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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 Cleveland.com 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.

Digi-NEO…facts about Northeast Ohio

March 15, 2013 in Conditions and Trends, Connections, Engagement, Environment, News, Quality Connected Places, Transportation

During the course of developing the NEOSCC Conditions and Trends Platform, we developed 33 findings across the subject matter areas of economic development, transportation, housing, the environment and quality connected places in Northeast Ohio.  In order to communicate some of these findings, we have developed the Digi-NEO program which highlights different facts about the region’s successes as well as its challenges.

Visit our Digi NEO Gallery to learn more about our region.

Vibrant NEO 2040 and Scenario Planning

March 7, 2013 in Engagement, News, Scenario Planning

SCENARIOS are stories about the future.  They 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 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.

VibrantNEO 2040’s Scenario Planning 

Step 1: Where is Northeast Ohio today?

Every VibrantNEO 2040 scenario will start with measuring where we are now and identifying trends that may affect our future: These include what is happening with our population, how are we using land, what policies are we pursuing and enacting, what are we investing in, and many more factors. 

Step 2: What if we keep doing what we are doing now?

The first scenario VibrantNEO 2040 will develop is called “Business-As-Usual.” 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?

Step 3: What if we pursue different priorities?

Once we know what will happen if we keep doing what we are currently doing, we can begin to ask how the future might change if we start doing things differently.  What if we decide to protect certain types of land use or choose to make broadening the different types of housing options available to Northeast Ohioans our number one goal? Each of these choices could lead to a different scenario.

To know which scenarios to create, VibrantNEO 2040 is asking people from all across Northeast Ohio to participate in scenario-building exercises that will help make sure we are focused on the things Northeast Ohioans think are most important.  Working with the information gathered through these exercises and the other ways the public can participate, we will develop a small set of ALTERNATIVE scenarios about Northeast Ohio’s future to go along with the Business-As-Usual scenario.

 

Step 4: What scenarios lead to the best outcomes?

To judge the choices we make in the Business-As-Usual scenario and the other scenarios we develop, we will need to identify Scenario Indicators, which allow us to measure and compare trends and likely outcomes in the different scenarios.  These indicators will reflect Northeast Ohio’s priorities, will be easy to understand, will work across all the scenarios being reviewed, and will help show our region’s long-term health.  The indicators that we settle on will serve as a scorecard to rate the different scenarios.  Based on this scorecard we will be able to judge the results of the choices we might make.

Step 5: How should we prioritize our choices for Northeast Ohio?

In addition to knowing the likely results of the choices we make, we also need to know what our choices will cost, and how they might pay off.  For this, VibrantNEO 2040 will develop a detailed Fiscal Impact Analysis, which will allow us to explore the financial trade-offs we might have to make to achieve our goals for the region.  With our scenarios, indicators, and fiscal impact analysis in hand, VibrantNEO 2040 will challenge Northeast Ohioans to have a thoughtful, region-wide conversation about what we really value about our region and what we are willing to invest in those values.

Step 6: What does our preferred vision of Northeast Ohio’s future look like?

Knowing what we as Northeast Ohioans value and how we prefer to prioritize our region’s choices and investments, VibrantNEO 2040 will take what we have learned from its different scenarios – what worked best in each scenario in pursuing Northeast Ohio’s goals and priorities – and build a new scenario for the region that maximizes our outcomes.  This will be the final product of VibrantNEO’s Scenario Planning: Our region’s Preferred Scenario for its future.

WHAT’S NEXT?

VibrantNEO’s Preferred Scenario will represent the best path that Northeast Ohio can take to create the kind of future it wants for this region.  Once the Preferred Scenario is complete, VibrantNEO 2040 will turn to its next step of moving Northeast Ohio down this path: IMPLEMENTATION.


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The Environmental Protection Agency’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Sources

February 26, 2013 in Environment, News, Sustainability

Image Courtesy of motherjones.com

In 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated its Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. EPA’s intent is to study the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, if any. EPA also wants to identify the driving factors that may affect the severity and frequency of drinking water resource impacts. EPA has designed the scope of the research around five stages of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. Each stage of the cycle is associated with a primary research question:

1. Water Acquisition: What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of large volume water withdrawals from ground and surface waters?

2. Chemical Mixing:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of hydraulic fracturing fluid surface spills on or near well pads?

3. Well Injection:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of the injection and fracturing process?

4. Flowback and Produced Water:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of flowback and produced water (collectively referred to as “hydraulic fracturing wastewater”) surface spills on or near well pads?

5. Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal:
What are the possible drinking water resource impacts of inadequate treatment of hydraulic fracturing wastewater?

