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The history of suburban development is long and complex.

Within commuting distance of a city, suburbs initially housed urban workers. Often dependent on city amenities, they remain administratively separate. In contrast to cities, most suburbs have more middle-class residents, lower population densities, and higher rates of homeownership.

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Several forces encourage suburbanization growth at the city's edgeincluding the influence of the rural ideal, urban flight, transportation technology, overcrowded and environmentally unpleasant urban conditions, and private and public policy at local, state, and federal levels. Despite the diversity of Cuyahoga County suburbs, each community is inextricably tied to the history of the core city. Each period produced different suburban landscapes and communities, while local geography, immediate historical context, and residents themselves for suburban differences among suburbs of the same period or region east, west, south.

Before Cleveland had several rivals and was surrounded by a series of independent rural townships, villages, and settlements. Lacking an inexpensive and reliable transportation system, it remained a dense settlement in which residents walked to work and shop.

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With continued population growth, Cleveland approached its geographic limits by the s. New transportation technology encouraged the first suburban developments. The horse-drawn street railways opened nearby suburban land for residential development up to about 3 miles from downtown, where more affluent urbanites constructed large homes. Township and county governments could not match the city's educational facilities, paved and lighted streets, and fire and police protection.

They, too, found the costs staggering. Ultimately, most 19th-century suburbanites chose to Cleveland to gain the best of both worlds: the bucolic suburban ideal and urban services. Expansion-minded Cleveland sought these mergers, initially absorbing the remainder of Cleveland Twp. Cleveland then annexed its neighboring villages: the first East ClevelandBrooklynWest ClevelandGlenville and South BrooklynCorlettCollinwoodand Nottingham Electrified streetcar development in the late s transformed the metropolis.

Three times faster than horse-drawn streetcars 15 vs.

The new technology arrived as Cleveland confronted a series of challenges: huge migrations from Southern and Eastern Europe; industrial and business expansion into residential neighborhoods; pollution from new industries; and corrupt government. Urbanites looked to the suburbs as both rural haven and escape from urban disorder. Unlike suburban developments, streetcar suburbs deliberately distanced themselves from the city. Rapid population growth quickly raised them to city status: East Cleveland and Lakewood inand Cleveland Hts. Nevertheless, Cleveland's first streetcar suburbs grew most quickly between and East Cleveland added 30, new residents, Lakewood's population increased by 55, and that of Cleveland Hts.

A second suburban ring, linked to the downtown by streetcar or rapid transit, also formed. In addition, 52 new villages incorporated. Streetcar suburbs remained independent. With Cleveland overwhelmed by its own population growth, the new suburbs benefited from additional time and the scale of their own growth to establish services expected by urban dwellers.

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East Cleveland rejected merger with Cleveland in and because "saloons might be established A dry Lakewood rejected annexation in and because it already had "ample school facilities, police, fire, city planning, zoning, and sanitary protection. Despite a population growth of almost 2. Cleveland's population grew by less than 13, Lakewood lost population, while Cleveland Hts. The newer cities of Bedford, Garfield Hts.

Even beforefactories had found suburban sites close to rail lines, where land was cheap and taxes low. Street and highway construction during the s and s freed suburban development from the linear form imposed by rail lines, while greater use of trucks and electricity opened new sites for industry. Private and public decisions on industrial and institutional location aided this decentralization.

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Industrial corridors expanded along Brookpark Rd. Their home loan guarantees supported construction of single-family homes in new suburban areas and adopted guidelines from real estate and banking industries that required racial segregation enforced through developer-instituted restricted covenants. By reinforcing existing segregation practices, these programs effectively blocked African American access to suburban housing. Although the U. Supreme Court struck down restrictive covenants inthe FHA continued to require them. They were common in suburban tracts of the s and s, especially in Garfield Hts.

Government programs subsidized white, middle-class residents who wished to leave the city, but effectively locked black residents into the ghetto.

Finally, the Depression and World War II slowed housing construction, resulting in overcrowding and a severe housing shortage. When prosperity returned after the war, Clevelanders who had rented or doubled up with relatives sought their own homes. The demand, along with public policy, helped create the suburban explosions of the late ss. Unlike streetcar suburbs, which housed mostly skilled and white-collar workers, these post-World War II developments provided homes for industrial workers as well.

Following the war, these unions gained for their members liveable wages and job security that made suburban home ownership possible.


While automobiles date to the s, they became dominant by the s. Most striking, in Shaker Hts. Although some streetcar routes continued until the s, overexpansion, congested routes, declining ridership, financial problems, and competition from automobiles doomed the streetcar. The post-World War II period witnessed the most massive residential construction and suburban growth in Cleveland history.

While ificant population increases in the second ring of streetcar suburbs Bedford, Euclid, Garfield Hts. Parma's population of 14, nearly doubled by ; the next decade added 54, new residents, making it the county's second city. Population figures reveal suburban growth dynamics from towhen the county's suburban population reached its peak.

These figures mask another important shift in suburban population dynamics. From on, the county's suburban population began to decline; by it had shrunk by 63, While most county suburbs lost population or stagnated, growth remained strong on either side of the county's borders.


Since the surrounding counties have experienced the most rapid suburban growth. While peripheral suburban growth continued, older streetcar suburbs and the inner ring of automobile suburbs began to undergo aging and transformations. The population declined and changed as the more affluent left for newer homes and less affluent residents moved in. Older communities began to confront urban problems: an aging population and infrastructure, increased need for social programs, and an eroding tax base. At the same time, new construction began to alter the face of these communities; high-rise apartments and office buildings replaced older homes and business structures.

As businesses increasingly chose suburban locations, streetcar suburbs such as Lakewood began to merge their older function of bedroom community with that of specialized satellite city for the metropolitan area. The suburban explosion left a fragmented governmental structure in its wake. Since at leastsome residents expressed concern about this growing fragmentation.

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Streetcar and automobile suburbs developed very different landscapes and both have been modified over time. Despite considerable variation, streetcar suburbs produced a smaller and more dense environment. Cleveland's 3 streetcar suburbs averaged only one-fourth the size of the newest automobile suburbs: 5 vs.

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In East Cleveland, Lakewood, and Cleveland had similar population densities; by these suburbs 10, residents per square mile were more densely settled than Cleveland 6,and even more so than other suburbs: first-ring auto suburbs, 4,; second-ring, 3,; and third-ring, 1, Automobile suburbs had wide lots with horizontal, 1-story or split-level, ranch-style homes, attached garages, rear decks, and patios replaced front porches.

In streetcar suburbs, shopping was usually a short walk away in stores that lined the streetcar routes; small groceries, bakeries, butchers, and fruit and vegetable stores hugged the sidewalks of these arteries. The huge tracts of auto suburbs, often divided into cul-de-sac streets, restricted stores to strip development and new malls located along major arteries: access to them often required an automobile.

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While apartments were less typical in the early years of automobile suburbs, both suburban types have undergone ificant new apartment construction. The most remarkable change on the suburban landscape has been the emergence of edge cities along interstate highways 71, 77, 90,and These new centers attracted mixed uses: blue- and especially white-collar employment, retail shopping, and entertainment. Motels and hotels are the most ubiquitous element. Increasingly, edge cities attract businesses and employment away from Cleveland, other suburbs, and small towns to this decentralized urban-like environment.

Suburban regions and individual suburbs have distinct identities, some assiduously cultivated and others imposed by outsiders. BRIDGE represents a beginning of the spirited battles that spread east, west, and south within suburban development. A rich suburban folklore has grown up around these divisions and important differences do exist.