EcoVillage project reaches into community with events, education

EcoCity Cleveland engaged the EcoVillage community members and surrounding neighbors in the design and development of the town homes and related ecological projects through the use of charrettesplanning processes that engage the participants as planners and experts.

EcoCity Cleveland used grant money to develop, host, organize and lead the following community charrettes:

In February, 2001, EcoCity Cleveland organized a successful community charrette that was attended by more than 70 people, including neighborhood residents, the design team, members of the advisory committees, and Cleveland-area architects and designers. The charrette offered an opportunity for the community to get updated on the project and to meet the town home design team. It was also an opportunity for the design team to hear from the community about what it wanted as part of the development of the W. 58th town homes.

In addition, EcoCity Cleveland worked with many partners to leverage the educational opportunities associated with the W. 58th Street town homes. In particular, we were able to partner with the Cleveland Green Building Coalition to increase participation at many of the professional trainings, and with ReBuild America to provide additional funding and exceed the expected number of workshop opportunities.

In 2003, EcoCity Cleveland worked with project partners and Councilman Matthew Zone to host two community planning meetings centered around the Michael J. Zone greenspace. The half-day workshops were aimed at using lessons learned from the W. 58th Street town homes and other EcoVillage developments to improve the 25 acres of underutilized greenspace surrounding the city recreation center. The community was updated on the EcoVillage project, educated on elements of ecological landscape design, and initiated the planning process for developing the greenspace with ecological landscaping elements.

Informal community meetings and community events have been an important way to both reach out to the EcoVillage community members and the larger Cleveland community. EcoCity Cleveland has taken advantage of visiting experts, national resources and local talent to offer free public talks and community events.

Engaging students and universities has been an important part of making the Cleveland EcoVillage, the W. 58th St. Town Home project, and the many other green development projects successful. EcoCity staff has worked extensively with Wendy Kellogg from the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs to involve Cleveland State students.

EcoCity staff have lectured at CSU, Oberlin and Case Western Reserve University numerous times discussing the Cleveland EcoVillage; and have hosted numerous tours and visitors from these and other universities at the site. We have worked with nearby high schools to host one, two and three day ecovillage-related educational opportunities.

Following are just the highlights of student-based educational programs based around the Ecovillage:

  • EcoCity Cleveland worked with Dr. Wendy Kellogg and her classes at Cleveland State University Levin College of Urban Affairs to develop a survey to monitor community involvement and understanding in regards to the Cleveland EcoVillage. Oberlin intern, Julia Salinas, continued to improve the survey and then administered it door-to-door in the EcoVillage. The surveying is still underway though already almost 40 residents have participated.
  • Two groups of Oberlin Students worked with the Cleveland EcoVillage during the Spring of 2003 to use ideas from the W. 58th St. town homes to improve the community greenspaces. They built composters at the community garden, created educational signage, and helped engaged additional community members.
  • Oberlin College interns helped to design and create the EcoVillage walking path during the Summer of 2003.
  • A capstone seminar led by Professor Robert Simons at Cleveland State University's Levin College of Urban Affairs used the EcoVillage as its class theme. The students worked with EcoCity Cleveland and DSCDO to do marketing and retail studies of the area, research expansion sites for the EcoVillage, study possibilities of sustainable business incubators in the area, and research community effects. See the results on the class' Web site.

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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003



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