Thinking as a region

A remarkable convergence of thought is occurring in Northeast Ohioa growing understanding that our future depends on acting regionally. It's an understanding that many of our most serious environmental, social and economic problems are regional in scope. It's a recognition that our region's sprawling development patterns destroy communities and are not sustainable. And it includes a concern thatwith our fragmented, hodge-podge of local governmentswe have little ability to act regionally at present.

This convergence involves not only the "usual suspects," such as environmentalists, urban planners and transit advocates, but also a growing number of elected officials, religious leaders and members of the business community. Even people who once cheered "growth" at any cost are starting to question the long-term implications of investing public infrastructure dollars in new suburbs at the expense of older urban areas. They are recognizing that everyone in the region depends on a healthy urban core.

The EcoCity Cleveland Journal has covered the urban sprawl debates in Northeast Ohio, and we are proud to have played a role in heightening awareness about regional issues. In this publication we collect some of our best articles in one convenient package. We hope this will be a stimulating and useful toolplease read it, ponder it, and pass it on to friends and colleagues.

We may not all agree on the diagnoses or cures presented in these pages, but we can all recognize our regional problems and enter the debate with open minds. The discussion about acting regionally has happened before in our history. Yet, in many ways, it is just beginning. We are groping toward regionalism, struggling to discover new forms of cooperation in a political atmosphere hostile to the idea of metro government. Maybe today we can finally come to grips with the regional forces shaping our future.

David Beach
January 1996


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Cuyahoga Bioregion
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Corn Fields contents

Part 1: The history and cost of sprawl

Part 2: Local and regional responses
to sprawl

Part 3: Regional strategies
for sustainable communities




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