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sustainability News Archive

After several years of work, the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium released its vision document for the 12-county Northeast Ohio region. The vision makes nine recommendations for improving the future of the region, and identifies 41 initiatives for implementing them. The NEOSCC is collecting signatures from supporters of the vision, and its board is scheduled to vote on the vision's adoption at a February 25 meeting. Marc Lefkowitz of GreenCityBlueLake called it "a path forward that amplifies the good things about our communities."

The $7.7 million reconstruction of Fleet Avenue in Cleveland includes $1 million in green infrastructure improvements. The complete and green street will feature bike lanes, tree plantings, bioswales, and pocket parks.

The increasing number of bicyclists in Greater Cleveland is creating tension between divers and cyclists. Bike Cleveland launched a public awareness campaign intended to improve motorist awareness of cyclists. Participants in a recent edition of The Regina Brett Show discussed the issues, and NOACA Executive Director Grace Gallucci promoted sustainable transportation alternatives in a Plain Dealer op-ed.

Meanwhile, Angie Schmitt of Rust Wire criticized the City of Cleveland for the way it implemented its complete streets policy on downtown's Ontario Street. A local coalition developed an alternative, the Ontario Street Bikeway plan, that would add bike lanes to the street. Marc Lefkowitz of GreenCityBlueLake also considered the reasons why the region hasn't built a second bus rapid transit line.

A ribbon-cutting celebration for the Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek was held in June. The 18,000-square-foot building "is dedicated to promoting healthy urban watersheds through science, education, research and restoration", and was developed through a partnership between the Cleveland Metroparks, NEORSD and the West Creek Conservancy (formerly the West Creek Preservation Committee). They anticipate it will receive a LEED Gold rating. The facility in Parma is open to the public on Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., free of charge.

Enterprise Community Partners awarded a $40,000 grant to Burten, Bell, Carr for its Kinsman EcoDistricts and another $40,000 grant to the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Corporation to support its Cleveland EcoVillage. They also helped secure funding for the City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability.

The 12-county Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium introduced its "business as usual" scenario and hosted a series of public workshops. The "business as usual" scenario presented a vision of how the region would look in 2040 if current development patterns continue. It said that urban sprawl combined with flat population figures would lead to the abandonment of 10.5% of the region's housing stock. Research by Tom Bier of Cleveland State reached a similar conclusion. Nearly 600 people attended the six public workshops, participating in several planning exercises. A Plain Dealer editorial noted that "there's still time to reverse course."

The scenario planning exercise continued with the release of ImagineMyNEO, an interactive tool built on the open-source CrowdGauge framework. It places users in the role of a regional planner, asking them to identify their priorities for the region, select policies and practices, and allot limited resources. The NEOSCC will hold more open houses and workshops later this year.

Parma's Stearns Homestead is partnering with Cleveland Crops to establish a 17-acre urban farm at the historic site. The farm will grow fruits and vegetables, and will be the largest of Cleveland Crops' eight urban farms.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt drew connections between a series of seemingly-unrelated headlines to outline the "compelling overall narrative" of Northeast Ohio as a region "at odds with itself as it tries to figure out how to meet the 21st century."

A $175,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation enabled the the Cleveland 2030 District to hire architect Jon Reidy as its executive director (PDF). He's working to increase membership of the green building organization.

Steven Litt said that the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is providing the region with "its best shot in decades to come up with a better vision for a more sustainable future that could also shrink the cost of government," but noted that "time is running out for NEOSCC."

Steven Litt visited the Butler-Nissen House in Cleveland Heights, the area's second passive house. It was built on the site of the demolished Walker and Weeks-designed James H. Foster house. He called it "a classic example of two positive values in conflict - preservation versus sustainability." Meanwhile, Fresh Water looked at life in a passive house.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority completed construction of a 1.1-megawatt solar farm on a six-acre brownfield site adjacent to its Kinsman Avenue headquarters. CMHA officials said it will save the agency million of dollars over its expected 30-year lifespan, while providing it with educational opportunities. A Plain Dealer editorial called it the "sort of idea that could catch on."

The board of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium selected Sasaki Associates of Boston as the lead consultant for the regional planning initiative. The consulting team will provide planning and project management services, scenario planning, and fiscal impact analyses. Prior to the announcement, Hunter Morrison and Jason Segedy of the NEOSCC described the planning process in a Plain Dealer op-ed, and David Beach of GreenCityBlueLake said that it will be "our best shot in decades to think creatively about the future of our region."

Leaders of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History unveiled plans for a major expansion and renovation of the University Circle museum. The plans call for demolishing a portion of the museum and adding two new wings, a new lobby, and a parking garage. It presents an opportunity for the museum to demonstrate advanced building techniques. The museum also launched a capital campaign with a goal of raising $125 million over five to seven years. Earlier expansion plans were halted due to the recession. A Plain Dealer editorial said that the museum's plans "promise to renew its status as one of the region's premier cultural attractions".

Cuyahoga County was one of 22 communities selected by Smart Growth America for free technical assistance in 2013. The program is funded through the U.S. EPA's Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

The City of Cleveland is one of the communities participating in a year-long pilot program to evaluate the STAR Community Rating System, the "nation's first voluntary, self-reporting framework for evaluating the sustainability of U.S. communities."

Mansfield Frazier plans to build the world's fist biocellar adjacent to his Vineyards of Chateau Hough at East 66th Street and Hough Avenue in Cleveland. By reusing the foundation of a demolished house and adding a roof, the biocellar would create a space that could be used as a passive solar greenhouse. The concept was proposed by permaculture designer Jean Loria and developed by Kent State's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "biocellars could be the next big thing to resuscitate inner-city neighborhoods".

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is building 4,200 solar panels on a six-acre site adjacent to its headquarters at Kinsman Avenue and East 82nd Street. The one-megawatt array is expected to cover 70% to 80% of the building's electricity needs.

A Cleveland Botanical Garden program was one of eight projects recently certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a national rating system for sustainable built landscapes. It's the first project in Ohio to receive the designation. Eleven projects have achieved certification in the initiative's two-year pilot program.

The U.S. EPA awarded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants for two Greater Cleveland projects, giving $996,902 to the Ohio EPA and $770,250 to the Chagrin River Watershed Partners. The Ohio EPA will use its award to implement green stormwater control practices in Cuyahoga County, and the Chagrin River Watershed Partners will use its for green infrastructure projects in Lake County. Meanwhile, the Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition issued a report that highlights successful environmental restoration projects in Greater Cleveland.

Baldwin Wallace University dedicated its new R. Amelia Harding House for Sustainable Living. The renovated residence hall incorporates green building features, and the University hopes the project will receive LEED gold certification.

Earlier this month, Cleveland residents and officials celebrated the reopening of the redesigned outdoor spaces at the Michael J. Zone Recreation Center. The $3 million project (PDF) in the EcoVillage combines active recreation with green infrastructure.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium launched its Conditions and Trends Platform, a "compilation of research about our region that will allow us to take a collective look at what we are doing as a region and where we seem to be heading." It presents information from the initiative's five work steams for the 12-county Northeast Ohio region, and identified urban sprawl as one of the region's major issues.

The Cleveland Foundation announced $19.9 million in grants for a variety of programs, including funding for economic development activities, $150,000 for the intergenerational housing project in Fairfax, and $400,000 for a partnership that will work to leverage Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District investments to make neighborhood improvements. The Storm Water Management Partnership includes LAND Studio, Neighborhood Progress Inc., and the Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

Leaders of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium promoted regional cooperation at a recent conference, shared the feedback they gathered (PDF) at a series of events with young leaders, and released an overview (PDF) of their public opinion survey. The survey found that most Northeast Ohioans support sustainability, although few were able to accurately describe the concept. Satisfaction levels were lower among 18 to 24-year-olds. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that the survey "captures welcome signs about a general willingness among residents to change direction." The Consortium has also come under criticism, as board chairman Jason Segedy said that it has yet to address the region's "poor integration between land use and transportation", while Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt questioned its ability to produce meaningful change.

Cleveland Heights City Council passed sustainable zoning legislation, adopting a set of updates to the City's zoning code. The amendments address food production, energy generation and conservation, stormwater management, and transportation, among other subjects. Marc Lefkowitz noted that the changes are intended to reflect the values of the community.

Urban agriculture continues to rise in Cleveland neighborhoods.

Saying that "much of what [its] founders set out to accomplish is being carried forward by thousands of network participants in their new and existing organizations", Entrepreneurs for Sustainability announced that it will close this spring.

The recently-launched Cleveland 2030 District aims to create a high-performance building district in downtown Cleveland. The project's organizers set goals for reducing energy usage, water usage, and carbon emissions in new and existing buildings and infrastructure.

On Wednesday, members of a City Club panel discussed urban agriculture and sustainability in Cleveland (MP3, 74.5 MB). Will Allen of Growing Power had been scheduled to participate, but was unable to attend.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History sold its SmartHome to a couple from Maryland for $331,000. The passive house was relocated from the museum grounds to its permanent site on Wade Park Avenue in October.

The wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was delivered and erected this month. The 265-foot turbine will begin generating electricity in a few weeks. At Cleveland's Progressive Field, workers installed a corkscrew-shaped turbine designed by a Cleveland State University professor.

Update: the turbine at the fairgrounds was officially dedicated, and WKSU reported on local wind energy initiatives.

An article in this week's issue of Scene examined the goals and history of the local food movement in Greater Cleveland and questioned the City of Cleveland's ability to influence the necessary systems.

