Slavic Village

Incorporating Active Living into Community Development Through Partnerships


      The Slavic Village neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, is a diverse community of 30,524 residents that is struggling economically yet strong in tradition. The neighborhood is located just south of downtown and adjacent to the city's industrial valley. Slavic Village Development (SVD) works with local and state partners to improve the quality of life for its residents, including low-income and market-rate housing developments, economic development, community organizing, and greenspace planning.


      Using the Active Living by Design framework (ALbD), SVD developed strong partnerships to address preparation, promotions, programs, policy, and physical projects. Efforts were focused on Safe Routes to School, neighborhood activities, asset mapping, worksite wellness, and social marketing.


      The ALbD project changed both the physical environment of Slavic Village and its marketed image. The initiative built cross-disciplinary partnerships that leveraged individual strengths to implement strategies to make Slavic Village a vibrant, healthy, family-friendly neighborhood that promotes active living.

      Lessons learned

      There is a strong connection between health and community development. When partners from multiple disciplines work together on a common goal, it is easier to leverage resources and create change. Resource development will always be a challenge.


      Through the leadership of SVD and its strong ties in the community, the ALbD initiative has re-engaged residents and businesses in efforts to restore the vitality of the community. The partnership in Cleveland has successfully incorporated health into community development, a model of collaboration that can be replicated in other communities.
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      1. Cleveland Municipal School District Middle School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 2005.
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      2. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2005–2206.
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      3. Slavic Village Development vacant and abandoned property survey data, 2006–2008.

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