EPA’s study will ultimately produce a final report that describes 18 research projects underway to answer these research questions. The research projects are organized according to five different types of research activities: analysis of existing data, scenario evaluations, laboratory studies, toxicity assessments, and case studies. The EPA is committed to conducting a study that uses the best available science, independent sources of information, and a transparent, peer-reviewed process that will ensure the validity and accuracy of the results.

The EPA has designated the report as a “Highly Influential Scientific Assessment,” which will undergo peer review by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, an independent and external federal advisory committee that conducts peer reviews of significant EPA research products and activities. Individual reports and papers will come out of both the internal and external review processes to ensure appropriate use of data. The final report of results will be released for public comment in 2014.

Additional information about the EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing is available at http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/index.html. This site includes links to the December 2012 progress report, the executive summary, press releases, and information on how interested stakeholders may participate. Any questions about the site or the study may be directed to Katie Wagner (wagner.katie@epa.gov) or Dayna Gibbons (gibbons.dayna@epa.gov), the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Website Editors.

Mobility of NEO Young and Middle-Aged Adults

February 19, 2013 in Housing, News, Planning and Zoning

While Cleveland’s overall population has declined 17% from 2000 to 2010, past research by the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development has demonstrated population gains for certain age demographics in certain regional localities. Mapping Human Capital: Where Northeast Ohio’s Young and Middle-Age Adults Are Locating, the second Briefly Stated report released by the Poverty Center in 2013, expands on the initial research by examining the mobility of young and middle-age adults in Northeastern Ohio.

Using data from the 2000 and 2010 Census, recent Poverty Center researcher Richey Piiparinen determined that young adults (aged 25 to 34) are moving into certain Cuyahoga County municipalities and neighborhoods, especially in the core of Cleveland. Certain minority groups represent some of the highest growth in these localities. These inner-ring communities are recognized for their culture and walkability. It is possible that these characteristics are attractive to younger adults.

Data from this report was recently used in a story by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and will appear in an upcoming article.

In 2012 the Center released a Briefly Stated report Not Dead Yet – The Infill of Cleveland’s Urban Core, originally completed for the Urban Institute, which showed a gain of young adults moving into the urban core. The influx of human capital should be understood so strategy can increase the in-migrating flow.

 

Download the report and its related appendices to read more.

The Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development is a research center at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, a graduate school of social work at Case Western Reserve University.

University Park Alliance: 2013 Urban Innovator Speaker Series

January 30, 2013 in News, Planning and Zoning, Quality Connected Places, Summit

2013 Urban Innovators Speaker Series
Time: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Date(s): 01-30-2013 to 03-20-2013
Price: Free

Reserve now! Seating will be limited to 100 per presentation and reservations are required. Call 330-777-2070 or email info@upakron.com

January 30th and February 20th Speaker Series programs will be held at the Andrew Jackson House – Ballroom at 277 E. Mill Street, Akron, OH 44308, the corner of E. Mill and Union Streets.

March 20th Speaker Series program will be held at Quaker Square at the corner of E. Mill Street and N. Broadway, Akron, OH 44308

January 30th:
Redesigning the Urban Landscape: Developing a Natural Sense of Place – Sabrena Schweyer & Samuel Salsbury, Salsbury-Schweyer, Inc.

February 20th:
Transforming Vacant Spaces: Creating Value from Vacancy in the Urban Footprint – Terry Schwarz, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

March 20th:
Cohousing: A Unique Approach to Alternative Housing – Sharon Sykora, Ph.D., Slippery Rock University

UPA’s Urban Innovators Speaker Series features world-class thinkers and practitioners presenting creative approaches to revitalizing our city center. Historically cities have been the engines of the U.S. economy and today play an even greater role in fostering economic growth as incubators of innovation. This series provides a platform for the sharing of best practices and the exploration of ideas to transform thinking and accelerate the kinds of core city investment that will lead to competitive success for Greater Akron in the new urban economy.

The Series is presented by University Park Alliance and underwritten by the Greater Akron Chamber.

What Can I do today?

 

Empowering Individuals to Clean Up Blight

January 10, 2013 in Engagement, Housing, News, Quality Connected Places, Tool

East Cleveland

Grist.com recently reported on the crusade against blight in areas of northeast Ohio like Youngstown and Cleveland. 

“Good samaritans in Ohio may be getting a reprieve from potential misdemeanor charges.

