Public should get involved

Sunday, August 16, 1998

Guest columnist

"Unbuilt Cincinnati" was organized by the Cincinnati Forum for Architecture and Urbanism over the past two years. The exhibition has several goals. The main one is to encourage people in Cincinnati to take a stronger interest in public design, whether of individual buildings or of pieces of the city itself.

The unbuilt projects in the show will get different reactions from different people: Some people will wish a certain project had been built while others will be glad it was not.

But what we hope people will realize as they look at the projects is that each one represents a choice for our community that has an impact on how the city looks, and therefore how we appear to ourselves and to visitors. The image that Cincinnati projects is a reflection of each and all of us, and so its image should concern all of us.

The process of developing a major site is complex with many forces at work. The public's views will only be represented if people themselves make their voices heard. Groups like the Urban Design Review Board and City Council can't take the place of direct public input. The main point of "Unbuilt Cincinnati" is that our city is something we are (or should be) all creating together.

David Scheer, a Cincinnati architect, is president of the Cincinnati Forum for Architecture and Urbanism.

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