Slavic Village

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

District Registry
  • Neighborhood Type: Mixed-Use
  • Size: 5 Square Miles
  • Website:
  • Neighborhood Type: Mixed-Use

Broadway-Slavic Village, on Cleveland’s southeast side, is one of the city’s most diverse and historic neighborhoods. Commercial and industrial growth in the 1800’s in the area, especially along Mill Creek and the Cuyahoga River, including the establishment of several steel mills, precipitated a large influx of Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish immigrants. Many working class neighborhoods including Broadway-Slavic Village grew within walking distance of the factories where the immigrants worked. In the latter part of the 19th century, the neighborhood became home to Cleveland’s original Eastern European immigrant communities each bringing their own culture and religions beliefs and building great churches and cultural halls many of which survive to this day. Centered on Fleet and Broadway Avenues, the thriving mixed use neighborhood was divided into two smaller ethnic enclaves, the larger Czech-dominated Karlin and the mostly Polish Warszawa district.

Broadway-Slavic Village borders the Cuyahoga River Valley, now largely a National Park and Recreation Area with rich natural assets. However, especially during the early and mid-20th century, as a thriving center of heavy industry providing jobs for working class residents, the industrial uses in the river valley produced toxic factory waste and sewage as well as river fires causing significant environmental degradation only some of which has been cleaned up and remediated today.

Population in the neighborhood peaked between the 1930’s and 1940’s as some city residents moved to neighborhoods and suburbs further from the industrial core and the city suffered economic decline. Following decades of disinvestment, nearly 45% of the 21,000 residents of Broadway-Slavic Village currently live below the poverty line. The neighborhood is evenly mixed by race between whites and blacks. 44105, the zip code that includes Broadway-Slavic Village, recorded more home foreclosures than any other zip code in the US during the second quarter of 2007, prompting the national media to declare the neighborhood the “epicenter of the mortgage foreclosure crisis”.

Nevertheless, the ethnic and cultural history of the neighborhood survives along with unflagging community spirit and Broadway-Slavic Village is seeing revitalization and new investment. Now a mix of nine richly diverse sub-neighborhoods, Broadway-Slavic Village benefits from a community of deeply engaged residents, strong and vital anchor institutions such as Third Federal Savings Bank and MetroHealth Hospital, and an effective and highly professional community development corporation, Slavic Village Development. Under their leadership, since 2009, over $50 million in revitalization projects have been completed including housing, parks, public art, a transit station and various pedestrian and bike trails.

To imagine the next phase of neighborhood revitalization and in order to include and meaningfully engage local residents in the planning, Slavic Village Development and their partners in city government and local anchor institutions have embraced the EcoDistricts Protocol and committed to form an EcoDistrict in the neighborhood, one dedicated to equity, resilience and climate protection as imperatives. Using the Protocol, Slavic Village Development intends to foster dynamic, democratic and inclusive self-governance allowing new leaders to emerge and the Broadway- Slavic Village community to share ownership of the process of perfecting the neighborhood seeking a brighter future for all.