Imagining alternative patterns of settlement
What many people don't often understand is how things could be different. They lack mental images of more desirable patterns of land use. They have a hard time imagining methods that could change development patterns. Moreover, they lack a vision of the bioregiona landscape knitted together by natural systems rather than a region divided by cities and counties.
To help the citizens of Northeast Ohio envision alternative land use futures, EcoCity Cleveland, a nonprofit environmental planning organization, developed the Citizens' Bioregional Plan. The project mapped out a positive vision for future development in the seven-county regiona vision based on innovative concepts of "bioregional zoning." It included a two-year process of public meetings and outreach to community groups and planning agencies. And it created tools for public education based on the latest computer mapping (GIS) technology, a full-color publication for citizens and policy makers, a media campaign, and a Web site. The final plan was released at a Citizens' Bioregional Congress in Cleveland on May 15, 1999.
Questions about our future
The bioregional plan is helping citizens ask important questions, such as:
The bioregional plan is making these questions part of the public dialogue. The project demonstrates how a nonprofit organization like EcoCity Cleveland can go beyond the jurisdictional constraints of public planning agencies in a fragmented region, use the latest planning and communications technologies, and lead a citizen-based discussion about more sustainable patterns of settlement.
Sense of urgencyWe feel a sense of urgency about the need to re-imagine Northeast Ohio. We are on the verge of a huge leap in the amount of developed land in the region, even though we are growing slowly in population and employment. In effect, a relatively stable population is consuming more and more land per person. As a result, we are spreading out our assets, undermining the health of existing urban areas, destroying valuable farmland and open space, and creating intractable environmental problems.
Will we find more sustainable ways to develop our communities? We canif we imagine the alternatives and work together for a different future.
Citizens' Bioregional Plan contents
Development that destroys communities and the places people care about isn't progress. It's chaos.
The bioregional plan demonstrates how a nonprofit organization like EcoCity Cleveland can go beyond the jurisdictional constraints of public planning agencies in a fragmented region, use the latest planning and communications technologies, and lead a citizen-based discussion about more sustainable patterns of settlement.