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Engage at our On-Line Open House

July 31, 2013 in Engagement, News, Scenario Planning

Vibrant NEO 2040 Open House Intro Video

We have had over 100 people attend our first two Open Houses.  Today we will be in Ashtabula and Willowick!  The complete schedule of the remaining eight open houses is listed below.  The Vibrant NEO Open Houses have also been featured in the Vindicator,The Plain DealerYoungstown Business Journal, the Canton Repository,  the News Herald, the Tribune-Chronicle, and Freshwater Cleveland.   

As part of the Vibrant NEO Engagement Plan, we are committed to providing a variety of ways to engage you in the scenario planning process.  We know that some of you may not be able to make the open houses but your voice is still important to us.  We have created an on-line tool for you to learn about the scenarios and share your thoughts and opinions.

Please visit our On-Line Open House where you can explore the alternative scenarios through video, image galleries and materials.  A comment space has been included so you can let us know what you think! 

Click here to Engage On-Line

Don’t forget to check out the Open House schedule to see if you are able to attend!

Today kicks off the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses

July 29, 2013 in ACT, News, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Today kicks off the next round of Vibrant NEO Open Houses where we will look at Alternative Scenarios - different potential futures for Northeast Ohio - that could result from different choices.
These are critically important discussions.  The entire Vibrant NEO process is an attempt to help the residents of Northeast Ohio define what we want for the future, and then determine what choices we need to make in order to get to the future. 
The first round of workshops in early May helped to define a baseline for discussion – i.e. what will Northeast Ohio look like in 2040 is we continue our currents trends.  (You can learn more about these findings here.)
We gathered input from residents at those workshops, and later through ImagineMyNEO, our online planning tool which is still open for use.  That input has helped us create Alternative Scenarios that you can view and discuss at our Open Houses.  These scenarios help us see what can happen in the future if we make different choices now.  You can learn more in this comprehensive article from Steve Litt on today.   
We hope you can join us at one of our Open Houses – the first one is tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 PM at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Here is the schedule for the next two weeks.

Vibrant NEO 2040: Northeast Ohio’s Opportunity

July 24, 2013 in ACT, Vibrant NEO 2040


We often receive questions about what our initiative is about.  Here are thirteen facts about VIBRANTNEO 2040 and the opportunity for Northeast Ohio. Our open houses are less than a week away, join the conversation.  Details on locations and times can be found here.

VIBRANTNEO IS A LOCAL INITIATIVE. NEOSCC is made up of local governments, agencies, and organizations from across Northeast Ohio that have come together to create a means to work together toward goals for Northeast Ohio that we all share.  All decisions to accept, pursue and implement VibrantNEO 2040 will need to be made at the local level, through our region’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Councils of Government, and our County, Municipal, Village, and Township governments.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL BE A VISION BASED ON SHARED VALUES. Developing VibrantNEO 2040 is an opportunity for Northeast Ohioans to explore the region’s long-term development patterns and think together about what we want for the future of our region. VibrantNEO 2040 will reflects the values, voices and vision of Northeast Ohioans and will be a roadmap to a stronger Northeast Ohio.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL BE A “FRAMEWORK” As a “framework,” VibrantNEO 2040 will be a structure of policies, practices and relationships that better align the region’s decision-making and enhance the ability of the Northeast Ohio citizens and governments to make the big and small decisions.

VibrantNEO 2040 IS FOCUSED ON THE LONG-TERM IMPACT OF HOW WE USE LAND AND RESOURCES. Land-use affects many things and, as a result, VibrantNEO 2040 is a broad initiative.  But it is not all encompassing. NEOSCC believes in the importance of recognizing the relationships among land use, transportation, infrastructure investment, and environmental quality and VibrantNEO 2040 will promote integrated regional land use and housing, transportation, and capital investment planning.

