Regionalism: The Death or Salvation of Cleveland?


David Abbott

Date of Event



As Cleveland pursues its decades-long reinvention, a frequent—and often controversial—topic of attention is “regionalism” and the role it could play. But the term means different things to different people, rendering a reasonable discussion of regionalism quite difficult. Is regionalism a ploy to undercut Black political power centered in Cleveland? Or is it a tool for pulling suburban resources into an undeserving central city? Or is it something else? David Abbott will attempt to bring clarity to this discussion and explore regionalism in the context of Cleveland’s challenges. He will touch on:

• Various definitions and forms of regionalism.
• Legal restrictions that make some forms impractical if not impossible.
• Legal tools that can be used to advance regional arrangements.
• Prospects for regionalism in Cleveland’s future.

Speaker’s Bio:

David Abbott is the inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Jurist in Residence, having just completed 19 years as the president of The George Gund Foundation. In that role, he was a member of the executive committee of The Fund for Our Economic Future, a regional collaboration of grant makers and others; and he was a board member of Team NEO, a partnership of business and philanthropy. Both work to catalyze economic transformation in Northeast Ohio.
Prior to joining the Gund Foundation, Abbott served as president of University Circle Incorporated, executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and executive director of the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission. Abbott was also the Cuyahoga County Administrator for nearly a decade and, early in his career, he was a reporter for The Plain Dealer. He holds a B.A. in political science from Denison University, an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Subject Headings

regionalism, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, municipal government, politics and government--Cleveland, politics and government--Cuyahoga County


CWRU Law Moot Courtroom

Document Type