Making Sense of Place, Cleveland: Confronting Decline in an American City

Many American cities have experienced a persistent crisis of urban decline and the erosion of inner suburbs.

  • Why does this happen?
  • What are the consequences for residents?
  • Can the decline be halted or reversed?

These urgent issues are addressed in a provocative documentary film study of Cleveland, Ohio—once America’s fifth largest city, and today a metropolitan area struggling to reverse the cumulative effects of decline. Incorporating historic footage of Cleveland’s vibrant economic past and recent interviews with city leaders and neighborhood residents, this one-hour film is a compelling examination of the difficulties a new generation must confront in dealing with an uncertain future.

Viewers learn about the conflicts related to growth, economic development, and quality of life in downtown areas, local neighborhoods, and suburban communities. The film seeks to educate and inspire citizens to engage in a better-informed civic dialogue about economic opportunities, social equity, regional impacts, and public and private partnerships to shape the future of Cleveland and other cities.

This documentary is a part of the Making Sense of Place series. Other titles in the series include Phoenix: The Urban Desert and Portland: Quest for the Livable City.

This documentary is also available streaming in full online.