveland-Foundation-Greater-University-Circle-Initiative-Case-Study-2014.pdf