City West

Cincinnati, OH
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Cincinnati’s oldest public housing development and the second-oldest in the US, Laurel Homes dated from 1937, when 24 acres of the once vital West End were demolished and the street grid was disrupted to make way for superblocks of spartan apartment projects. Like public housing elsewhere, the shared stairways and halls of the three- and four-story walkups proved a magnet for vandalism and drugs, and vacancy rates soared as more and more tenants took flight and prospective replacements balked at moving in. 1

The antidote: a $102 million redevelopment called City West, undertaken by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority in combination with The Community Builders, Inc., financed in part by a federal HOPE VI grant and designed by Torti Gallas and Partners. The plan involved razing the existing buildings’ 1,000 no-frills apartments and establishing a neighborhood of rowhouses and duplexes, accommodating a full range of incomes. The changes aim at providing the spaciousness, architectural styling, and amenities of homes on the private market; restoring the street grid; reintegrating the area with the greater West End and reconnecting it to downtown; and introducing ingredients such as a banking center, a grocery store, live/work retail space, a community center, childcare facilities, improved schools, and new parks. City West has been planned for 835 rental units and 250 for-sale houses. Visit the The Community Builders, Inc. website here2

  • 1. New Urbanism Best Practices Guide, 4th ed. New Urban News Publications.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • Townhouses in City West

    Townhouses in City West

    Townhouses in City West, with downtown Cincinnati in the distance. HOPE VI has brought urban appeal to housing for the poor. Courtesy of Torti Gallas and Partners.

  • Townhomes in City West

    Townhomes in City West

    Duplexes in City West are a vast improvement over the original public housing units. Courtesy of Torti Gallas and Partners.

  • Rowhouses in City West

    Rowhouses in City West

    Rowhouses in City West. Courtesy of Torti Gallas and Partners.

Density (gross): 
31.9 units per acre
Residential units: 
Retail square footage: 
23000 square feet