VibrantNEO 2040 is based on data and analysis. Currently, many decisions are made and practices are carried out in Northeast Ohio in the absence of accurate and accessible region-wide or local data. Vibrant NEO 2040 aspires to provide this missing information and articulate the region’s choices clearly and unambiguously. NEOSCC has drawn together information and expertise from all across the region and from throughout the country to help create VibrantNEO 2040. Local government agencies and organizations have contributed thousands of hours of time and data from more than 200 pre-existing local planning and policy initiatives have been reviewed and analyzed.  Hundreds of volunteer experts and social scientists focusing on transportation, infrastructure, housing, economic development, environmental quality, planning and design, and many other areas have worked side-by-side with NEOSCC staff and its team of consultants to ensure VibrantNEO 2040 reflects our best thinking and deepest understanding of our region.

THE PROCESS TO CREATE VIBRANTNEO 2040 IS BROAD, TRANSPARENT AND INCLUSIVE. The VibrantNEO 2040 process actively seeks increased participation and decision-making by populations that have been left out of such processes in the past and has already involved thousands of Northeast Ohioans through its workshops, public meetings, speaking engagements, media relations, advertising, online communication, surveys, and publications.

NEOSCC firmly believes that facilitating an open and honest public process like VibrantNEO 2040 requires defending everyone’s right to offer an opinion, even if that opinion is that the public process should just go away.  Protecting and encouraging a diversity of thought and points of view enriches the process and its results. Everything NEOSCC does is chronicled on its website,

VIBRANTNEO 2040 RESPECTS AND WILL PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF PROPERTY OWNERS.  Planning, when done correctly, protects the rights of property owners by helping to ensure land is put to its highest and best use, resources are carefully managed, and property values aren’t undermined.  NEOSCC clearly stated its commitment to property rights in its goals for VibrantNEO 2040:

Goal 3: Respect Choice

Preserving our quality of life, expanding choices for Northeast Ohio’s citizens and respecting local government and individual property rights are essential principles for this process.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL EXPAND THE CHOICES AVAILABLE TO NORTHEAST OHIOANS. The ways that Northeast Ohio is currently using land and resources limit our choices about where and how we live, how we travel, what natural and built resources we have at our disposal, and how we spend public dollars.  By working together developing and implementing VibrantNEO 2040, residents and local governments will share data, develop common approaches to shared priorities, focus efforts and resources, eliminate duplication, and, ultimately expand the choices available to them. 

PARTICIPATION IN VIBRANTNEO 2040 IS A CHOICE. While local government has been and will continue to be crucial to the development and implementation of VibrantNEO 2040, there is nothing about the VibrantNEO 2040 process that would force a local government to participate or change. Every local government, organization and individual participating in creating VibrantNEO 2040 is doing so by choice.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 IS BEING DESIGNED TO HELP LOCAL GOVERNMENTS BE MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT. NEOSCC is developing products through the VibrantNEO 2040 process to enable the public, local agencies, and Northeast Ohio communities to inform, prioritize, align, and coordinate actions to advance our quality of life, sustainability, and resiliency. VibrantNEO 2040 will also help eliminate waste of resources and leverage regional assets, investments, and opportunities to their fullest potential. Two key ways that VibrantNEO2040’s success will be judged are how well it spurs local action and equips decision makers, planners, experts and residents with tools to implement the goals of their communities.

VIBRANTNEO 2040′S IMPLEMENTATION WILL BE UP TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. Once VibrantNEO 2040 is complete, it will be presented to local governments and their constituents for review and consideration. It will be up to local governments and their constituents to decide if adopting and implementing the recommendations from the Vibrant NEO 2040 Vision and Framework and using the tools that NEOSCC is developing is in their best interest.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 WILL HAVE NO EFFECT ON MUNICIPAL BOUNDARIES. VibrantNEO 2040 is being designed to protect and preserve the things we value most about Northeast Ohio and one of those things is our local communities, with their rich histories and commitment to self-determination. Many of these communities have participated in NEOSCC since its inception; VibrantNEO 2040 will be a tool to strengthen local governments, not undermine them.

