Field Operations Selected as project leader for Cleveland North Coast Lakefront Master Plan


Year-long process aligns with ongoing North Coast Lakefront Connector Feasibility Study 

Monday, Nov. 21, 2022 — Cleveland, OH — The City of Cleveland has selected James Corner Field Operations, the New York-based firm behind the 2016 redesign of Cleveland's Public Square, to lead the master planning process for the North Coast Lakefront.  

The firm has extensive experience with physically and politically challenging projects and is a global leader in the landscape urbanism movement—an interdisciplinary approach that combines landscape architecture, urban design, landscape ecology and engineering. Field Operations’ portfolio includes NYC’s High Line, Chicago's Navy Pier, the Presidio Tunnel Tops in San Francisco and Domino Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. The firm is also currently doing some work on the public spaces around the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  

“We are thrilled to be part of this extraordinary opportunity for Cleveland to create a community-driven plan that showcases the majestic shores of Lake Erie, while putting forth a forward-thinking and holistic vision for Cleveland’s equitable, resilient, and vibrant future,” said Lisa Switkin, senior principal at Field Operations. “We believe now is the time to make good on the promise to connect Clevelanders to the lake, and to do so in an intentional way with the restorative capacity to deliver on Mayor’s Bibb’s mandate that the lakefront become a source of healing for the city.” 

Following an approximately 12-month process, the final deliverable from the project team will be a tangible, detailed and implementable plan for the North Coast Lakefront that will be presented for adoption by the Cleveland Planning Commission. The final master plan will be used to seek funding and will become a flexible yet grounded blueprint for future development.   

“The vision and the values behind this master plan are the key to making it happen,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “I had a chance to sit down with Field Operations and immediately saw their vision. This team will guide us and challenge us to develop a bold, equitable, and actionable plan for the lakefront Cleveland needs and deserves.” 

Field Operations was selected through a competitive RFP process from a pool of 18 applicants, five of which went on to final interviews prior to selection. 

“We had our work cut out for us,” said Cleveland Planning Director Joyce Huang. “The caliber of submissions was excellent. In the end, the emotional intelligence and flexibility of Field Operations rose to the top. They also have a very strong philosophy on resiliency, sustainability and mitigating climate change, which is incredibly important for the future of Cleveland and the precious resources of Lake Erie.” 

The 11-member selection committee included leadership from the mayor’s office, Cleveland City Council, Cuyahoga County, both the city and county planning departments, Greater Cleveland Partnership and LAND studio.  

Legislation to authorize the planning department to enter into a contract to begin this process will be introduced at tonight’s regular Cleveland City Council meeting.  

“The selection committee was impressed with the quality and thoughtfulness of the proposals we received," said Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack. "Field Operations was my top choice based on their strong track record of successful work on challenging projects and their clear commitment to the people-oriented process that we are looking for." 

Partners working with Field Operations on the master plan include Cleveland architects Robert P. Madison International, Cleveland-based BEHNKE Landscape Architects, Seattle-based engineering firm MKA, and HR&A Advisors, a firm focused on equitable economic development. 

"The Cleveland North Coast Lakefront Master Plan is a perfect fit for our mission statement, matching our design passion to participate on projects that improve lives of Greater Cleveland citizens,” said Sandra Madison, AIA, NOMA, NCRAB, CEO and Chairperson of Robert P. Madison International. “As a black female-owned firm whose founder is a black man, we have always intentionally sought the inclusiveness of the public in the design process. The best project results when all voices are heard, all ideas thoughtfully discussed and united into an actionable plan that all parties can support.”