First Suburbs Consortium

The First Suburbs Consortium (FSC) of Northeast Ohio was created in 1996 by elected officials of older suburbs in response to the recognition that government policies and practices promote the development of new communities at the outer edges of metropolitan regions over the redevelopment and maintenance of mature suburbs. The FSC is a council of governments working to revitalize mature, developed communities and raise public and political awareness of the problems and inequities associated with urban sprawl and disinvestment.

The FSC consists of 14 communities in the Greater Cleveland area: Bedford, Bedford Heights, Brook Park, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Maple Heights, Parma, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, University Heights, and Warrensville Heights.

Maintaining mature communities

First suburbs are generally suburbs that were built, or mostly built, adjacent to or near central cities before 1960. In the Midwest, suburban development began around 1900 and progressed slowly until halted by the Great Depression and World War II. In the 25 years following the War, suburban growth accelerated dramatically. Those "first" suburbs now are 40 to 80 years old, and with age many have begun to experience what had been exclusively central city challenges: deteriorating and obsolete real estate, problematic sewer and water systems, disinvestment, and residents with modest or low incomes.

Officials of these suburbs have recognized that public policy as it affects investment in real estate does little for them. New, outer suburban suburbs are promoted as growth and progress, drawing higher-income residents and businesses away from first suburbs, which are left to cope with their situation as best they can. Individually, first suburbs can do little to change the imbalance of public policy and practice. Collectively, however, their chances improvethus the formation of the First Suburbs Consortium.

Balanced development

The consortium believes that the well-being of the Greater Cleveland region requires public and private "smart growth" policies and practices that combat:

  • Economic erosion of mature communities
  • Social costs associated with abandonment and disruption of traditional neighborhoods
  • Wasteful duplication of infrastructure
  • Environmental degradation
  • Loss of farmland and open space

Sprawl affects all communities in the long-term. The Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium believes that taxpayer dollars should not be used to encourage the abandonment of our cities and mature communities. Other states have adopted a variety of effective planning and fiscal initiatives to combat suburban sprawl, protect the environment, revitalize older communities, and conserve public resources.

In 1998, the Northeast Ohio FSC convened a statewide meeting to share information with colleagues in the Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo areas. Participants agreed that older suburbs throughout Ohio shared many of the same issues and challenges. The statewide group continues to meet and is currently planning statewide initiatives. The 28 participating communities represent more than 750,000 Ohioans.

 

 

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www.ecocitycleveland.org
Copyright 2002-2004

First Suburbs Consortium
First Suburbs Development Council

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Map of First Suburbs cities
Warning: Sprawl is hazardous
Why referendum zoning hurts older suburbs
Future Heights: Preserving Cleveland Hts

Rating the suburbs?

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