VIBRANTNEO 2040 DOES NOT ADDRESS ISSUES OF REVENUE AND TAXATION.  While VibrantNEO 2040 will make recommendations about where financial resources may be deployed to have the greatest impact and how Northeast Ohio can achieve greater efficiency in its use of built and natural resources, how local governments generate financial resources is well beyond its scope and is a matter left to local governments and residents to decide.

So What Did the Business As Usual Scenario Tell Us?

July 2, 2013 in Communications, Scenario Planning

During our 1st round of Workhops, we presented the Business As Usual Scenario.  The question the Business As Usual Scenario poses is: “What will happen over the next 27 years if Northeast Ohio just keeps doing what it has been doing?”

Our projection of “big picture” trends from 2010-2040 for Northeast Ohio show:

  • Population – Northeast Ohio will experience 2.4% growth in population across its 12 counties, which equals 3,100 net new residents in the region each year.
  • Employment – Northeast Ohio will experience 6.2% growth in employment across the 12 counties, which equals 3,600 net new jobs in the region each year.
  • Northeast Ohio’s land usagewill change:
    • 121,500 acres will be used for new parks and land conservancy.
    • 92,500 acres will be used for new development.
    • 77,100 acres of property will be abandoned.

What does the Business As Usual Scenario tell us?

  • Northeast Ohio is on pace to abandon 10.5% of its housing units by 2040.
  • This is the equivalent of 18 homes being abandoned every day for the next 27 years.
  • If just 3 out of 10 of these homes have to be demolished, it will cost the region more than half a billion dollars.
  • The abandonment of these homes will damage the fabric of the neighborhoods that contain them.
  • Having these homes standing empty will pose a public safety hazard to residents who remain and they will result in permanent loss of residents and revenue for the cities where they are located.
  • Northeast Ohio’s population will continue to spread out.
  • More people will migrate out of our central cities.
  • Newer communities will seem to be experiencing “growth,” but most of it will be fueled by regional churn – people and businesses moving from one part of the region to another.
  • For the region as a whole, growth numbers will remain flat.
  • Continuing to spread out throughout the region will come with costs.
  • Even as it is abandoning more than 10% of its homes, Northeast Ohio will need to build 3,700 miles of new road to accommodate our population’s outward migration.  3,700 miles is the same length as the Great Wall of China.
  • Of course, we will still have to bear the expense of maintaining the roads and other infrastructure we already have.
  • And the addition of these roads will introduce additional problems, like air pollution from the vehicles that use them and environmental issues caused by surface runoff when it rains.
 These additional costs will increase the strain on Northeast Ohio taxpayers.
  • We already know that Northeast Ohio is very fragmented when it comes to the government organizations responsible for maintaining our region’s quality of life.  There are more than 700 taxing entities across the region.
  • Right now, local government budgets in some parts of the region are strained; in other parts of the region they’re not.
  • Under the Business as Usual Scenario, every county in Northeast Ohio will experience declining revenue compared with its costs.
  • By 2040, on average Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties will face budget shortfalls of 20%.  Some counties will face expenses that are more than 40% greater than their revenue.
  • And in 2040 every county in the region will be doing worse than the weakest of the Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties today.  Or, to put it another way, the county with the biggest budget problem today is better off than any county in the region in 2040.
  • With budget shortfalls of this size, taxpayers in 2040, under the Business as Usual Scenario, will be faced with a choice between two bad options: pay significantly more or settle for less.

Help us spread the word about Imagine MyNEO!

June 19, 2013 in Communications, Engagement, News, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

As part of Imagine MyNEO, we are launching a engagement challenge: myVibrant5. After you complete Imagine MyNEO you will be given the option to join the myVibrant5 challenge. The challenge will feature a leaderboard indicating those participants that have invite the most friends to play and complete Imagine MyNEO. A dynamic leader board identifying the the top 5 participants will be featured on Check out the presentation below for more information.

