Preface: Two views from
By Timothy F. Hagan
In its short existence, the EcoCity Cleveland Journal has established itself as both an important voice in the shaping of policy in the Cleveland area and as a national model for urban environmental publications. Tackling issues ranging from brownfields to sustainable development, EcoCity Cleveland has consistently challenged us to address the issues central to our relationship with the environment we inhabit and share.
In Moving to Corn Fields, a collection of the journal's best articles on urban sprawl and outmigration, EcoCity addresses one of the most pressing issues facing this and every urban region: our ability to control, manage, and direct our growth in ways that minimize the destruction of the area's natural resources.
While others trumpet the evolution of "edge cities," non-urban centers of commerce and productivity, EcoCity urges us to examine the other side of the coin: that cookie-cutter zoning and a lack of vision and planning has led to the destruction of valuable and irreplaceable environmental landscapes and urban neighborhoods.
Over the last three decades, we have struggled as a region with the problem of rebuilding our urban core as its population has been cut in half. Unless we accept EcoCity's challenge to address the issues arising from the migration of hundreds of thousands of residents into our once rural areas, we will inevitably find the Greater Cleveland area transformed from an environmentally diverse region into little more than a glorified strip mall.
In order for this not to happen, I encourage you to read this book.
The view from Medina
By Sara L. Pavlovicz
The articles presented in this collection from past editions of EcoCity Cleveland serve as an important milemarker on the road to common understanding of what it is that we are all up against. I hope you will find the articles to be a useful source of dialogue in the coming months as we work together on issues associated with urban sprawl and greenfield preservation.
The recent residential growth in Medina County has created costly demands for greater public services. We are seeking new ways to deal with this growth in a manner which will preserve the rural landscape while balancing economic needs. There is a need for all citizens and elected officials to learn to balance the forces bearing on growth.
We are all neighborsurban, suburban, and rural together in the seven-county region. As neighbors, we need to be able to bring our human, economic development and environmental concerns, along with our pride of place, into a positive balance. This is not anti-development, but a recognition of the long-term importance of preserving significant natural amenities and communities.
We are challenged to educate the public to the problems of urban sprawl. As public officials, we need to accept this challenge. We need to scrutinize the land use patterns in the region. We need to examine existing and planned infrastructure, recognizing that infrastructure drives development. We need to be asking the right questions and sending the correct message to our constituencies if we are to become active players in building a sustainable future for our region.
After reading this collection, please tuck it away to use as a tool in creating sustainable communities for Northeast Ohio.
Unless we accept EcoCity's challenge to address the issues arising from the migration of hundreds of thousands of residents into our once rural areas, we will inevitably find the Greater Cleveland area transformed from an environmentally diverse region into little more than a glorified strip mall.