News & Announcements

Levin Students Explore Van Aken Development in Shaker Heights

On March 18th, students of the Levin School of Urban Affairs visited the Van Aken District in Shaker Heights and met with the team responsible for one of Northeast Ohio’s newest and most exciting development projects. The visit was organized by Levin College Senior Fellow and former Mayor of Shaker Heights, Earl Leiken, and facilitated by Dr. Wukich's city management class and Dr. Hilde’s planning for the built environment class. This visit provided students with a unique opportunity to explore the intricacies of public-private partnerships and urban development. 

The Van Aken District is a model of innovation and collaboration, representing successful urban revitalization through strategic planning and community engagement. It has won awards for its exemplary design and functionality, making it a model for sustainable development and economic revitalization. 

During the visit, students engaged with key stakeholders integral to the success of the Van Aken District. Jon Ratner, the visionary developer behind the project, shared insights into the project's development process, and the students were able to see firsthand the results of the community's hard work and learn directly from Shaker Heights’ Mayor David Weiss and Planning Director (and Levin alumna) Joyce Braverman (MPA ’92).