Check out your maps from the first round of Workshops!

June 18, 2013 in Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Map Library

Over 70 maps were created at the six workshops by residents and public officials. We have created a the following galleries for you to look at the different maps. Three of the six workshop maps have been posted, the remaining three will be uploaded later today.  We have removed the table numbers from each map.











Warrensville Heights






“Business as Usual” Workshops: Initial Review and Results Presented to Board

June 14, 2013 in Communications, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Over a three day period (April 30 – May 2) nearly 600 individuals participated in our Business As Usual Workshops.  The sessions focused on a presentation of the Business As Usual Scenario, instant polling and a mapping exercise to engage attendees in a discussion about how the region should look going forward. You can access a video from our Akron Workshop here.

Below you will find some of the results from the first Workshop Series.  We have included an overall summary of the workshop results, a closer look at how different development typologies were utilized during the mapping exercise and a library of all of the maps created by workshop attendees.

Summary of Thematic Feedback and Table Notes

During the mapping exercise, we encouraged attendees to take notes about ideas and concerns at each table.  This document is a record of the notes taken by volunteer note-takers during the mapping exercise conducted at the Vibrant NEO 2040 “Business As Usual” Scenario Workshop Series  Click here to read through the VibrantNEO Phase One Table Notes.

What development types did participants use?

Attendees were able to place different development typologies on a Northeast Ohio map.  The results from this exercise are summarized in the powerpoint results above. Here is a different look at the outputs focused on the number of different chips utilized. Click here to access  VibrantNEO Workshop Chip Placement.

Map Exercise Library

Over 70 maps were created at the six workshops by residents and public officials. We have created a library of all of the maps on our website.  If you would like to see the copies of individual maps from the workshops, Click here to access. Three of the six workshop maps have been posted, the remaining three will be uploaded later today.

WKSU Story…Citizens plan the future of NE Ohio

May 9, 2013 in News, Scenario Planning

WKSU, Mark Urycki:

If you’d like to build an expressway that links Beachwood to Youngstown, you’ve had your chance to suggest it.

Groups of people have been gathering in cities around Northeast Ohio this week to make suggestions about the future growth of the region. It’s all being funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Obama Administration is handing out grant money in hopes of saving much larger sums in the long run. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is an effort by HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. EPA. They’re hoping that better designed communities will mean less waste building new roads and housing developments while the old ones just crumble.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium has been asking locals how to do that this week. April 1 – May 2, sessions were held across Northeast Ohio.

The organization is made up of 33 members, all the major cities, counties and transportation or planning agencies in the 12-county region. It’s pretty clear by their projections of what Northeast Ohio would look like in 2040 that their biggest concern is that the region cannot afford to sprawl outwards while older houses, businesses and neighborhoods are abandoned. Jeff Anderle explained that NEOSCC is asking citizens where to put the resources.

“What should we be doing potentially in the future to create a more vibrant region? Given government resources being strapped, it’s very important we make wise investment with the tax dollars.

“Something like this takes some of the guesswork out of it and says, ‘What are the fiscal impacts of these choices and how governments work better and collaborate better just within the cities or counties where they are?”

So in a half dozen locations this past week, interested citizens have been hovering over maps, drawing out what they’d like to invest in or not.

A couple men in Akron objected to the word invest and said the free market should decide, that no one should tell private property owners how they can use their land. Consultant James Miner of the Boston-based Sasaki Associates planning firm suggested they imagine being a farmer who wanted to keep farming.

“Land rights are very important in this country. It’s something we do not want to violate. However, the free market has the ability to cause pressure on you as a farm owner because the growth of residential use in your community could reach your front door.“

This week the Sustainable Communities Consortium gathered about six-dozen maps that represent the land-use and transportation wishes of the people in attendance. Our ideas will be used to create alternative scenarios for the region and then presented at later town hall meetings.

Read this original article and hear more at 

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