Creating a
regional balance of city and country

The conservationist Aldo Leopold once observed that the basic task for humans is to learn how "to live on a piece of land without spoiling it."

Today, the management of land use and development remains one of the toughest challenges for any community. Around Northeast Ohio, many people are wondering how they can reap the benefits of new development without destroying the places they love. And people in older communities are wondering how to maintain their quality of life now that their cities are built out and can no longer grow. These challenges are compounded by the political fragmentation of our region and the lack of state support for sustainable patterns of development.

Fortunately, there are smart ways for metropolitan regions to develop. This section of our site offers a vision of a Northeast Ohio where cities are redeveloped, open space is conserved, water quality is protected, and people can live in greater harmony with the natural systems that sustain life. It includes the following:

  • A frank assessment of the smart growth debate in Northeast Ohio.
  • A Citizens' Bioregional Plan that maps current development trends in the region and offers an alternative way to develop.
  • A comprehensive description of efforts to preserve open space in the region, including efforts by park districts, land trusts, farmland groups, and others.
  • An Ohio Smart Growth Agenda, which describes how the State of Ohio can support sustainable development instead of more sprawl.
  • Information on the First Suburbs Consortium of Northeast Ohio, the organization of inner-ring suburbs that is leading the fight for the maintenance of fully developed communities.
  • Images of the Western Reserve, a citizens' guide to architectural and urban design preferences.
  • An overview of watershed planning in the region, including summaries of major rivers and a discussion of troubling stormwater issues.
  • Moving to Corn Fields book, our reader on urban sprawl issues that appeared in 1996.

In the coming years, we look forward to working with citizens throughout Northeast Ohio to rebuild our cities and preserve our countryside.



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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2005

Where are we now?
What is sprawl? smart growth?
Race and regionalism
Smart growth resources

Smart Growth main sections
Citizens' Bioregional Plan
Regional open space
Ohio Smart Growth Agenda
What do we like?
Watershed planning
Moving to Corn Fields reader on sprawl

Smart Growth organizing
Greater Ohio
Statewide organizing in Ohio
Ohio House Subcommittee on Land Use
First Suburbs Consortium
Church in the City
Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH)

Smart growth research
The virtues of density
Health effects of sprawl
Michigan Land Use Leadership Council
Wealth moves out of Cuyahoga County
Enterprise Zones favor wealthy communities

Home Builders Smart Growth Awards
2002, 2003

Maps of Ohio Congressional, State Senate, and State Rep districts (each is a PDF file of about 160 KB)

Statements and Op-Eds

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The current round of suburban growth is generating a crisis of many dimensions: mounting traffic congestion, increasingly unaffordable housing, receding open space, and stressful social patterns. The truth is, we are using planning strategies that are 40 years old and no longer relevant to today's culture. Our household make-up has changed dramatically, the work place and work force have been transformed, real wealth has shrunk, and serious environmental concerns have surfaced. But we are still building World War II suburbs as if families were large and had only one breadwinner, as if jobs were all downtown, as if land and energy were endless, and as if another lane on the freeway would end congestion.
Peter Calthorpe, author of The Next American Metropolis

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