Leaders in Cleveland Heights are reviewing an update of the City's zoning code. The changes (PDF) are intended to encourage sustainable development practices. The Cleveland Heights Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the changes on March 14 and April 11, and City Council on March 26 and April 16.

In response to comments from the U.S. EPA, the City of Cleveland announced changes to its plans for a waste-to-energy facility at its planned Recycling & Energy Generation Center. The changes are intended to reduce its levels of toxic air emissions. Cleveland Magazine's Erick Trickey collected related press releases and statements, and participants on the latest Civic Commons radio show revisited the topic.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Cleveland is wise to scale back its trash-to-gas plan."

Inside Business described how Tremco used green building techniques in a renovation of its headquarters building on Green Road in Beachwood. The company is seeking LEED Gold certification for the project.

Update: Fresh Water has more details.

In addition to objections from residents and environmentalists, some members of Cleveland City Council oppose the proposed Cleveland Recycling & Energy Generation Center and its waste-to-energy facility. Councilman Brian Cummins concluded that "the city needs to go back to the drawing board." Dan Moulthrop considered the issues in the context of sustainability.

The Ohio EPA recently held a public hearing about the City of Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy facility for the Ridge Road Transfer Station. The City is promoting the plans as a way to generate electricity, create jobs, and reduce the City's carbon footprint, but many residents and environmentalists oppose its construction. To allow for more dialogue, the Ohio EPA extended its public comment period and the City will hold a community meeting on January 19. Councilman Brian Cummins posted a list of resources, while Marc Lefkowitz suggested some alternative ideas.

Update: about 100 people attended the community meeting, and the City of Cleveland scheduled three additional meetings. The Ohio EPA will accept public comments (PDF) through February 23.

Frank Jackson promoted Jenita McGowan (PDF), naming her the City of Cleveland's new chief of sustainability. She succeeds Andrew Watterson, who stepped down last year.

Update: Fresh Water interviewed Jenita McGowan.

Using Growing Power's aquaponics model, Rid-All Green Partnership is growing produce, raising fish, and creating compost in Kinsman's Forgotten Triangle. The farm in the Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone is one of Growing Power's 15 regional urban farming training centers. Rid-All's mission is to "transform communities by providing them with accessible nutritionally rich food items to improve their over all health."

The City of Cleveland is making improvements in and around the Michael J. Zone Recreation Center at West 65th Street and Lorain Avenue. Work began in June and is scheduled for completion in July 2012. When it is finished, the 22-acre park will provide opportunities for active recreation in an ecologically friendly environment.

Bruce Katz and Strobe Talbott of the Brookings Institution spoke about energy policy at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on Friday. They said that Northeast Ohio's advanced energy sector is a national model.

The SmartHome Cleveland passive house was moved from the grounds of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to its permanent site on Wade Park Avenue. The museum is seeking certification from the Passive House Institute U.S. The house is for sale, with an asking price of $329,000.

Update: the museum posted videos of the move.

Andrew Watterson is stepping down from his role as the City of Cleveland's chief of sustainability to take a position at the sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting firm BrownFlynn. He pledged to continue his involvement in the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 process. Marc Lefkowitz considered his tenure and possible successor.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Green City Growers greenhouse in Cleveland will take place on October 17. The facility in Central will be the third business in the Evergreen Cooperatives network.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

Next month, ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art will merge to create LAND Studio. Its "mission will be to create places and connect people through public art, sustainable building and design, collaborative planning, and dynamic programming." The new organization will combine ParkWorks' staff of 12 with the four at Cleveland Public Art and have an annual $1.3 million budget. An introductory video explains the merger.

The third annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit took place (PDF) last week. The first day focused on energy efficiency and the second on local food. Participants will explore local food systems over the next year. Prior to the event, organizers discussed the topics on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

On Monday, Cleveland City Council approved complete and green streets legislation. Starting in January, 20% of road construction spending will go toward sustainable transportation options, up to $1 million. GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz addressed misconceptions about the policy and Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt supplied the decision's historical context.

A bill introduced by State Senator Kris Jordan would eliminate Ohio's renewable portfolio standard. It would strike a provision of a 2008 law that requires utilities to generate 25% of their power from renewable and advanced technology sources by 2025. Environmental groups oppose the legislation.

Update: local officials said that the bill imperils the planned Lake Erie wind farm, and Joe Koncelik said that it would be bad for Ohio. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that Senator Jordan "is thinking small about Ohio's future."

Three types of fish habitats are being tested in the lower Cuyahoga River through the green bulkheads project. In addition to the plant pockets (CHUBs), Floating Islands and Beemats are in place.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "it shows the kind of stewardship and initiative that have turned what was once a burning river into an environmental movement."

A new report from the Planning and Community Health Research Center offers an overview of food policy councils and how planners can participate in them, based on the experiences of efforts in four cities, including the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

The News Herald reported on sustainability programs in three east-side Cuyahoga County suburbs: the stormwater management project at Mayfield Heights City Hall, the Mayfield Village Greenway Corridor, and the City of South Euclid's Green Neighborhoods Initiative.

At GreenCityBlueLake, Marc Lefkowitz wrote about the green zoning initiative in Cleveland Heights and about sustainability efforts at RTA.

Frank Jackson advocated for the construction of the Lake Erie wind farm in a Plain Dealer op-ed, saying it represents "a vision of our regional economy as a national leader in renewable energy and a major economic growth sector."

Update: Marc Lefkowitz explored the current situation.

Two Cleveland City Council committees approved the proposed complete and green streets legislation. It includes a $1 million spending cap. City Council may consider the legislation at its September meeting.

Update: the Plain Dealer explained the delay.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "Council should pass the measure as soon as possible."

Sustainable City Network described the City of Cleveland's cross-disciplinary sustainability initiative.

Cool Cleveland interviewed David Beach of GreenCityBlueLake about the SmartHome Cleveland exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

In its US and Canada Green City Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit used nine environmental indicators to rank 27 American and Canadian cities (PDF). Cleveland was ranked 25th (PDF) overall, and received the lowest scores of any city in the buildings, CO2, and land use categories. Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council evaluated the evaluation.

NPR's All Things Considered reported on the plans to erect wind turbines in Lake Erie. The project north of Cleveland could be the first offshore wind farm in the nation. Developers now hope to have it in place by 2013.

Lincoln Electric erected a 2.5-megawatt wind turbine at its Euclid headquarters. Engineers are continuing to prepare the turbine, which is expected to be operating full-time in three or four weeks. Bill Callahan wonders how the company's neighbors will feel about the turbine.

On June 23, Olympic Steel plans to unveil a smaller wind turbine at its headquarters in Bedford Heights.

The SmartHome, the first passive house in Northeast Ohio, opened to the public on Monday. It will be on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History until September, when it will be moved to a permanent lot on Wade Park Avenue. The 2,500-square-foot house is designed to have a monthly heating or cooling cost of $20. Participants on Thursday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the house, and it will be the subject of a June 15 panel discussion at the City Club.

Update: audio (MP3, 53.7 MB) and video of the City Club event are now available.

Update 2: McClatchy Newspapers also reported on the SmartHome.

The Plain Dealer provided updates on the experimental wind turbine initiative at Cleveland State University and the status of trail planning for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The U.S. EPA launched an initiative to promote green infrastructure and reduce stormwater runoff. The agency will partner with 10 cities, including Cleveland.

(via the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the USGBC)

The Plain Dealer published more information about the City of Cleveland's plans for a waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station and environmentalists' concerns about the concept.

Update: participants on Thursday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the proposal.

Update 2: a Plain Dealer editorial says that "the concept is intriguing."

Local environmental groups have questions about the City of Cleveland's proposed waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station. They are concerned about its air quality implications and its potential to discourage waste reduction practices. The groups will host a community discussion (PDF) on May 10 at the Cleveland Environmental Center, where Neil Seldman of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance will make a presentation.

Components of Lincoln Electric's new wind turbine were unloaded at the Port of Cleveland on Monday. The 2.5-megawatt turbine was built by Kenersys of Germany and will be erected at the Lincoln Electric headquarters in Euclid.

Baldwin-Wallace College and the City of Berea are considering plans to renovate the old Hanson House on East Bagley Road as the R. Amelia Harding House. The $2.1 million project would employ green building techniques to convert it to a sustainability learning center and residence hall.

A piece of legislation being prepared for Cleveland City Council consideration includes complete streets and green streets components. If adopted, it would allow the City to incorporate access considerations and environmental design features into its planning process.

Cleveland Public Power filed an application with the EPA for an air permit for the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Cleveland.

Participants on last Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed sustainable urban development, and on Thursday talked about the implications of the 2010 Census figures.

This week's edition of Fresh Water includes articles about plans to restore a portion of Doan Brook in Cleveland and about the growth of urban agriculture in Northeast Ohio.

An article in the magazine E looks at the Re-Imagining Cleveland initiative and efforts to reclaim open space in other cities.

Lincoln Electric is erecting a wind turbine at its campus in Euclid. The 2.5-megawatt turbine will be about 443 feet tall when completed, making it the largest in Northeast Ohio.

The new Re-imagining Cleveland Ideas to Action Resource Book (PDF) is now available. It's intended to "put ideas and helpful information into the hands of people who can and will change the city for the better" and to "introduce you to some local heroes who are leading the way". On Thursday, the Levin College Forum at Cleveland State will host a Re-Imagining Cleveland forum and gallery opening.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial supports the initiative.

