Three days in May 2000
By Philmore HartThe Sustainable Communities Symposium 2000 on May 11-13 was intense, emotional, creative, active, hopeful, optimistic, and a mixture of hard work, listening, fun, food, and serendipitous meeting of different people from a variety of backgrounds and professions all deeply interested in creating a sustainable/livable Northeast Ohio region.
The planning committee envisioned three outcomes from the symposium:
Priorities for change
In the months leading up to the symposium, four working groups (Architecture and Urban Design, Infrastructure, Business and Economics, and Political/Legal) developed goals and objectives for making our region more sustainable. These were reviewed by symposium participants, and in the reporting-out process it became clear that the three most important objectives concerned the need for:
Another theme that emerged from these sessions was a desire to expand the SCS 2000 discussions to include major issues such as health, education, and neighborhoods. Participants also realized that sustainability requires a holistic integration of the efforts of the working groups.
Continuing the networking
The closing session of the symposium featured a discussion of a potential organization that could carry on the work of sustainability in our region. Approximately 20 tables of four to six participants outlined the functions of such an organization and how could it be configured. Three alternative concepts emerged:
The last portion of the symposium also included an "open microphone" where following addresses by U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, RTA general manager Joseph Calabrese, and Mark Tomasch of LTV Steel, people from various organizations, businesses and institutions of our area presented their perspectives on sustainability. It was truly amazing to hear the variety of thoughts and actions already taking place in the region once again emphasizing the need to come together to capture that energy into an integrated whole.
Since the symposium in May, the planning committee has continued to meet and plan the next steps for the SCS 2000 process, continue communications with the participants and the general public, and work toward our goal of transforming Northeast Ohio into a sustainable/livable region. Everyone who attended SCS 2000 came away with the understanding that the event was only the beginning. Yet they were optimistic that, by acting together, we will accomplish our goal.
Phil Hart chairs the SCS 2000 planning committee and is a past president of the Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Proceedings of Sustainable Communities Symposium 2000
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