Exhibition "Shrinking Cities"
Cleveland Urban Design Center / SPACES Gallery
April 20 - June 8, 2007
Cleveland, too, is one of the American industrial metropolises that have been significantly shrinking for decades. Since 1950, the former steel town has lost about 500,000 residents. The city currently has 458,000 inhabitants – the lowest population level in almost 100 years.
On the initiative of the Cleveland Urban Design Center of Kent State University and SPACES Gallery, the Shrinking Cities exhibition was also shown in Cleveland. Both institutions regard Cleveland as a “great laboratory of urban problems” and in different ways have delved into the changes and challenges of urbanism.
The Cleveland Urban Design Center, located in the heart of downtown, is affiliated with Kent State University. As early as 2005, the CUDC founded a Shrinking Cities Institute to respond to the challenges and to actively shape the course of shrinking.
SPACES, itself located in a former industrial complex, is a gallery initiated and operated by artists. It has an innovative stipend program. The gallery continuously fosters artists whose work deals with the urban space and the social concerns of its inhabitants.
On view in the Cleveland Urban Design Center were items from the first part of the exhibition “Shrinking Cities – International Research“; SPACES Gallery showed the second part of the exhibition, “Shrinking Cities – Interventions”. Two new works by students – one shown in the CUDC, the other in SPACES – created a concrete local connection in the exhibitions.
Numerous events accompanied the exhibitions, including two film series; an open-air music festival; a walk to the sunset in the “Natural Flats” with the artist Don Harvey; and a symposium with Kyong Park, Director of the International Center for Urban Ecology (NYC, NY) and the artists Mel Chin (NYC, NY, and North Carolina), Frances Whitehead (Chicago), and Elke Knoess & Wolfgang Grillitsch, Peanutz Architekten (Berlin, Germany). More than 2,000 visitors attended the exhibitions and the accompanying program.