Update 2: Marc Lefkowitz and Gloria Ferris wrote about the event.

The General Services Administration unveiled the design of the new facade for the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland. The new aluminum and glass skin, designed by architect Charles Young of Interactive Design Eight Architects in Chicago, is expected to reduce the building's annual energy costs by 17%. The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt said that the "project could be a bellwether for skylines across the country, especially for skyscrapers that fall somewhere below the level of landmarks worthy of preservation in pristine condition." Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune said that the "building stands to be transformed from a muscle-bound but middling work of mid-20th Century modernism into something delicate, diaphanous and endearing to the passerby."

Ohio Authority's Jonathan Sin-Jin Satayathum interviewed Michele Kilroy of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the United States Green Building Council about sustainable development initiatives in Greater Cleveland.

Update: participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program also discussed green building in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will build a passive house on its grounds as part of the Climate Change exhibit coming to the museum this summer. The energy-efficient SmartHome Cleveland will be built without a furnace, and will be moved to a permanent site on Wade Park Avenue in September.

The General Services Administration plans to replace the roof of the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland and to wrap the entire building with a new glass facade. Steven Litt described the work as "a fascinating case in which government is trying to balance two positive goals: historic preservation and energy conservation." The $121 million project is being funded by the federal stimulus program.

Entrepreneurs for Sustainability founder and president Holly Harlan announced that she will step down on February 15 in order to "have more time to explore new opportunities to create prosperity and improved quality of life for all." Mike Dungan will serve as interim executive director.

At a public meeting on Monday, consultants from Camiros, Ltd. presented their sustainability audit (PDF) of the Cleveland Heights zoning code. It recommends changes intended to "reinforce the community's commitment to sustainability."

Update: the Sun Press also summarized the meeting.

In his last official act as governor, Ted Strickland signed a lease option that grants LEEDCo the right to conduct tests and pursue a submerged lands lease within a two-square-mile area of Lake Erie for the planned wind farm pilot project.

The Plain Dealer's Joe Frolik reflected on the past year, and thinks that "in 10 years, we will look back on 2010 as the year that Cleveland turned the corner and began to regain its status as a vibrant American city." Steven Litt described the year's architecture highlights, while GreenCityBlueLake summarized the major sustainability stories, and the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition listed the top bicycling news.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded a $120,000 grant to Heidelberg University's National Center for Water Quality Research to monitor water quality of four Lake Erie tributaries, including the Cuyahoga River. Cleveland State University received a $34,983 grant to continue its support of the Ohio Balanced Growth Program's Best Local Land Use Practices guidance.

Materials from October's national Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference in Cleveland are now available online.

The Northeast Ohio Local Food Assessment and Plan was unveiled on Saturday at the Northeast Ohio Local Food Mini-Congress. It includes an analysis of the current state of the local food system and proposes that within 10 years, local production could supply 25% of Northeast Ohio's food needs. The document then offers more than 50 recommendations for meeting that goal. Michael Shuman, one of the plan's authors, will present its findings at the City Club on Tuesday.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake and Crain's Cleveland Business provided more information about the plan, and the City Club posted audio of Michael Shuman's talk (MP3, 52.2 MB).

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is installing three waste-to-energy incinerators at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights. They are expected to go online in 2013.

Update: a waste-to-energy forum will be held on December 1 in Akron. Registration is free.

Early this month, Cleveland City Council approved zoning code changes that include adding agriculture as a principal use on all vacant land zoned for residential use. The revised code (PDF) will become effective on November 3.

Following the national vacant properties conference held in Cleveland last week, the Detroit Free Press looked to Cleveland for innovative examples of urban revitalization, and MSN Real Estate described Cleveland as a city creatively working to reinvent itself. On Friday, the Center for Community Progress released Restoring Properties, Rebuilding Communities, a new report that encourages those interested in vacant properties to "build a truly effective agenda to turn vacant, abandoned, and problem properties into productive places in our communities, based not on one-off deal-oriented transactions, but on true systemic reform."

A Plain Dealer editorial encourages Cleveland City Council to approve changes to the City's urban agriculture ordinance, concluding that it has "the potential to turn Cleveland into a national model for how a city can remake itself as a better place to live, work -- and eat."

Architect Chuck Miller of Doty & Miller makes suggestions for ways that environmentalists and historic preservationists can successfully work together instead of talking past each other.

Members of a local group report that they have reached an agreement with the Cleveland Catholic Diocese to purchase the former St. George's Lithuanian Church in Cleveland "to create a local-food centric business development district centered around an 18,000 sq.ft. greenhouse." The effort is modeled on Will Allen's Growing Power project in Milwaukee.

The City of Cleveland Heights initiated its effort to craft sustainable development regulations, and consultant Camiros Ltd. introduced many of the concepts (PDF) at a recent public meeting. Interested residents can complete a survey (PDF).

Cleveland City Council passed an ordinance that authorizes the creation of an urban garden at Willard Park near City Hall. City Council also has started to discuss amending the City's urban agriculture ordinance. The changes would permit farm stands, allow farming on vacant residential properties, relax fencing requirements, and allow on-site composting.

More reactions to last week's Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit:

In his closing remarks at the second Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, Mayor Jackson told attendees that "the future is in our hands." About half of the 600 participants were new, and this year's event had more involvement from the local business community. Marc Lefkowitz filed a detailed report from the summit, while Thomas Mulready interviewed two participants, Kim Foreman of Environmental Health Watch and Nancy Meyer-Emerick of CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Nearly 600 people attended the first day of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit at Public Auditorium. Participants received the 2019 Action Plan and Resource Guide and heard about local sustainable business practices. Follow the #SC2019 hashtag on Twitter for feedback from attendees.

The second Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit will take place on September 22 and 23. Many of Cleveland's largest companies plan to participate in the summit, which like last year will be guided by David Cooperrider. Marc Lefkowitz summarized what each of its work groups have accomplished over the past year.

Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation selected a team of three companies to develop the pilot wind farm five to ten miles offshore of Cleveland. Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco, Cavallo Energy of Houston, and Great Lakes Wind Energy of Youngstown will build and own the five wind turbines in Lake Erie. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2012.

Members of the new Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition asked Cleveland Heights City Council to make the City more sustainable and bicycle-friendly, and to paint sharrows on five of the City's busier streets. They also presented a 500-signature petition.

This week's issue of Scene looks at the growth of the urban agriculture and local foods movements in Cleveland. The Northeast Ohio Local Food System Assessment is calculating the economic impacts of shifting to local food.

A panel discussion at the City Club (MP3, 53.6 MB) yesterday explored market gardens, urban farms, and economic development. Earlier this year, the City Club hosted a discussion about local food.

Organizers of the Evergreen Cooperatives are preparing to launch their third employee-owned business. The Green City Growers Cooperative will operate a 5½-acre hydroponic greenhouse in Cleveland's Central neighborhood.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial concludes that the "commitment to go from grit to green offers a healthier future not just for neighborhoods but for the local economy."

Cleveland hosted a national conference on freshwater wind power earlier this week. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. also held its first public meeting, and said that they hope to announce a developer for the Cleveland pilot project within four weeks.

The Plain Dealer published more information about the new Ohio City Farm in Cleveland and how it fits into the larger neighborhood market district plan. Channel 5 spoke with some of the recent immigrants working there.

The Great Lakes Urban Exchange recently held its third annual conference in Cleveland. More than 80 young leaders from across the region attended to compare notes, network, discuss new ideas, and explore Cleveland. This year's conference focused on rethinking what cities can be. Conference participants shared their reactions, summarized sessions, described site visits, and posted photographs.

Update: Cool Cleveland's Sarah Valek also posted a review.

Update 2: Lorri Meyers of Channelise added her experiences.

As urban agriculture grows in popularity, leaders in Cleveland and other Midwestern cities are considering its role in urban revitalization. An Ohio State University researcher is studying insect populations at community gardens to help inform future land use decisions. Lead contamination can also be an issue in urban soils, but several low-cost techniques can reduce its danger.

The City of Cleveland Heights hired Camiros, Ltd. of Chicago to conduct a sustainability audit of the City's zoning code. The planning firm will review the code and recommend ways to remove obstacles to sustainable development.

Update: a Sun Press editorial says that other communities should consider similar approaches.

The conversation on today's Sound of Ideas program was about the plans for a Lake Erie wind farm and for encouraging the local wind turbine industry. The guests were Lorry Wagner of LEEDCo, Rebecca Bagley of NorTech, and George Sterzinger of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, who recently wrote an op-ed in which he described how the federal government could support the initiative.

The City of South Euclid is continuing its Green Neighborhoods Initiative with the purchase of three additional distressed houses. Using green building techniques, the City will renovate the bungalows on Warrendale, Colony, and Lambert roads.

Amish farmers and Burmese immigrants working with Refugee Response began plowing at the Ohio City Farm in Cleveland. Located behind CMHA's Riverview Towers, the nearly six-acre farm will be one of the largest contiguous urban farms in the nation.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake has additional information.

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative recently launched the Green Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability program. It "showcases the actions of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence cities in moving the entire region towards a sustainable future." Cleveland is not a member of the binational coalition of mayors and other local officials.

The Cleveland Clinic is expanding its community health outreach efforts by opening more farmers markets its health centers. The Clinic has had a market at its main campus since 2008, recently opened a second in Solon, and plans to open a third at Hillcrest Hospital.

