Inside the Bricks - Episode 1: On Front Street

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While a student at Cleveland State University under Dr. Mittie Jones, I learned a lot about the past and present of public housing — how it had started out with great promise and excitement before budget cuts led to a lack of maintenance and negative stereotypes.

Over the years, I heard many comments about the value of public housing, and debates about whether it was good or bad for the people who lived there.

What I never seemed to hear (at least not enough) were the voices of residents themselves. What they liked and didn't like about where they lived. Whether public housing worked for them — or against them. 

Listening to residents' voices is exactly what I do in Inside the Bricks: Woodhill Homes, the first season of ideastream's new podcast Going Inside. And the timing is key, because the series' focus, Cleveland's Woodhill Homes, is on the verge of a complete rebuild after 80 years.

Across six weeks and six episodes, I'll be visiting with residents in their apartments, on their sidewalks and in their community center to ask what should change and what shouldn't. Underlying all of this is an even bigger question: How can officials avoid Cleveland's past pattern of uprooting Black neighborhoods in the name of progress?

In this first episode, I drop in on a residents' meeting, where I'm put squarely and unexpectedly "on Front Street" by residents just as curious about my perspectives as I am about theirs. 

“Inside the Bricks: Woodhill Homes,” an ideastream podcast, focuses on one of the nation’s earliest public housing neighborhoods on the eve of a planned rebuild, and is made possible by a grant from the Saint Luke's Foundation.

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