From Forest to Lake:
Envisioning the Emerald Necklace

Each year the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs Planning Studio class undertakes a comprehensive plan.
The Planning Studio is culminating course for Masters of Urban Planning students.

The Vision

The 2010 Planning Studio class augments current efforts to update both the Cleveland Metroparks Master Plan and the Cuyahoga County Greenprint. The project is oriented toward understanding the role of open spaces and parks in the broader region and the value that these spaces bring to their surrounding communities. The additional demographic data and information regarding the residents surrounding the various parks can help the agencies assess the quality level of the park resources, facilities, and programming, and how well these serve the Metropark communities.


Cleveland Metroparks, the oldest and second largest park district in the state of Ohio, is also the largest property owner in Cuyahoga County. Consistent with its stated mission of conservation, education, and recreation, the park district is dedicated to the stewardship of plant and animal diversity, ecosystem management, and the interpretation of the region’s natural and cultural resources. It provides stewardship for 21,250 acres in 16 reservations, primarily in Cuyahoga County. The park district completed its most recent master plan, entitled Cleveland Metroparks 2000: Conserving Our Natural Heritage, in 1995. Since then, the park district has added a total of 1,906 acres, including three new reservations: Ohio and Erie Canal, Washington Park, and West Creek Park.

Subsequently, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission completed the County’s first Greenspace Plan in 2002. The intent of the Plan was to promote a broad comprehensive vision for greenspace protection and restoration within Cuyahoga County. The Plan also intended to promote complementary development and establish a common agenda and direction for the varied efforts of the many necessary participants. Basic elements of the Plan included the creation of a system of natural corridors, a countywide trail system the preservation of scenic views and the protection and restoration of critical natural areas.