Officials in Cleveland Heights are working on a new strategic plan for the City. It was last updated in 1993 (PDF). A draft should be available later this month. A group of Cleveland Heights residents launched Sustainable Heights, an outgrowth of the Cleveland sustainability summit.

More than 150 sites were selected to participate in a two-year pilot program for the Sustainable Sites Initiative. The interdisciplinary initiative is an effort to establish a national rating system for sustainable landscape design. The projects in Ohio are at the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland, the West Creek Reservation in Parma, and the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more details about the Botanical Garden's participation.

Update 2: the Parma Sun Post described the project at the West Creek Reservation.

Susan Condon Love of the Plain Dealer wrote about the City of South Euclid's Green Neighborhoods Initiative and the Wilmington Road bungalow undergoing renovations. The City will unveil the makeover at an open house on June 5 (PDF).

Downtown Cleveland businesses are working together to compost their food waste, and hope to establish a downtown compost pickup route.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a forward-looking initiative Clevelanders can celebrate."

The City of South Euclid is nearly finished renovating a Wilmington Road house through its Green Neighborhoods Initiative. The bungalow is for sale, with an asking price of $149,000.

The Berea Planning Commission approved plans for a 275-foot wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County fairgrounds. The City's Heritage Architectural Review Board also recently approved the plans. City Council approval is not needed in this instance.

Marc Lefkowitz describes the Re-Imagining Cleveland process as "a surgical first strike that aims to put vacant properties back into productive use."

The Cleveland Clinic's Solon Family Health Center is one of 14 buildings across the country competing in the U.S. EPA's National Building Competition. The participants will work to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, and the winner will be the one with the greatest reduction in wasted energy.

(via Crain's Cleveland Business)

On Tuesday, Jeff Heinen, Mary K. Holmes, and Doug Katz participated in a discussion about local food systems at the City Club (MP3, 53.0 MB).

The final report (PDF) of the American Institute of Architects' Sustainable Design Assessment Team for Parma makes a variety of recommendations that cover topics including land use, economic development, historic preservation, and transportation. The report is the result of work conducted in 2008. Related documents are available from the AIA.

After being rejected by the City of Middleburg Heights, Cuyahoga County officials have proposed moving their $2 million wind turbine project to the Berea side of the county fairgrounds.

Update: Berea's Heritage Architectural Review Board discussed the proposal.

Marc Lefkowitz described the latest happenings in the Re-Imagining Cleveland process and the growth of a new green movement in Cuyahoga County.

Activist and consultant Majora Carter spoke at a City Club in the City event on Tuesday. She told the audience at St. James AME Church about environmental justice and stories of her experiences in the South Bronx. Audio of her talk (MP3, 52.1 MB) is available.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation issued a request for proposals from developers interested in constructing an offshore pilot wind farm near downtown Cleveland. LEEDCo hopes to select a company in May and have the wind turbines operating by late 2012. Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland are backing federal and state legislation that would support research and create tax incentives for wind power.

A grant from the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association will fund the fourth year of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard program in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The program drew a record 21,500 cyclists in 2009.

By a vote of 5-1, Middleburg Heights City Council rejected a proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

Marc Lefkowitz considered the challenges that Greater Cleveland could face when applying for grants from the federal Sustainable Communities Initiative.

The Middleburg Heights Planning Commission approved plans to install a 285-foot tall wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. The Planning Commission had tabled the proposal in January.

In a companion piece to its story on vacant land in Cleveland, Next American City looked at the City's "chicken and bees" law. The City is considering expanding the rules to include more varieties of livestock. In Communities & Banking, the magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Matt Martin and Zachariah Starnik of the Stockyard Redevelopment Organization described residents' efforts to reclaim their neighborhood through urban gardening (PDF).

Some environmentalists worry that the proposed waste-to-energy plant in Cleveland will not be as environmentally friendly as its proponents claim.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson delivered his fifth State of the City address on Thursday. He announced that a Chinese LED manufacturer will locate its American headquarters in Cleveland, talked about the City's sustainability initiatives, and proposed the creation of a countywide education authority. A Plain Dealer editorial called it "the kind of big thinking this region needs." The speech is available as text (PDF) and as audio.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Sustainable Housing and Communities Listening Tour will stop in Cleveland (PDF) on March 10. The event will begin at 10:30 in the US Bank Centre Building at Playhouse Square.

The spring 2010 issue of Next American City includes an article by Marc Lefkowitz about vacant land reuse policies and practices in Cleveland. He explored the reasons behind the problems and the variety of innovative initiatives currently underway. Terry Schwarz also spoke about urban regeneration at the recent TEDxCLE event.

Vicky Poole and Jack Hamilton have begun operating Gardens Under Glass, a hydroponic garden in the Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. The project is funded by a $30,000 start-up grant from the Civic Innovation Lab. Meanwhile, panelists on NEOtropolis discussed food policy and access to fresh foods.

Update: Fast Company also reported on the Galleria.

Orange Village Council approved a set of sustainable building guidelines for new construction. The voluntary Orange Goes Green Certification Program provides standards tailored for Northeast Ohio's conditions.

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun has more details.

The City of Cleveland hired Princeton Environmental Group to design a 20-megawatt waste-to-energy power plant for the Ridge Road Transfer Station. The small company will relocate to Cleveland and begin work. The plant would be the first in the nation to employ the gasification technology.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial calls the project "a practical example of sustainability".

HiVelocity interviewed Andrew Watterson, the City of Cleveland's Chief of Sustainability.

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force will count migrating birds and bats around the area of the planned offshore wind farm pilot project north of downtown Cleveland. The group also wants to establish a partnership with a turbine manufacturer.

North Olmsted City Council is considering ordinances that would amend the City's zoning code to allow businesses and homeowners to install wind turbines and solar panels.

The cities of South Euclid and University Heights are collaborating on the Nine Mile Creek Green Street Project, an effort to improve water quality and reduce runoff by installing stormwater bioretention cells.

WKSU looked at biomimicry initiatives across Northeast Ohio. Jeff St. Clair spoke with Biomimicry Guild co-founder Janine Benyus, among others.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority laid off two more employees: Sustainability Manager Pam Davis and Human Resources Director Nancy Spelman.

The 2010 Baldwin-Wallace Sustainability Symposium will be held on March 1 and 2. The title of this year's symposium is "Carbon Footprints – How Can We Transform Our Tomorrow?" The event is free and open to the public.

The City of Bay Village will assemble a steering committee tasked with revisiting the City's 1999 master plan. An update could contain plans for sustainable development.

The Plain Dealer concluded its Year of the River series with a look at the Cuyahoga River valley as a living laboratory. Industrial design students at the Cleveland Institute of Art used biomimicry to develop proposals for creating fish habitats in the river's shipping channel.

The City of South Euclid's Green Neighborhoods Initiative is underway. The program's first house is on Wilmington Road, and its renovations should be finished by spring.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $15 million in fourth-quarter grants. One of the largest awards was a $1 million grant to Team NEO. The foundation substantially reduced its commitment to the Fund for Our Economic Future, awarding $300,000 for its third phase. The Fund had requested $10 million for the three-year phase. The Gund Foundation gave $4.9 million in grants, including awards to Entrepreneurs for Sustainability and ParkWorks. The two foundations distributed fewer dollars in 2009 than in 2008.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial expressed concern about the Cleveland Foundation's decision to give less to the Fund for Our Economic Future.

Five ordinances introduced in Parma City Council were developed by students in the sustainability program at Baldwin-Wallace College. The legislation would establish a mixed-use zoning classification, legalize rain barrel installation, permit green roofs, allow bicyclists to use the sidewalks in some areas, and enhance recycling in City buildings.

The City of Lakewood may establish a special improvement district for solar energy.

The Plain Dealer's Christopher Evans described three of the 58 projects that received grants through the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland program.

The City of Cleveland issued the final report (PDF) from its Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. GreenCityBlueLake has a summary.

The efforts of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force to build offshore wind turbines expanded beyond Cuyahoga County, as Lorain County joined the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo).

In addition to proposed service reductions, RTA is pursuing cost-savings measures that include several methods of reducing utility expenses and reducing service levels for the final week of 2009. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the state and federal governments need to provide more financial support.

On Monday, Governor Strickland announced that 25 Ohio energy projects will receive more than $13 million in federal stimulus grants. Seven of the wind and solar projects are in Cuyahoga County.

Update: Middleburg Heights leaders continue to discuss the proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

Officials in Lake County hope to conduct a balanced growth plan for the eastern part of the county.

The City of South Euclid intends to renovate five to seven houses through its $800,000 Green Neighborhoods Initiative, and will apply green building and universal design techniques. The City is also preparing to establish its first community garden at a previously vacant lot on Warrendale Road.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center may help to advance and focus the outcomes of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. A representative of the BCLC, which is conducting a sustainable communities competition, attended an Entrepreneurs for Sustainability event yesterday.

Update: GreenCityBlueLake has more information about the SC2019 Outcome Showcase.

Dru McKeown summarized Douglas Farr's recent lecture, and Rust Wire reported on Timothy Beatley's talk last week. Both spoke about sustainable urbanism.

The new wind turbine at Pearl Road Auto Parts in Cleveland began producing electricity on Friday. It was erected in September. Owner Jon Kaplan also started PearlWind, a turbine purchasing and installation company.

The discussion on The Sound of Ideas this morning was about sustainable development and lessons that Cleveland can learn from other cities.

The City of Cleveland awarded $449,405 in Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland grants to 58 neighborhood projects (PDF). The awards were classified as greening, urban agriculture, and phytoremediation projects.

