Reviving Cleveland’s Commercial Corridors: Analyzing the Storefront Renovation Program, 1983–2016

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Publication Title

Journal of Urban Affairs


In shrinking cities, commercial district decline has mirrored other patterns of depopulation and deindustrialization. Uneven development has emerged as the prevailing spatial pattern for shrinking cities in recent decades. Cleveland’s Storefront Renovation Program (SRP) is a local historic preservation-based strategy focused on improving commercial corridors. In this paper, we investigate whether the urban geography of the SRP aligns with theories of uneven development in shrinking cities. Using address-level data of projects and investments from 1983 to 2016, we analyze the spatial distribution using hot spot analysis, the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, and a neighborhood typology. Overall, we find the SRP program moderately contributed to uneven development, and increasingly so in recent decades, with clear clusters of investment in gentrifying neighborhoods and downtown Cleveland, while also supporting reinvestment in White, working-class areas early in its history.

Original Citation

Kelly L. Kinahan & Stephanie Ryberg-Webster (2021) Reviving Cleveland’s commercial corridors: Analyzing the Storefront Renovation Program, 1983–2016, Journal of Urban Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2021.1915152