Accomplishments in 2001
With a core staff of three, EcoCity Cleveland is able to leverage a great deal of activity. Here is a summary of accomplishments during 2001.
Goal Provide the best information on environmental and urban design issues in Northeast Ohio, integrate issues to help citizens and decision-makers think holistically, create a positive vision of a sustainable future.
- Journal - We published issues of the EcoCity Cleveland Journal on regional open space, the theory and practice of traffic calming, and a green urbanism agenda for Cleveland. Previous issues included a special issue about the Cleveland EcoVillage and our visual preference survey project, "Images of the Western Reserve." The quality of our journal continues to attract local and national accolades. Recently, we were nominated for a 2001 Utne Reader Alternative Press Award, which places our journal with the top alternative publications in the country. This is the third time we have been nominated for this prestigious award.
- Web site - We overhauled our Web site, creating a new design and adding a great deal of content. The site will be a continually growing resource for Northeast Ohio.
- Media outreach - We regularly spent time shaping news coverage in Northeast Ohio. Much of our impact comes from providing background information and suggesting story ideas.
Bioregional Hero Awards - Our awards, which were announced at our 2nd annual member party at the Steamship Mather in August, again attracted media coverage and proved to be a great way to promote environmental work in Northeast Ohio. They're also a lot of fun!
- Public speaking - We average about one public presentation a week to civic organizations, church groups, college classes, or conferences. In 2001, we upgraded our presentation capability with the purchase of a digital projector (funded by a grant from the Cyrus Eaton Foundation).
- Bioregional Map Poster - Last December, we published another important educational tool, the Bioregional Map Poster of Northeast Ohio. This beautiful poster was painted by a local artist and shows the terrain and watersheds of the region.
- Leadership training - A new venture for us was the Art of Leadership workshop, an intensive training workshop for emerging leaders of social change and public interest groups. We partnered with the Rockwood Fund to bring this nationally recognized workshop to the Midwest for the first time. It was a good opportunity to promote the effectiveness of like-minded organizations and build a network of talented individuals who have a relationship with EcoCity Cleveland.
Goal Promote a better balance of city and countryside.
- Regional open space - In the past year we have devoted a great deal of time to the issue of regional open space seeking to facilitate talks among a diverse set of interested parties. We have assisted members of the Northeast Ohio Regional Parks Consortium in clarifying their thinking and in creating a publication for releasing their plans. In the summer of 2000, we were hired by the Chagrin River Land Conservancy to manage a study of the capacity of land trusts in the region, and we have continued to advise the conservancy on its options for assisting other land trusts. In addition, we have been working with the Western Reserve Resource Conservation & Development Council to fit its programs into planning for regional open space.
- Smart growth - We have just been hired by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission to help staff a newly appointed Lake Erie Balanced Growth Task Force. The task force will recommend state policy changes to create a better balance of development and ecological health in the Lake Erie watershed.
- Citizens' Bioregional Plan - The Bioregional Plan, completed in May 1999, continues to provide a useful framework for explaining how to think about our region. Last fall, we printed another 1,000 copies of the plan, with funds raised from local planning and engineering firms. There is continuing demand for presentations about the plan; twice a month we present the Bioregional Plan slide show to community groups.
Images of the Western Reserve - In November 2000, we staged a successful visual preference workshop, which helped citizens become more sophisticated advocates for good design of buildings, streets and neighborhoods. We now are working with Kent State University's Urban Design Center to create a more detailed set of visual design guidelines for Northeast Ohio.
Task force/committee representation - We also have promoted smart growth and ecological design by serving on the following committees: First Suburbs Consortium executive committee, Western Reserve RC&D Council, Northeast Ohio Home Builders Smart Growth Education Foundation, Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan, and Doan Brook Watershed study. In addition, EcoCity Cleveland is the Ohio member of the Growth Management Leadership Alliance, the national network of leading state and regional growth management organizations.
Cleveland EcoVillage and ecological design
Goal Promote high performance buildings, neighborhoods, and businesses.
- Cleveland EcoVillage - In the past year, we have assisted with the EcoVillage's W. 58th Town Home project. The town homes will feature advanced energy efficiency, exceptional indoor air quality, advanced framing techniques that conserve lumber and many other ecological features. The project may even help to set a national standard for green residential buildings. EcoCity Cleveland has helped raise funds for architectural and other design fees, to document the project, and hold workshops so that the lessons learned about green building can be diffused throughout the building community of Northeast Ohio. So we are helping to raise the bar of design and construction.
- Green building - In addition to promoting green building in the EcoVillage, we have participated in talks with City of Cleveland officials on how the city can incorporate green building specs in future construction projects. We are assisting a project to recommend changes in Cleveland's building code so that it reflects green building best practices. We also have supported efforts to help the Cleveland Public Schools incorporate green building techniques into school reconstruction. And we are the fiscal agent for the Cleveland Green Building Coalition.
- Cleveland Environmental Center - We have been actively involved in the planning and fundraising for the Environmental Center, a landmark building that will be rehabilitated using green building techniques. We are looking forward to moving our offices into the building in late 2002.
- Task force/committee representation - We serve on the Cleveland Green Building Coalition board and the Entrepreneurs for Sustainability group, and the Ohio City Streets Committee.
Goal Promote transit-oriented development and investments in a multi-modal transportation system to create livable communities and greater transportation choices.
- Monitoring and reporting - We have continued to monitor and report on transportation planning issues at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), ODOT, and Greater Cleveland RTA. We are gearing up to do a Citizens' Transportation Plan in 2002. This will follow from the work of the Citizens' Bioregional Plan and will provide a more detailed look at the impact of transportation investments on our communities.
- Active projects - In the past year, we have made progress on getting bike racks installed on local buses (Rack & Roll project) and getting bikes allowed on the Rapid, helping to design bike-pedestrian improvements for the Detroit-Superior Bridge, and in planning a Circle-Heights Bike System linking University Circle, Shaker Square and destinations in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.
- Task force participation and technical assistance - We have been assisting the Cleveland Innerbelt study, RTA citizens' advisory board, the NOACA bicycle advisory subcommittee, and the Committee for Transit-Oriented Design.
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