An industrial design class at the Cleveland Institute of Art is using a biomimicry approach for devising improvements to fish habitats in the lower Cuyahoga River.

CWRU supplied more details about the upcoming lecture by Douglas Farr.

As the U.S. Conference of Mayors marked the 1,000th local leader to sign its Climate Protection Agreement, it published profiles of 16 mayors who are pursuing innovative strategies (PDF) to reduce pollution. Frank Jackson was one of those profiled.

(via Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

Upcoming events:

(via GreenCityBlueLake)

Douglas Farr will give the Richard N. Campen Lecture in Architecture at the Allen Memorial Medical Library on November 5. Titled "Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature", the talk is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

On Tuesday, Frank Jackson made three announcements about sustainability in Cleveland. He promoted Office of Sustainability Director Andrew Watterson to Chief of Sustainability, a new cabinet-level position. He unveiled the 25-member Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Council, which will be responsible for guiding the City's 10-year sustainability strategy. He also revealed the 63-member steering committee for the second sustainability summit, to be held next year.

GreenCityBlueLake posted a list of 28 initiatives (PDF) that were developed at the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit and compiled by the City of Cleveland.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more details.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, David Cooperrider of the Weatherhead School of Management wrote about sustainability in Cleveland and the recent summit. He believes that Northeast Ohio is poised to become a leading sustainable economy, and that the summit was the end of the quiet crisis.

Marc Lefkowitz looked at food deserts in Cleveland and their connection to chronic health issues. Author Michael Pollan also has been making connections between food policy changes and health-care reform.

A panel will award funding to 40–50 of the 103 projects submitted for Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland grants. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "lots in Cleveland are about to get amazing makeovers."

The Fund for Our Economic Future adopted the new Fund for Sustainability, an outgrowth of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. When it is more fully funded and gains guidelines, it will provide loans to sustainable businesses.

The Levin College Forum will continue its Building Our Future Beyond Foreclosure series with an event titled "Feeding Cleveland: Creating a Sustainable Local Food System" on September 16. It will feature Penn State professor Clare Hinrich, and registration is free.

Richard Stuebi compared the recent sustainability summit in Cleveland to a meeting of climate change skeptics in Springfield, Missouri. Meanwhile, participants from BrownFlynn reported on their involvement and followup activities, and a waste to profit group is gathering support.

Marc Lefkowitz continued his analysis of Living Cities' involvement in Cleveland and attempted to assess its impacts over the last eight months. He found that "it's impressive by Cleveland standards, but whether Living Cities can pull off broad transformative change in the way we understand community development to work is still far from clear."

Stakeholders from the recent Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit have been meeting in small groups, both in person and online, to refine the ideas generated at the event. They will compile the recommendations in a written report later this year.

A Cleveland Public Power delegation is visiting Japan and China to investigate solid waste to energy conversion facilities. It is part of their efforts to establish a waste-to-energy plant at the Ridge Road Transfer Station.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial is cautiously optimistic about the concept.

Participants in the recent Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit continue to share ideas and reactions about the event. Marianne Eppig, Wendy Feinn, Gregg LaBar, Marc Lefkowitz, and Mike McNutt provide more perspectives. The summit was also briefly discussed on The Sound of Ideas on Thursday. In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Mayor Jackson said that "now is the time to take action" to make Cleveland the first city to attain sustainability.

Cuyahoga County will begin soliciting bids for the construction of a wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. The City of Middleburg Heights approved its construction last year.

Even before last week's Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, local businesses were profiting by adopting sustainable business models. A Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland now must advance the summit's final goals.

On Thursday, the second day of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, the appreciative inquiry process continued as participants brainstormed and refined creative ideas for advancing a sustainable Cleveland. Ray Anderson of Interface was the morning's featured speaker. Attendees Carole Cohen, Chris Gammmell, and Marc Lefkowitz shared their experiences.

The summit concluded today with teams working to distill their concepts into tangible recommendations and to prepare written reports. The results will be compiled into a 10-year action plan. The City intents to maintain the summit's momentum by working with a post-summit committee. Joe Koncelik, Marc Lefkowitz, and Carin Rockind provided recaps of the day and entire event, while the Cleveland Public Library posted a Sustainable Cleveland Reading List.

Update: you can also read reactions by Marianne Eppig, Chris Gammell, Ed Morrison, and Robert Stockham.

At the first day of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, Van Jones of the White House Council on Environmental Quality offered his support and Frank Jackson outlined his vision for a sustainable economy. Participants also heard from other speakers and took part in an ongoing appreciative inquiry process developed by David Cooperrider. Lynette Young of Sustainable Atlanta was very impressed. Attendees Carole Cohen, Chris Gammell, Gregg LaBar, and Robert Stockham shared their thoughts, too.

Update: Marc Lefkowitz and Annabel Khouri also provided day one summaries.

Marc Lefkowitz began his exploration of Living Cities' involvement in Cleveland with a look at how it is supporting systematic change.

More than 600 people are expected to attend the three-day sustainability summit in Cleveland this week. GreenCityBlueLake posted the pre-summit briefing paper, and a Plain Dealer editorial described the opportunities the summit should create. Meanwhile, Brent Larkin stressed the urgency of building a water-based economy in Greater Cleveland.

Panelists Lindsay Baxter, Roger Chang, and Andrew Watterson discussed the state of sustainability in older industrial cities (MP3, 51.7 MB) at the City Club on Thursday. On Friday, author Storm Cunningham spoke about "what it takes to achieve rapid, resilient renewal" (MP3, 51.4 MB) in urban areas.

Plain Dealer columnist Margaret Bernstein shared more details about the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland grant program. Neighborhood Progress, Inc. scheduled an additional workshop for applicants, to be held at Trinity Commons on July 20. The application deadline remains July 31.

The City Club of Cleveland will host a panel discussion titled "Building Sustainability in our City" on July 16. The event is part of the Downtown Quarterly Series.

Neighborhood Progress, Inc. will hold six public workshops about the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative in June and July. The City of Cleveland set aside $500,000 of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds for the Re-Imagining Cleveland Grant Program, and applications are due by July 31 (PDF). Meanwhile, the Downtown Cleveland Special Improvement District, established in 2006, is up for renewal next year. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance is holding a series of forums and conducting a survey to gather feedback.

The Stanford Homes development in Old Brooklyn is being deconstructed. Construction of the six-house project on Stanford Avenue began in 2005, but was never completed.

WCPN reported on green infrastructure initiatives in Northeast Ohio and the way the relate to federal policies and positions.

In addition to gathering municipal support for their balanced growth initiative, the Chagrin River Watershed Partners are also seeking an endorsement from the Lake County Commissioners.

The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force released the final Great Lakes Wind Energy Center Feasibility Study (PDF, 14.2 MB) on Friday. The report prepared by juwi GmbH of Germany recommends building three to eight wind turbines in Lake Erie about three miles from shore. The demonstration wind farm would cost between $78 million and $93 million. NewEnergyNews describes the report as "a tour de force of the technical, environmental, regulatory and financial issues pertaining to offshore wind development."

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that the "mix of 'green' industrial innovation with a broad public-private research partnership should set Cleveland apart and make the city a go-to destination for wind-energy manufacturers and innovators." Bill Callahan is decidedly less enthusiastic.

Planning Commissioners Journal Editor Wayne Senville recently made three stops in Northeast Ohio as part of his trip across the country. He visited and wrote about how the public library in Hudson has become a community hub, the flexibility and diversity of Shaker Heights, and the strategies identified in the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative. Map of the Week also reposted several images from the Re-Imagining Cleveland guidelines.

Local bloggers provided recaps of several recent events:

North Royalton City Council may create an Earth and Environment Committee. It would be a place for members to discuss sustainable development topics.

Update: the committee may include residents in addition to council members.

Fast Company named Cleveland as one of its 12 Fast Cities of 2009, and called the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland program one of the nation's "loveliest urban initiatives." Seattle was the magazine's city of the year.

(via Cleveland Design City)

Cleveland City Council is reviewing legislation intended to address aesthetic and safety concerns of wind turbine installation. The rules are meant to regulate their construction in the City's neighborhoods, not the proposed offshore wind farm. Steven Litt believes that there is a need to institute design standards in order to take full advantage of anticipated investments in wind energy.

A ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the first of the Green Cottages in the Cleveland EcoVillage will be held on April 24.

Container manufacturer Nalgene conducted a survey of wastefulness in the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Cleveland finished as the 16th least wasteful city in the nation, ranking highly for library usage and saving leftover food, but scoring poorly in avoiding driving for short trips, use of energy-efficient light bulbs, rain barrel usage, and turning off the lights when not in the room. San Francisco was named as the country's least wasteful city.

North Royalton City Council has begun discussing whether to allow the construction of wind turbines. Hudson City Council decided to forbid wind turbines, but will review requests to install solar panels on a case-by-case basis.

Backers of the Canal Basin Park District Plan say that the greenspace and trail network would be a transformational green project. The City of Cleveland is seeking federal stimulus funds for its implementation. A complementary proposal, Flats Connections Plan, calls for converting old infrastructure into more trails and greenways in the Flats. GreenCityBlueLake has a virtual tour of the plans.

Lakewood City Council dropped a proposal that would have allowed residents to raise chickens, due to concerns about regulation, noise and odors, and the need to focus on other issues.

The Cuyahoga County Office of Sustainability launched a new website today. It features information about the County's climate change initiative.

