Downtown Cleveland needs 25,000 residents to become a 24-hour urban center.

I don't know where the magic 25,000 number came from, exactly; but it's been tossed around quite a bit, and it seems pretty reasonable. We're only about 40% to that goal, so the harder question is: how is Cleveland going to attract 15,000 more people to come live downtown?

One answer seems so obvious it's amazing more people aren't talking about it. Cleveland and CSU need to work together to get more students to come live on-campus.

(from flickr user Steve Aresman Thomas)

There are about 16,000 students who attend CSU, only about 5% of them live in university-provided housing. There are also another 1500 faculty and staff - some of whom already live in downtown housing.

When I was in high school almost nobody talked about going to Cleveland State. It didn't get much respect, and going there meant you'd probably be a commuter and live with your parents. The inability to move out and live on one's own is undoubtedly a big turnoff for many. But at the same time, CSU wants to become a more respectable university, and its enrollment is up pretty significantly, thanks to its generally affordable price-tag (at least compared to Cleveland's 3 big private universities where you can go and live on-campus and which many of my high school classmates did attend).

And yes, CSU is already on the right path. The university has expansion plans that could provide housing to up to 2500 students, and the recent purchase of the Heritage Suites building could house a few hundred students almost immediately.

It would be nice if more locals started thinking about CSU as a major asset for downtown Cleveland - not just that place where a bunch of suburban kids drive to and from every day to go to class.


    CSU rules!


    The dean of the Levin school, Ned Hill, came up with the 25,000 residents number.