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Let’s create Northeast Ohio’s future!

April 30, 2013 in Engagement, Scenario Planning

Our work together begins tonight!

VibrantNEO 2040’s scenarios will tell stories about our possible futures, based on where Northeast Ohio is today and the choices we might make about how we use our land and how we invest our resources. Once we create these scenarios, we will be able to compare how successful they are at achieving our common goals for the region, judge which choices would be best for Northeast Ohio’s future, and create a shared vision and framework for the future around those choices.

You are invited to attend an upcoming workshop to share your voice in the conversation. We have selected six city locations throughout the region for your convenience. Pick a date and location that works for you!


April 30

Oberlin (Lorain, Medina, and western Cuyahoga)
The Oberlin Inn, 7 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Warren (Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula)
John F. Kennedy High School, 2550 Central Pkwy Ave SE, Warren, OH 44484

May 1

Cleveland (Central Cuyahoga and inner-ring suburbs)
Third Federal Savings & Loan (Auditorium), 7007 Broadway Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44105

Canton (Wayne and Stark)
The Metropolitan Centre, 601 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, OH  44702

May 2

Akron (Summit and Portage)
Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Boulevard, Akron, OH 44307

Warrenville Hts. (Lake, eastern Cuyahoga, and Geauga)
Corporate College – East, 4400 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128


A Letter to the Region

April 29, 2013 in Engagement, Scenario Planning

Join Us this week! We all have our reasons for loving Northeast Ohio, and because we love this region, we want to see it thrive and grow, just as we want to see the challenges facing our region addressed and put behind us.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) is working to help residents preserve and build upon what we value, and fix those things that are challenging. NEOSCC is a regional collaboration of public agencies, elected officials, philanthropic and non-profit organizations, colleges and universities and community members. Our mission is the development of Vibrant NEO 2040, a vision for how to make Northeast Ohio a more vibrant, resilient, and sustainable place to live and work.

To develop that vision, we need a solid understanding of the “facts on the ground,” so NEOSCC started by convening over 150 experts from across Northeast Ohio to study over 200 existing policy studies and planning documents and assess the region’s demographic trends and development patterns over the past 4 decades.

The picture that we’ve found, available at, is nuanced. This region, inarguably, has a wealth of assets which are a magnet for new residents and businesses, and a foundation on which to build future endeavors.

There are also clear, unsettling and economically challenging aspects of our region’s long-term development patterns. Over the past four decades, the percentage of our region’s land which has been developed has grown by more than 21%, but our population has declined by about 7%. This means, quite simply, that as a region, we are maintaining more infrastructure and have more housing and commercial property than we can support with a slightly smaller population than we had in 1970.

The consequences of this pattern can be seen throughout the region—from weak housing markets in many of our region’s core city neighborhoods  and first suburbs to the decline of our region’s downtown retail districts and—more recently—the abandonment of shopping malls and retail strips in many of the region’s suburbs.  It can also be seen in the debates—often heated—between the leaders of long-established and newly-developing communities about how best to invest the region’s scare infrastructure resources in their respective communities. The question for the region is stark: How can we maintain the quality and economic vitality of our already-developed communities while meeting the emerging needs of communities experiencing the pressures of new development?

This region’s future will be decided by how we answer that question, how we deal with challenges like development without population growth, and by how we connect and leverage the unique assets of our people and places.  At NEOSCC, we understand that we can only tackle these questions together, as a region.

In order to create a vision for a sustainable future, we have to figure out what choices we can make now that will give us the greatest chance for success.  To do this, we are using a tool called Scenario Planning, and we hope you will be a part of this effort.

Scenarios summarize likely future outcomes based on what we know about the present and what we know about how the world works.  (Every weather forecast, for example, presents a scenario for the future, based on what meteorologists know about the current weather and what they know about how weather patterns develop.)

VibrantNEO 2040’s scenarios will tell stories about our possible futures, based on where Northeast Ohio is today and the choices we might make about how we use land and how we invest.  Our Scenario Planning process uses different scenarios to try and answer some important questions: What will Northeast Ohio look like in the future if we keep doing what we’re doing? What if we pursue different priorities?  What scenarios and priorities lead to the best potential future for our region? How do we prioritize our choices given limited resources? And finally, what does the preferred vision of Northeast Ohio’s future look like?

The first round of Vibrant NEO 2040 Scenario Planning Public Workshops focuses on the “Business-As-Usual” scenario.  It outlines what Northeast Ohio’s future will look like if we keep doing what we are currently doing – what will our communities look like, how successful will our economy be, and how much will it likely cost us, if we keep our current policies and approaches to land use, transportation and development in place.

Once we know what will happen if we keep doing what we are doing, then we can start to ask how the future might change if we do some things differently.  It’s the first step in a three-phase process that we will be conducting over in the coming months.

As a region, we face tough but important questions, and the answers can only come from the people of Northeast Ohio.  That’s why we hope you will take advantage of at least one of the several opportunities this year to add your voice, perspective and ideas to the Scenario Planning process.  The initial opportunity is just around the corner; the first round of workshops take place across the region at convenient locations on April 30, May 1 and May 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.  Visit and register for the location and day most convenient for you, and join us as we begin to work toward a common vision for a more vibrant, resilient and sustainable Northeast Ohio.

What future do you want for Northeast Ohio? Vibrant NEO Video

April 28, 2013 in News

Only 2 more days to our first workshops in Warren and Oberlin.  Here is a preview of our new intro video that we will premier at our sessions this week! Register for one of our April 30 – May 2 workshops!

Housing: Strategies to respond to residents’ needs and values

April 26, 2013 in Housing

Housing choice connects with transportation options, public health & improved access to opportunities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a publication outlining various strategies communities can use to ensure redevelopment plans respond to the needs of existing residents and reflect their values.  The strategies are grouped under seven common elements that connect environmental justice, smart growth, and equitable development:

  • Facilitate Meaningful Community Engagement in Planning and Land Use Decisions
  • Promote Public Health and a Clean and Safe Environment
  • Strengthen Existing Communities
  • Provide Housing Choices
  • Provide Transportation Options
  • Improve Access to Opportunities and Daily Necessities
  • Preserve and Build on the Features That Make a Community Distinctive

Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities was developed jointly by EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and HUD’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

For complimentary hard copies of the report (including free shipping), email or call 800-490-9198 and request product code: EPA 231-K-10-005.  You can download a pdf of the report here:  EPA Creating Sustainable Communities report. Feb 2013.

5 Days to workshop 1… What Do You Know About NEO?

April 25, 2013 in Engagement, News

With our workshops less than 5 days away, perhaps its time to brush up on some Northeast Ohio facts and figures…





Click on any image below to view the entire Digi-NEO library as a slideshow


Less than 1 week… Will you help create NEO’s Future?

April 24, 2013 in Engagement, Scenario Planning

What are you doing April 30, May 1 or May 2?  Creating NEO’s Future Depends on You?

Speak up and voice your opinions about OUR home!

What brought you to Northeast Ohio?

What keeps you here?

What do you value most about Northeast Ohio?

What will keep you and your family here in the future?

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) will be hosting a series of workshops to create a vision for a Vibrant NEO in the year 2040. Workshops will be two hours long and will be held at various locations throughout the region.  Please feel free to pick the time and location that is most convenient for you, regardless of your county of residence.

Your help is needed to help NEOSCC focus the workshops on issues that are most important to YOU – today and in the future!


April 30

Oberlin (Lorain, Medina, and western Cuyahoga)
The Oberlin Inn, 7 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Warren (Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula)
John F. Kennedy High School, 2550 Central Pkwy Ave SE, Warren, OH 44484

May 1

Cleveland (Central Cuyahoga and inner-ring suburbs)
Third Federal Savings & Loan (Auditorium), 7007 Broadway Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44105

Canton (Wayne and Stark)
The Metropolitan Centre, 601 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton, OH  44702

May 2

Akron (Summit and Portage)
Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Boulevard, Akron, OH 44307

Warrenville Hts. (Lake, eastern Cuyahoga, and Geauga)
Corporate College – East, 4400 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Hunter Morrison talks Vibrant NEO Workshops on Cool Cleveland

April 22, 2013 in Communications, Engagement, News

Come see us at Earthfest on Sunday

April 19, 2013 in Engagement

Here are some pix from our table last year…

NEOSCC is proud to once again be a sponsor for Earthfest.  Come visit our table this Sunday!

Join Earth Day Coalition for EarthFest 2013 at this year’s new location, the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, on Sunday, April 21 from 10am-5pm.  In partnership with Mayor Frank Jackson’s Sustainable Cleveland 2019 initiative, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and the Ohio Development Services Agency Office of Energy, this year’s EarthFest will celebrate Advanced and Renewable Energy with a new exhibit area under the Fairground’s dramatic on site wind turbine and Energy Education Center.  Presented and organized by Earth Day Coalition since 1990, EarthFest is Ohio’s largest environmental education event and the longest running Earth Day celebration in the nation.

EarthFest will feature over 200 exhibits in 8 sustainability areas including: Advanced and Renewable Energy, Local & Sustainable Food, Clean Transportation (with Ride & Drive), Health & Fitness, Community Works, Family Fun, Zero Waste, and Green Home & Garden.  Families will enjoy all day entertainment with eco-activities, Ohio’s first biodiesel powered amusement park rides, music on 5 stages, urban farm animals, healthy food from local food trucks, the NASA “Village,” Jungle Bob with his animal friends, Valley Exotic Petting Zoo, pony rides and much more…

NEW this year:

Advanced and Renewable Energy exhibit area where attendees will learn first hand about exciting initiatives in our region as well as home products and conservation methods that utilize cleaner energy, minimize emissions and maximize efficiency.  Visit our website to read a series of stories on some of the energy projects that will be on display at EarthFest.

• EarthFest will have Ohio’s first biodiesel powered amusement park rides. Learn about the environmental and clean-air benefits of biodiesel in this exciting new display!

This year’s EarthFest has the goal of being a zero waste event and has partnered with Kimble Recycling and Disposal, Rosby Recycling Resources and ZeroWaste NEO to provide recycling and composting stations.  Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op will run “Zero Emissions for Zero Waste” rickshaws to unload recycling and composting stations throughout the day.

Guests will enjoy local microbrews and vintners, all-day chef demos and a huge selection of healthy and delicious local food from twelve of your favorite food trucks, including: Fired Up Taco Truck, Jibaro, Motormouth, Sal Caruso, Seti Polish Boys, StrEat Mobile Bistro, Sweet! The Mobile Cupcake, Donut Lab, The Nosh Box, The Rolling Pig, Umami Moto and Zydeco Bistro. 

Adopt an animal in need from local animal rescues such as Greyhound Adoption of Ohio, Lighthouse Boxer Rescue and the Animals’ Disaster Team.

Listen to all-day music and the best of Northeast Ohio singer-songwriters, musicians and bands on 5 “Party with the Planet” entertainment stages organized by students enrolled in Cuyahoga Community College’s entertainment booking class.

Take walking tours of Baldwin Wallace University’s solar, wind, composting and green building installations led by students from the university. 

Admission: $3 ages 2-11; $5 ages 12+. Free Admission for: under age 2; for anyone who rides and parks their bike at the Bagley Road Fairgrounds entrance; for teachers with their immediate families who present a current school ID; and, for those who ride the RTA Redline (regular fare) to the Brookpark Rapid Station and the free EarthFest shuttle. Current members of Earth Day Coalition are treated to *free EarthFest admission and invited to enjoy our Very Environmental Persons (VEP) hospitality area catered by Nature’s Bin (*$35 individual level and $50 family level minimum).


For exhibitor, sponsorship and event information call (216) 281-6468 or visit


MassDot Greening the State Transportation System

April 18, 2013 in Transportation


Massachusetts Department of Transportation launched GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative that will make MassDOT a national leader in “greening” the state transportation system. GreenDOT will be driven by three primary goals; reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, promote the healthy transportation options of walking, bicycling, and public transit, and support smart growth development.  In May of 2012, MassDOT released a Draft GreenDOT Implementation Plan for public review. The Plan was written to embed the sustainability vision of GreenDOT into the core business practices of MassDOT. According to the website, GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities; from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The initiative includes greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008. GreenDOT was designed in response to several existing state laws, Executive Orders, and MassDOT policies.

For more information about GreenDot visit the website at

GCRTA HealthLine named ‘Best BRT in USA’

April 17, 2013 in cleveland, Transportation

Photo by Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently received a Silver rating for the HealthLine – the highest ranking of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System in United States.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) presented the award for the HealthLine to Joseph Calabrese, CEO and General Manager, RTA, as well as to Mayor Frank Jackson, City of Cleveland, for its support of the project, on Tuesday, April 16 at 200 Public Square.

“The HealthLine is an example of how BRT can help to revitalize city centers, speed commutes, improve air quality, and leverage investment and development near transit, as we’ve seen with Cleveland,” said Walter Hook, ITDP CEO. “We consider the HealthLine to be a best practice for BRT in the US, and our hope is that it encourages other US cities to adopt this cutting-edge form of mass transit.”

Former Senator George Voinovich supported this project from his many years in Cleveland and served as its champion.

“It is a credit to the dedicated staff at RTA and the City of Cleveland that the HealthLine has been rated by the BRT Standard as the highest-quality bus rapid transit corridor in the United States,” said George Voinovich, retired Senator. “The HealthLine has not only dramatically improved transportation options from downtown to University Circle, it’s also been a catalyst for nearly six billion dollars of real estate investment along Euclid Avenue and is contributing a great deal toward revitalizing the city.”

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