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.
A Century Later
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 three priority projects are The Mall, Public Square, and a Pedestrian Bridge.
The physical revitalization of Public Square is complete, and work is on-going to maintain The Mall.
Programming and activation of both spaces also continues.
The Commission has prioritized construction of a pedestrian bridge which is the key connection between Downtown and the lakefront.
Working with partners including the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and LAND Studio, GPC has brought 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.