The GreenCityBlueLake Institute unveiled its first State of Sustainability report at its Emerge event on Saturday. It includes "items from the many issue areas of sustainability, including arts and culture, building, economy, education, energy, food, health, land, transportation, and water." The Institute plans to annually update the report.

Scientists continue to collect data for the proposed demonstration Lake Erie wind farm. They recently positioned a sonar device that will gauge the thickness of ice on the lake and used a LIDAR unit to measure wind shear above the lake. The Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force announced the receipt of $672,000 from the Cleveland Foundation and that Steve Dever will take a leave of absence from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office to serve as the Task Force's executive director.

Terry Schwartz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative was one of the guests on this week's Smart City Radio show. She discussed the strategies for re-imagining shrinking cities that are being employed in Cleveland.

The City of Lakewood may join Cleveland in allowing residents to raise chickens in their yards. City Council discussed the proposal on Monday.

Update: the Lakewood Observer has more details.

Channel 3 followed up yesterday's story about creating a sustainable transportation system with a report about transportation choices that individuals can make. The station also examined proposals for commuter rail in Ohio.

GreenCityBlueLake Institute Director David Beach appeared on Channel 3 this morning to discuss the state of Greater Cleveland's transportation infrastructure and the need to develop a sustainable transportation system.

Yesterday, Cleveland City Council passed legislation covering urban farming and the allocation of the City's Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. The farming law, which passed by a vote of 18-3, will allow more residents to raise chickens, ducks, rabbits, and bees on their properties. City Council adopted Mayor Jackson's proposal for allocating the $25.5 million dollars from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program by a vote of 20-1.

Update: Cleveland City Council issued a press release about the allocation of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.

The Cleveland Carbon Fund was unveiled on Wednesday. Organizers are billing it as "the first community-based, open-access carbon reduction fund in the United States." It provides an way for Northeast Ohio residents and businesses to reduce their carbon footprints by investing in local carbon reduction projects.

The Chagrin River Watershed Partners is looking for municipal participation in a balanced growth initiative for the Chagrin River Watershed. Chardon City Council was briefed on the program on Monday.

Cuyahoga County leaders are seeking federal stimulus money for the proposed offshore wind turbine demonstration project in Lake Erie. A European wind turbine manufacturer is willing to pay for half of the project, so the County is requesting $28 million to erect the turbines and $17 million for a warehouse that would be used to assemble and ship turbines.

In addition to the other requests for anticipated federal infrastructure stimulus dollars, Environment Ohio compiled a list of 100 renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation projects in Ohio.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Mayor Jackson should include more green projects in his wish list and develop a "cohesive plan that pulls together a variety of initiatives to 'brand' Cleveland as a green city and help to establish it as the world center of freshwater wind-power development, engineering and manufacturing."

The Village at 115 residence hall complex at Case Western Reserve University was awarded a LEED Silver rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.

David Beach, Director of the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, shared his thoughts about sustainability in Greater Cleveland. He noted that the economic crisis provides an opportunity for the area to become a leader in sustainable development.

Deconstruction crews are learning how to dismantle old buildings more efficiently. Urban Lumberjacks of Cleveland crews were able to deconstruct two abandoned Glenville houses more quickly and inexpensively than in an earlier pilot project in Slavic Village.

WKSU's Karen Schaefer reports on how Entrepreneurs for Sustainability is encouraging innovative business practices across Northeast Ohio.

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the Cleveland's new vacant land redevelopment guidelines could be a national model for urban sustainability.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission adopted guidelines for "Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland" (PDF, 9.1 MB). The guidelines were developed over the past year by the City of Cleveland, Neighborhood Progress Inc., and Kent State's Urban Design Collaborative, with funding from the Surdna Foundation. They summarized "the goals, principles and strategies for returning vacant properties to productive use at the city-wide scale" and identified "policy changes that will enable the city to better make use of this growing resource."

Last week, the Cleveland Foundation awarded $18.8 million in grants and loans for the fourth quarter of 2008. The grants include $4 million to the Fund for Our Economic Future, $272,500 to Cuyahoga County for the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center, and $225,000 to ParkWorks.

This week's Scene includes a look at the increasing popularity of urban farming in Cleveland. Early next month, City Council may vote on legislation relaxing the rules for raising chickens and bees. At the state level, the Ohio Food Policy Council is promoting the advancement of local food systems.

This week, the American Wind Energy Association held its national Supply Chain Workshop in Cleveland, and Case Western Reserve University will hold a conference on offshore wind turbine development. The Plain Dealer published an overview of the plans for a Lake Erie wind farm three miles north of Cleveland, WKSU examined the wind turbine industry in Northeast Ohio, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looked at offshore turbine proposals from across the region.

Update: Governor Strickland addressed the workshop on Tuesday.

Eleven landfills in Ohio, including one in Solon, are participating in the U.S. EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, and more will be added soon. The program promotes the use of landfill gas as a renewable energy source.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District dropped its plans to build a recycling center at the General Chemical site in Garfield Heights and Cuyahoga Heights, because environmental remediation costs grew beyond initial expectations.

Entrepreneurs for Sustainability named the recipients of its annual Champions of Sustainability awards at yesterday's Creating Cleveland's New Story event. Participants liveblogged the proceedings from the Thwing Center at the new Creating Cleveland's New Story weblog.

A wastewater treatment plant in Akron turns sewage into electricity through a process where anaerobic bacteria convert biosolids into methane. The system is the first of its kind in the nation and has exceeded expectations for electricity production.

On Friday, the Cleveland City Planning Commission unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow more residents to raise livestock and bees near their homes. City Council committees are expected to begin discussing the proposal later this month, and community meetings will be held on November 25 and December 3.

Over 18,000 bicyclists used the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway's Bike Aboard! program this year, nearly three times as many as in 2007. The service will resume in April with the same $2.00 fare.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss a proposal that would allow more residents to raise livestock and bees on their properties. The Planning Commission will also review electronic billboard regulations at the meeting.

The Ethicurean summarized the the inaugural Northeast Ohio Food Congress, saying that it "offered a feast of possibilities, and there were plenty of ideas left over to take home and share."

Update: the Plain Dealer and GreenCityBlueLake also have reports on the event.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is continuing to develop plans for a renovation and expansion. Architect Curt Fentress recently shared his latest ideas and floor plans. The museum hopes to obtain a LEED Platinum rating and remain open during construction.

The City of North Royalton may join South Euclid and Euclid in promulgating rules for rain barrels.

The AIA Sustainable Design Team's visit to Parma last week culminated in a public meeting where they presented information about their process, the City's assets and challenges, and their suggestions (PDF, 13.2 MB). The team will prepare a final report for the City.

The first Northeast Ohio Food Congress will be held at Hiram College on November 7-8. It will feature "contemporary local perspectives, informative presentations, tasty local eats, and inspiring field trips." The registration deadline is November 5.

This week's episode of WVIZ's Applause visits three houses: the straw bale house on Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights, architect Robert Maschke's modernist home near the West Shoreway, and Tremont's Clarence Court townhouses designed by Dan Bickerstaff.

The Parma Sun Post reports on the public meetings held earlier this week with the AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team.

The conversion of the Langerdale Retention Basin in South Euclid has been completed. The concrete channelized drainageway along Nine Mile Creek was replaced with a man-made wetland. The 10 acre, $1.2 million restoration will reduce flooding and provide new habitats.

Marc Lefkowitz liveblogged last Friday's Bioneers Conference at CSU's Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Architects and planners from the AIA's Center for Communities by Design will return to Parma next week for a series of round-table visioning sessions about practical sustainability ideas. The public is invited to participate (PDF) in the focus groups and town hall meetings (MS Word). The Sustainable Design Assessment Team will present their recommendations at a meeting on October 22.

Euclid City Council passed rain barrel legislation earlier this month. The City of South Euclid has also enacted rules for rain barrels.

A proposed wind turbine at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds was unanimously approved by the Middleburg Heights Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission, and now awaits approval from City Council.

The first of three reports revealed "no major hurdles" in the feasibility of building a demonstration wind turbine project in Lake Erie. The entire study should be completed by next April. Meanwhile, Case Western Reserve University hired Dianne Anderson as the first executive director of the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.

The New York Times Magazine reports on the fledgling field of building deconstruction, focusing on the efforts of Brad Guy of the Building Materials Reuse Association and his work in Slavic Village.

Steven Litt is not impressed by the exterior architecture of the Cleveland Clinic's new Miller Family Pavilion and Glickman Tower, but is more pleased with their interiors and the work of landscape architect Peter Walker. He also writes about the work of Justin Glanville at Building Cleveland by Design.

The Plain Dealer took a look at how communities across Greater Cleveland are adopting sustainable processes.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority hired Pam Davis to fill its new environmental/sustainability manager position.

Cleveland City Council will soon consider legislation that would permit more residents to raise chickens in their yards.

The second Great Lakes Bioneers - Cleveland conference will be held at the CSU Levin College of Urban Affairs on October 17-19. It will be one of 18 locations participating in the Beaming Bioneers program. On October 20-21, Baldwin-Wallace College will host a Sustainability Symposium that will feature Stuart Hart as its keynote speaker.

The new offices of Douglass & Associates on Grayton Road in Cleveland were designed to attain LEED gold certification.

The First Suburbs Development Council and the Cuyahoga County Commissioners gave the City of Shaker Heights a $300,000 grant. It will be "used to facilitate the first step in a multi-phase project that will bring housing to the Moreland neighborhood that encapsulates both best in design and new green building techniques."