Today the state House is voting on a bill that would allow people to clean up vacant, blighted properties without fear of a trespassing charge. This measure essentially gives residents more power to improve their neighborhoods, harnessing NIMBY instincts for good. From The Columbus Dispatch:

Some residents hesitate to take care of the properties around them because they risk trespassing charges, said Tiffany Sokol, office manager of the nonprofit Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., which boards up and cleans up vacant properties. The bill would allow individuals to clean up blighted land or buildings that have clearly been abandoned.

“Very ugly, nasty places,” [said Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), the bill’s sponsor]. “These properties are an eyesore, a danger to their neighbors.”

The Rust Belt is only getting rustier, and Ohio communities have tried a number of strategies to fight neighborhood blight. Yesterday, The Columbus Dispatch and a city website published the names of negligent owners of more than 100 blighted properties. The city called it a fight for neighborhoods.

City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. said anything is worth a try.

“If it gets their attention, good,” he said.

In Cleveland, officials are rehabbing the shrunken city by aggressively tearing down houses, not fixing them up.

 

What Can I Do Today?

New Online Resource Provides Data for Northeast Ohio

January 9, 2013 in Conditions and Trends, News, Tool, Toolkiit

A unique partnership between three leading institutions has released a new tool that provides data on conditions in Northeast Ohio.

The Northeast Ohio Data Collaborative, formed in early 2012, announced the availability of NEO CANDO 2010+. This interactive online data portal provides information about demographic, socioeconomic, and other data that help define and promote understanding of the human landscape of Northeast Ohio. Access NEO CANDO 2010+ at http://neocando.case.edu/index.shtml.

Claudia Coulton, co-director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, explained, “The development of the original NEO CANDO put our region ahead of other parts of the country. This update includes the latest data, has new features, and operates faster, keeping Northeast Ohio at the forefront.”

  

Features of NEO CANDO 2010+

  • Free and publicly accessible resource
  • Easily downloadable demographic and socioeconomic data
  • On-demand mapping based on a Google Maps platform
  • Revised geographies that reflect changes since the 2000 Census
  • Data from the 2010 Census for the entire 17-county Northeast Ohio region including by county, municipality, and some neighborhoods
  • Customizable reports allowing user to select certain indicators or geographies
  • Ability for future expansion to more data sources, such as birth and death records, property information, and health indicators

 

To read the full story at Planetizen, click here.

To learn more about the initiative at the Center for Community Solutions, click here.

What Can I Do Today?

Infill Housing and the HUD Livability Principles

January 8, 2013 in Housing, News, Quality Connected Places

Image courtesy of salazarch.com

In our work at NEOSCC, we are guided by six Livability Principles from The Partnership for Sustainable Communities (an interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)).  One of the principles is to ‘support existing communities’.  This principle is said to target federal funding toward existing communities—through strategies like transit-oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling—to increase community revitalization and the efficiency of public works investments and safeguard rural landscapes.  The EPA recently released a report examining residential construction trends in America’s metropolitan regions.  The report finds that nearly three out of four large metropolitan regions saw an increased share of new housing development in previously developed areas during 2005-2009 compared to 2000-2004. Known as infill housing, this type of development provides economic and public health benefits to metropolitan areas while protecting the local environment.  Northeast Ohio’s three metropolitan areas identified in the report had a low percentage of infill housing and they remained stagnate throughout the decade – a trend NEOSCC hopes to change in the future.

Metropolitan Region

2000-2004

% Infill

2005-2009

% Infill

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor

27.3%

27.7%

Akron

18.9%

18.2%

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman

20.8%

21.%

What Can I Do Today?

Finding the tools to keep Northeast Ohio’s future bright

November 26, 2012 in Communications, Conditions and Trends, News, Sustainability, Tool

In The Plain Dealer yesterday, Hunter Morrison, NEOSCC Executive Director and Jason Segedy, NEOSCC Board Chair contributed a guest column, “Finding the tools to keep Northeast Ohio’s future bright”,  to the Forum section discussing NEOSCC, the Conditions and Trends Platform and Vibrant NEO 2040.  Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Admit it: You love Northeast Ohio. You love the people, or the history, the museums, the food, or the parks and the sports. For all of us, there are aspects of our region about which we are proud, unique qualities that make it a great place to live. We all want to see the things that we love about Northeast Ohio thrive and grow, just as we would like to see the challenges facing our region addressed and put behind us.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium works to help residents preserve and build upon what we value, and to fix those things that are challenging — on a regional scale. NEOSCC is a growing member-led collaboration of public agencies, elected officials, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities and community members. Our collective work will serve as the foundation for the development of Vibrant NEO 2040, a regionwide planning and engagement effort convened by the consortium to spur the development of the vision and tools that will help Northeast Ohio become a more sustainable, resilient and vibrant place to live and work.

To continue reading visit cleveland.com.

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