In response to the pervasive issues of blighted properties affecting neighborhoods and economies, the City of Cleveland is embarking on a transformative initiative. With 30% of the city’s land in public hands, the aim is to convert vacant brownfields into accessible jobs, capitalizing on Cleveland’s industrial heritage. FUSE Executive Fellow Jennifer Scheel will drive improvements by creating an operational playbook for equitable redevelopment. Grounded in equity, this strategy involves data-driven analyses, fostering responsible redevelopment projects that attract jobs, elevate property values, and enhance residents’ quality of life. Collaborating with local entities, the project aims to repurpose 1000 urban acres, contributing to environmental resilience and economic competitiveness. The initiative involves the creation of a Site Fund to execute the work, focusing on business expansion in advanced manufacturing, food production, and health technology.

Commencing in April 2024, Scheel will spearhead the development of a playbook for equitable redevelopment, defining economic incentives, and establishing a process to identify viable businesses. By April 2025, Scheel will have overseen the creation of an Equitable Redevelopment Incentives Framework, a Business Intelligence Strategy, and Site Profiles and Criteria for End-Users, drawing inspiration from successful models in cities like Milwaukee and Chicago. The ultimate goal is stimulating inclusive industrial workplaces and economic development through innovative land and building reuse.