Revitalizing Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine (Part 2 - the Neighborhood's Assets)

Google Earth image of Over-the-Rhine, with location of neighborhood assets marked

Last week I wrote the first installment of my miniseries about Cincinnati’s remarkable Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. As I wrote then (expanded post here), this distinct and historic quarter adjacent to Cincinnati’s downtown is full of promise but bears considerable scars from decades of disinvestment, having declined in population from over 40,000 at its peak to under 10,000 today.

One of the main reasons that I have much hope for Over-the-Rhine is that it has some tremendous neighborhood assets to build a recovery upon, starting not just with historic architecture but also with a resilient existing community of residents. My impression when visiting last month was that, poverty and problems notwithstanding, OTR feels like a real neighborhood and a real community. It will be critical that the neighborhood’s restoration includes these residents at every step. And its physical assets are also considerable.

As I noted last week, the neighborhood sits right between the central business district and the uptown University district, the region’s two largest concentrations of employment. That’s a terrific location, one that all the current urban trends suggest is highly favorable to recovery. Moreover, the neighborhood’s 19th-century architectural scale, along with block sizes manageable for humans as well as for cars, make it ideal for walking.

In addition, the neighborhood’s striking physical assets include Ohio’s oldest public market (yellow marker in the Google Earth image), a lovely neighborhood park (blue marker) that is being expanded, Cincinnati’s Music Hall (fuschia marker), a wealth of churches and soon, if all goes well, a streetcar (light blue lines).

It's a very rich story and on my NRDC blog today I’ve featured a somewhat lengthier discussion with a dozen or so photos. If you're interested in reading more, please visit and let me know what you think. Next, I’ll conclude the series with some thoughts about the progress so far and the prospects for making it green.

Many more photos and commentary here.


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