Mission of the Project

Building upon the iconic vision of the Group Plan of 1903, we will renew the heart of Downtown Cleveland for today’s citizens and future generations by transforming and connecting the city’s signature public spaces.


History of the Group Plan Commission

On August 17, 1903, famed architects and planners Daniel Burnham, John M. Carrere and Arnold R. Brunner – the original Group Plan Commission – presented “The Group Plan of the Public Buildings of the City of Cleveland,” or Group Plan of 1903, an iconic vision that has shaped the heart of our city for more than a century. Based on the designs of great civic centers in Paris, London, Vienna and Florence, The Group Plan called for “no little plans” and outlined the development of a series of public spaces flanked by the city’s major civic and government buildings. Cleveland’s leadership, including then-Mayor Tom L. Johnson, embraced the concept and quickly moved forward with implementing the vision. This helped spur a Downtown renaissance that redefined Cleveland and propelled the city into a period of accelerated growth that would last more than a half-century.

More than a century later, as Downtown Cleveland prepared itself for new growth and investment, Mayor Frank Jackson appointed a new Group Plan Commission (GPC) to update the Group Plan of 1903 for the 21st century. This Commission was charged with reimagining our signature public spaces and connecting catalytic developments such as the Flats East Bank, Cleveland Convention Center, Global Center for Health Innovation and the Horseshoe Casino. Its 2011 report articulated a bold yet achievable vision for several compelling projects to transform Downtown Cleveland for today’s Clevelanders and for generations to come.

The Commission is now moving forward with three priority projects outlined in the 2011 report – redesigning and revitalizing Public Square, enhancing the Mall and creating an iconic pedestrian connection between Downtown and the lakefront. Working with partners including the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and LAND Studio, GPC will bring together public, private and philanthropic resources to complete these projects, complement the $3 billion in development in Cleveland’s Downtown core since 2010 and spur an additional wave of transformational development.


View Group Plan Commission's final report (May 2011)


Photo: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol