Action Products

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) designed and developed action products to complement the Vibrant NEO 2040: Vision & Framework for Our Future and enable the public, agencies, and Northeast Ohio communities to inform, prioritize, align, and coordinate actions to advance sustainability in their areas of impact and interest. NEOSCC products and programs were designed to:

• Develop and lead the case for sustainable change through the Consortium’s planning, issue and policy research, prioritized issues and metrics, and communication and engagement platform;

• Model coordinated decision-making, integrated regional data monitoring, and resource allocation through the Consortium’s regular cycle of meetings and shared database management;

• Share sustainable values, principles, practices, and policies through a robust state of the art engagement platform and Vibrant NEO Dashboard; and

• Enable communities throughout the Northeast Ohio region to design and carry out their own sustainability projects through a tool kit, best practices, model policies, and pilot projects.

The products were developed because the NEOSCC Board understands that a vision alone is not enough to effect change. The products are intended to encourage, equip, and support Northeast Ohioans to learn, share, create, and act together to create a more vibrant future. Additionally, it is hoped that the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and products will inspire and guide decision-making at the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Councils of Governments (COGs), and local level to ensure that land use, transportation, and environmental considerations are simultaneously addressed by their planning processes.

How to Use the Products

The products are intended to promote local action to take more of the “next steps” needed to implement the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision. They focus on local examples to enable knowledge sharing and replication. Out-of-region examples are also included to highlight best practices or different approaches being utilized outside of Northeast Ohio.

Organizational Structure

The products are aligned with the final Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision recommendations and/or initiatives as an organizational structure. The Dashboard and Policy Framework products are higher-level and organized by the vision’s nine recommendations. The Tool Kit & Best Practices and Pilot Projects are aligned by the 41 initiatives nested under the recommendations. Therefore, the content of the products is directly related back to the overall vision so that users can reference the element that can be impacted with a particular tool or action. Further, the vision’s recommendations section also includes relevant product examples as in-text references. For the Tool Kit & Best Practices and Pilots products an additional organizational or sorting structure is used beyond references to the vision recommendations or topical areas. Six “place types” or “typologies”.

You can read the entire Action Product Executive Summary here:  NEOSCC Action Products Summary_12_13_13.

List of Action Products and Outputs

Dashboard: As part of the Vibrant NEO 2040 process, NEOSCC and its Dashboard working group developed the design specifications for a Regional Dashboard that would allow Northeast Ohioans to track metrics that measure progress toward realizing the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision. This proposed dashboard includes both the” Vision Indicators” described in detail elsewhere in this report and a second set of indicators—called “Context Indicators”—that track topics outside of Vibrant NEO 2040s core thematic focus areas. These Context Indicators include metrics on macroeconomics, education, health, and demographics.

Policy Framework: NEOSCC and its Policy working group developed the Policy Framework as a tool for analyzing the effects existing policies have on the region and identifying what will be needed to create desired change. NEOSCC anticipates that the Policy Framework will provide elected officials and other decision-makers with direction and support related to the policies and practices that will be o achieve the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision. The Framework includes a set of 40 policy directions that are tied to specific Vision Recommendations and that support their implementation and a “Top Ten List” that identifies the highest-priority policy changes.

Tool Kit & Best Practices: NEOSCC and its Tools and Best Practices working group identified more than 150 tools and best practices and compiled them into a Tool Kit for implementing the Vision.  Each technique and best practice is tied to the specific Recommendations and Initiatives to which it applies.

Pilot Projects: NEOSCC and its Pilots working group identified more than 300 Pilot Projects supportive of sustainability. These Pilots include 275 existing projects or initiatives found in the region and 30 proposed pilots that demonstrate emerging best practices and show promise for moving the region towards the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision. Each pilot is tied to the specific Recommendation and Initiative to which it applies.

Conditions and Trends:  To commence development of Vibrant NEO 2040, NEOSCC convened five “workstreams” comprised of 120 subject matter experts from across the region to develop  the Conditions and Trends Platform that would establish a baseline of regional data, identify long-term trends and emerging issues, and serve as s a precursor to the scenario planning process. This Platform is a first-of-its-kind online collection of information, data, and maps that can be used to answer questions about Northeast Ohio and how its different pieces fit together. Going forward, the Conditions and Trends Platform will provide insight into Northeast Ohio’s future by giving us a tool that we all can use to better understand Northeast Ohio’s yesterday and it’s today.

Northeast Ohio Parcel-Based Existing Land-Use and Zoning Maps: NEOSCC and its member agencies built parcel-level land use and zoning maps describing current classifications for approximately 1.8 million individual parcels-in the region’s 12 counties. The parcel-based land use map was created using detailed real estate information on provided by the region’s 12 County Auditors and County Fiscal Officers. This map can be scaled to the size of individual communities and counties and can be filtered to show in clear detail the location specific land uses, such as industrial, commercial and park land. The parcel-based zoning map was created using the most current information supplied by each of the 393 jurisdictions in the region. This map can be scaled to the size of individual communities and counties and can be filtered to show in clear detail the location of specific zoning classifications, such as residential, industrial, commercial, and agriculture.

Imagine MyNEO:  NEOSCC utilized an on-line engagement tool, ImagineMyNEO, to gather residents’ priorities for the region and what type of policies and projects are most important to them. The tool was designed to help dive into challenging issues, offering users a chance to weigh different choices and understand the real challenges and trade-offs beneath them.

Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice/ Fair Housing and Equity Assessment: in 2012 and 2013, NEOSCC, in cooperation with the region’s Community Development Block Grant entitlement communities, undertook a study to evaluate fair housing throughout the 12 Counties of Northeast Ohio. Known as a Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice/Fair Housing and Equity Assessment study is a detailed analysis of the accessibility and affordability of housing in our region and is a valuable tool to understand and address issues of equity in Northeast Ohio.

Community Typology: NEOSCC staff, consultants and members of the Quality Connected Places workstream examined the history, physical form and evolution of the region’s communities and identified six discrete community types that, taken together, describe the development conditions found in the region’s 393 municipalities and townships. These six types are based on the type of jurisdiction and the age of its housing stock and identify characteristics common to each community type. This typology was utilized to structure place-based inputs for the scenario planning model and insure that the output would  accurately reflects conditions found on the ground in Northeast Ohio’s communities. This typology was also used to undertake a visual preference survey during NEOSCC’s second round of community meetings. Going forward, communities can use these typologies to identify other jurisdictions in Northeast Ohio that share key characteristics and challenges.

Envision Tomorrow and Fiscal Impact Analysis: NEOSCC and its consultant team utilized Envision Tomorrow, an open-source scenario-planning and fiscal impact tool to study in detail four alternative future land use and development scenarios  and to identify and quantify the impacts—both fiscal and environmental—of each. With the assistance of senior research professionals at Cleveland State and Youngstown State universities, NEOSCC and its consultants modified the Envision Tomorrow tool to accurately model the demographic trends and development patterns found in Northeast Ohio communities. The county-based Envision Tomorrow fiscal analysis tool was likewise modified to incorporate detailed revenue and expenditure information for the over 700 [HM1] municipalities, townships, school boards, special purpose authorities and taxing districts in the region. This tool enabled NEOSCC and the participants in the Visioning process to identify the costs and benefits of each alternative scenario and remains available as a tool for the region’s communities to use in taking action to achieve its regional Vision.

Development Strategies: Vibrant NEO 2040 calls for investing in existing communities, and existing communities are built around quality places. Instead of thinking about community and economic development investments in terms of discrete developments, buildings or projects, Vibrant NEO 2040 advocates for communities to focus on developing places – a group of buildings, spaces and uses that come together to form a whole on a neighborhood scale that are tailored to fill a particular need.  NEOSCC and its consultant team have identified a list of 22 different types of places that fit the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and could be created and/or maintained in Northeast Ohio.  These place types each serve a specific development strategy that communities can adopt when considering how to best use land in their areas.

Data and Analytic Tools: Developing Vibrant NEO 2040 involved collecting and analyzing data, modeling trends and alternatives, and interviewing experts across the region. All of the data that was collected to developed Vibrant NEO 2040 as well as the information and analytic tools used to create the four alternative scenarios and fiscal impact analysis and to develop the Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice/ Fair Housing and Equity Assessment are archived by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), fiscal agent for the project.  NOACA will maintain a sharing portal to enable community access to the data.