The Plain Dealer's Michael Scott interviewed David Beach of the GreenCityBlueLake Institute at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

In anticipation of their construction, the City of Lakewood enacted new zoning rules regulating wind turbines. The Cuyahoga County Fair Board is also exploring the possibility of erecting a turbine on the Middleburg Heights portion of the fairgrounds.

Crain's Cleveland Business reports on the green bulkheads project and the installation (PDF) of CHUBs in the Cuyahoga River navigation channel. The coverage includes a story and a video report.

The green bulkheads project will proceed this week with the installation of up to 400 plant pockets in the Cuyahoga River navigation channel.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District may replace the incinerators at the Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cuyahoga Heights. Burning biosolids in the new incinerators would generate enough electricity to make the incineration a carbon neutral operation. A blue ribbon panel will present an official report later this month.

A two day Sustainable Stormwater Management Workshop will take place at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on September 4 and 5. It will be led by Joachim T. Tourbier of the Dresden University of Technology. Enrollment (PDF) in the workshop is limited to 18 participants.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District may build a recycling center on the 55 acre former General Chemical site in Garfield Heights and Cuyahoga Heights. A portion of the brownfield site would become a park which would include the planned Mill Creek trail.

Consultants for Cleveland Public Power are conducting a feasibility study on the potential for establishing a waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station.

The National Park Service is working to reduce automobile traffic in its parks. In the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard service has tripled in popularity this summer. It offers cyclists the opportunity to bike the Towpath Trail in one direction and ride the train in the other for a $2 fare.

There are currently three community gardens in Cleveland Heights, and increased community interest could lead to more.

Update: a Cleveland Heights resident wants to convert some unused city-owned properties into community gardens.

North Royalton City Council is resuming its exploration of Low Impact Design stormwater management techniques. Council President Vincent Gentile plans to form a Low Impact Design subcommittee that will make a recommendation to Council late next year.

Renewable Energy World summarizes wind power initiatives in Greater Cleveland, including the Great Lakes Science Center's wind turbine and the potential for an offshore wind farm.

Participants in a May planning charrette generated ideas for revitalizing vacant land in Cleveland.

A Slavic Village house is being deconstructed through a pilot project funded by the Cleveland Foundation and managed by Neighborhood Progress Inc. Cleveland's Citywide Plan calls for increased support of deconstruction.

Members of an AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team visited Parma last week to learn more about the City. Earlier this year, Parma was selected as one of ten cities to receive technical assistance. The team will return in October to share their recommendations.

Channel 3 aired stories about the increasing popularity of community gardening in Cleveland (video) and about the Farmland Center's FarmLink (video) program.

The City of Cleveland announced $4.6 million in Housing Trust Fund allocations for ten residential developments. All employ green building techniques. The projects are evenly divided between renovations and new construction.

Update: Crib Notes provides more details.

Brad Masi of the New Agrarian Center describes how community gardening can be used to combat food deserts, using a new community garden at Huron Hospital in East Cleveland as an example.

Job Opportunities for the Green Economy (PDF), a new study (PDF) from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, reports on the potential employment benefits from building a green economy in 12 states. It concludes that in Ohio, "there are more than 551,000 jobs (PDF) in a representative group of job areas that could see job growth or wage increases by putting global warming solutions to work."

Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of urban gardening in Cleveland and the innovative programs offered through the Ohio State University Extension. Community gardening is also gaining popularity in Lakewood, and this week's Cool Cleveland looked at some techniques for turning waste streams into sustainable local agriculture.

A forum titled "Surf's Up: Can Northeast Ohio Catch the Sustainability Wave?" will be held at CSU on May 29. At the event, panelists will discuss Northeast Ohio's "potential to become a center for sustainable business, technology and industry."

Update: audio of the discussion (MP3, 183.6 MB) is now online.

Grist highlighted sustainability efforts in Cleveland today as part of its week-long Smart(ish) Cities series, noting that "Cleveland is one of a handful of cities in the Rust Belt -- including Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Columbus -- that are reinventing the region as a sort of Green Belt."

WKSU looked at several green building projects in Greater Cleveland, including the Oatey warehouse in Cleveland, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Wooster, and the planned expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Today's Akron Beacon Journal looks at the growth of Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, which now has about 5,600 members. The next E4S events are a Biomimicry Collaborative Meeting and Practice Session on May 7, Waste is a Business Opportunity on May 14, and Exploring the Green Jobs Market on May 20.

The owner of Pearl Road Auto Parts in Cleveland wants to build a 168 foot tall wind turbine on the property near I-480. The zoning for that area limits structures to 115 feet, so a variance is required before construction can begin.

The Cleveland Clinic will partner with the North Union Farmers Market, the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and the OSU Extension to establish a new farmers market and two new farms on Clinic-owned land in Cleveland.

GreenCityBlueLake examined the green renovation of the historic Baker Electric Building on Euclid Avenue in Midtown.

Yesterday, Case Western Reserve University, the City of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Clinic pledged to support and advance the principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

The City of Parma was one of ten cities selected by the American Institute of Architects to receive technical assistance under the Sustainable Design Assessment Team program in 2008. The City intends to develop a sustainability plan.

(via Blog on the City)

An ordinance passed by South Euclid City Council will allow residents to legally install rain barrels. It's believed to be the first rain barrel legislation in the area.

The project managers of Cleveland's LEED-ND program have proposed creating a green overlay district for the City's three pilot projects.

The discussion on Wednesday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN focused on sustainable business and green collar jobs.

A new house in the Ludlow neighborhood of Shaker Heights may become the first in the state and the 25th residential development in the nation to obtain LEED Gold status. The 1,754 square foot, three bedroom home is named the Dandelion House.

This week's Free Times looks at the rise of the local food movement in Greater Cleveland, using the City Fresh program and the new LEAF initiative in Lakewood as examples.

The Gund Foundation's latest round of awards includes a $40,000 grant to the City Fresh program, a $90,000 grant to the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy for its farmland preservation efforts, and a $100,000 grant to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to evaluate the economic impact of the pilot Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

The Maltz Family Foundation gave $2 million to endow a chair at the new Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation at Case Western Reserve University. It will aid its "efforts to recruit a prominent, internationally-recognized leader from key energy-related disciplines to the institute". The gift is in addition to a $3.6 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation in December.

Many cities are encountering obstacles in meeting their carbon dioxide reduction goals, despite enthusiasm among citizens and city officials in places such as Cleveland. Even the best-laid plans to reduce emissions have been constrained by budgets, conflicting political ideologies, legal restrictions by states, and people's unwillingness to change.

Nearly 500 people attended the second annual "10,000 Little (micro) Ideas to Keep You Believing in Cleveland." Like last year's event, the participants shared ideas about how to make Cleveland a better city. The suggestions ranged from encouraging wind and other alternative energy to increasing inclusiveness and understanding across demographic boundaries, such as race, economics and age.

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Sarah Taylor relates how plans to develop an offshore wind farm in Lake Erie near Cleveland have prompted Canadian officials to renew their interest in building a Great Lakes wind farm.

Ohio Green Communities, a collaborative dedicated to funding to affordable green housing, named three Cleveland developments as 2007 Ohio Green Communities Projects. They are Cogswell House, Village Green Elderly, and Tremont Pointe II.

Yesterday, Green Energy Ohio released A Wind Resource Assessment for Near-Shore Lake Erie (PDF, 9.8 MB), the results of a two year study of the winds over Lake Erie. In 2005, a wind monitoring system was installed at Cleveland's water intake crib, 3½ miles off the shore of downtown Cleveland. The analysis found an average wind speed of 16.4 mph, the strongest ever measured in Ohio. Cuyahoga County Economic Development Director Paul Oyaski says the report "lays the foundation" for the upcoming 13-month wind turbine feasibility study.

Cleveland Public Power may hire consultants to study the feasibility of building a waste-to-energy facility at the Ridge Road Transfer Station in Cleveland. They may seek grants to help pay for the study, which could cost as much as $250,000.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners approved a contract yesterday with a subsidiary of Juwi International to study the feasibility of offshore Lake Erie wind turbines. It will include research on a possible Cleveland-based wind turbine certification body.

CSU's Levin College Forum continues its examination of creating and sustaining communities of choice with a forum titled "Greening Northeast Ohio's Neighborhoods" on February 6. The event will include a talk by Tom Hicks, Vice President, LEED, of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden and the City of Cleveland are testing several varieties of low-growth grass mixes that require less frequent mowing. The Botanical Garden will also hold its third annual Sustainability Symposium on February 2.

The Cleveland Foundation awarded $21.2 million in grants, including $3.6 million to Case Western Reserve University for the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation, $4 million to the Fund for Our Economic Future, $525,000 to ShoreBank Enterprise Group Cleveland, and $750,000 to the Great Lakes Theater Festival for the Hanna Theatre renovations.

The Northeast Ohio network of the United Nations Global Compact held an introductory meeting last week at Case Western Reserve University to bring together "the leaders of the NEO region with other corporate leaders from N. America in order to solidify sustainability as the region's core strategy."

IBC Solar AG, Germany's oldest solar power company, will establish its U.S. headquarters in Cleveland. The company also hopes to manufacture solar equipment in Cleveland if Ohio adopts a renewable portfolio standard.

Earlier today, Mayor Jackson proposed new standards for housing construction and renovation. In order to obtain financial assistance from the City, builders and contractors would have to meet national green building standards. Some builders worry that it would raise their costs. If Cleveland City Council adopts the proposal, the new rules would start in 2009.

(Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says the proposal "isn't a bad idea. But it has to be done carefully.")

A series of events will be held this month about modernist architecture, its reuse and preservation, and the Breuer Tower.

The Urban Landscape Ecology Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center is hosting an Ecological Landscaping Conference this week at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland.

The City of Seven Hills has begun experimenting with permeable paving in an effort to reduce runoff and flooding.

The Cleveland Section of the Ohio Planning Conference continues its sponsorship of American Planning Association web conferences with a program on LEED for neighborhoods on October 3 at NOACA. It is free for OPC members and guests. Information about additional web conferences can be found on the OPC events calendar.

Cleveland will host a satellite Bioneers conference at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University on October 19-21. The event, which focuses on sustainability, will feature satellite feeds of speakers and several tours of local environmental highlights.

Growing Cooler, a new report published by the Urban Land Institute, concludes that "urban development is both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in combating it."

This morning's Sound of Ideas on WCPN was devoted to a discussion of sustainable living and ways that people can reduce their carbon footprints.

The Chagrin River Watershed Partners received a $15,000 grant from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission to conduct a bioswale demonstration project in Orange.

Four new developments in the Greater Cleveland area will become pilot projects for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Neighborhood Development program to build sustainable neighborhoods. These projects are:

(Via Tech Futures)

A Plain Dealer editorial says that high-performance building and advanced energy projects underway in Greater Cleveland "mix alternative energy with economic development—two things Cuyahoga County desperately needs."

In work funded by Neighborhood Progress Inc.'s Strategic Investment Initiative, a 100-year-old home near Battery Park in Cleveland was renovated using green building techniques.

Mayor Sutherland of Bay Village assembled a volunteer Green Team to promote conservation and sustainability. The group will hold its first meeting in September.

The Cuyahoga County Commissioners yesterday selected a team led by Juwi International of Germany to conduct a feasibility study for the Lake Erie Wind Energy Center, the proposed 20 megawatt offshore wind turbine demonstration project. The Commissioners also approved an agreement that authorizes CWRU to operate the research center.

City Fresh and other local urban gardeners have adopted asphalt gardening techniques. In addition to providing greenspace and affordable local food, asphalt gardening can reduce the urban heat island effect and can help reduce storm runoff.

Plain Dealer columnist Joe Frolik wrote about the mixed-income redevelopment of CMHA's Valleyview Homes in Tremont, and called it "a pioneering effort to bring 'green' construction principles to affordable housing". The first tenants will begin moving in next month.

Case Western Reserve University offered to lead research on the proposed Lake Erie Wind Energy Center and to pay $200,000 towards the $800,000 feasibility study. The Lake Erie Wind Energy Task Force has identified three teams as finalists to conduct the study.

Construction of the green cottages in the Cleveland EcoVillage will begin in August. The houses were designed by architects in the Cleveland Green Building Coalition's Emerging Green Designers Symposium and funded by the city and the state.

EcoCity Cleveland will merge with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and together will create the new Center for Regional Sustainability. The merger will begin next month, and should be completed in a year.

(Update: David Beach calls the merger "a fantastic opportunity to align the resources of two strong and respected organizations.")

In anticipation of the National Solar Energy Conference that will be held in Cleveland next month, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will install a small wind turbine at its Westerly Wastewater Treatment Plant near Edgewater Park.

Mittal Steel donated $30,000 and close to an acre of land along the west bank of the Cuyahoga River for the development of green bulkheads. The land will also be used for the extension of the Towpath Trail through Cleveland.

The State Role in Guiding Land Use Change in the Ohio Lake Erie Basin, a new report, identified "which land planning and management policies and mechanisms have been used to effectively shape land development processes to achieve a more sustainable or balanced outcome, and what policy and program changes and incentives would likely prove most effective in changing land development and conservation patterns".

At his talk on Tuesday, architect William McDonough suggested that Cleveland should make itself a capital of renewable energy. "The only massive job-creation possibilities I see that have a completely game-changing quality to them would be in the world of renewables."

The Cleveland Green Building Coalition received $450,000 from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and $150,000 from the Cleveland Housing Trust Fund to build five houses designed by architects in their Emerging Green Designers program. The two and three-bedroom houses will be built in the Cleveland EcoVillage, and will be priced from $105,000 to $135,000.

In addition to adding a green building component, the Gund Foundation will require nonprofits to submit a climate change statement as part of grant applications. It will not be initially used to determine awardees.

On June 18, Doris Koo of Enterprise Community Partners will speak at Cleveland State University about "Creating and Sustaining Communities of Choice".

The Cleveland Clinic system is embracing green building and other sustainability programs.

The Fund for Our Economic Future awarded grants to local initiatives and economic development organizations, including $90,000 to the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association for a study of regional tax sharing and other collaborations, $200,000 to NorTech for work with the Cuyahoga County Energy Task Force on the Lake Erie wind turbine feasibility study, and $335,000 to the Northeast Ohio Sourcing Office. In addition, the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization received a $49,954 grant from the Ohio EPA to conduct a public awareness campaign about watersheds.

On Monday, South Euclid City Council passed a resolution encouraging "green building and sustainability efforts" in the City. The City also adopted an anti-idling policy.

GreenCityBlueLake explores the potential for the City of Cleveland to tie residential tax abatements to green building practices, and asks, "Should council vote to renew tax abatements as is, or should it consider leveraging its position to get a green building policy as well?"

Architect and sustainable development expert William McDonough will speak at the Cleveland Clinic on May 29 at 5:00 p.m. as part of the Ideas for Tomorrow series. The talk is free, but registration is required.

(via Rockitecture)

A new national study from the National Research Council says that while wind power is gaining in popularity, it is lacking guidelines and policies from all levels of government.

The latest models from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicate that Ohio's winds can support commercial turbines that could meet a large portion of the state's electricity needs. Research on Great Lakes wind potential is due out in about six months. Environment Ohio has more details.

Middleburg Heights City Council adopted a green building policy that includes a strategy for encouraging developers to incorporate high performance building techniques.

The Cleveland and Gund Foundations jointly announced that they will only award capital grants to building and renovation projects that employ green building techniques.

The latest round of grants from the Cleveland Foundation includes $4.2 million for Neighborhood Progress Incorporated, $450,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and $200,000 to help fund a feasibility study for Lake Erie wind turbines. Also, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission awarded $9,974 to the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization to inventory land use regulations of communities in the Cuyahoga River watershed.

CSU's The Cauldron examined local reactions to the Earth Day Network's 2007 Urban Environment Report, which ranked Cleveland 70th in its list of 72 cities. Cleveland Sustainability Progam Manager Andrew Watterson feels that the methodology was flawed, and that the City is working to address many of the issues raised in the report.

Today's Plain Dealer includes a profile of Holly Harlan and her sustainable business efforts with Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, and this week's Cool Cleveland features an interview with her. "This year we're encouraging people to set BHAGs (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals). We want people to grasp the idea that energy efficiency is going to save them money and make them a more competitive business. In setting a BHAG, they'll be able to inspire more innovative ways to save more energy."

The Young Professionals weblog recaps the "10,000 Little (micro) Ideas to Keep You Believing In Cleveland" event held by the Cleveland Professionals 20/30 Club (PDF) last week. Follow-up discussions will be held throughout 2007.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners created an Office of Sustainability "to review the environmental impact of current operations and coordinate 'green' development across the entire region." Joyce Burke-Jones will serve as the County's sustainability officer.

Cleveland State University intends to install its new type of wind turbine, dubbed the SmartEnergy Spire, on top of an academic building. It will be at least a year before it is built.

(Update: WCPN posted a clarification of their original story.)

Private, public and non-profit groups are increasingly focusing on alternative or advanced energy. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ohio Department of Development hope to increase the production and consumption of alternative fuels including ethanol, biodiesel, and the harvesting of methane from decaying organic matter. The Strickland administration plans to advance clean-coal technology, and biofuel, biomass, wind, and solar power generation. At the local level, wind power has been at the forefront of several organizational initiatives, including the Cuyahoga County Regional Energy Task Force's efforts to build a wind research center and the Cleveland Foundation's efforts to make the region the hub for freshwater wind power.

Building a New Energy Future (PDF, 11.4 MB), the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force's report recommending Lake Erie wind turbines, is now available online. In addition, Governor Strickland announced that $5 million in grants will be available for wind power projects.

As expected, the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force officially proposed the Lake Erie Wind Energy Center, which would feature a demonstration project of up to ten wind turbines in Lake Erie as well as a research center. The Cuyahoga County Commissioners and the Cleveland Foundation pledged to help fund a study that will examine the project's feasibility and lay out a strategy for moving forward. The Task Force hopes to complete a global search for a project manager within six months.

An Ohio Department of Natural Resources biologist raised objections to the proposed Lake Erie wind turbines, citing concerns about their impacts on migratory birds. The Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force is reviewing research on the environmental effects of the turbines.

(Update: WKSU has more details.)

Next month, the Cuyahoga Regional Energy Development Task Force will recommend the construction of a Lake Erie wind turbine demonstration project. It would consist of four to ten turbines located at least three miles offshore. In an Akron Beacon Journal op-ed, Amy Gomberg of Environment Ohio urges Ohio leaders to pursue wind power initiatives.

(Update: Channel 3 posted a video interview with Task Force Chair Bill Mason.)

Donovan Rypkema, the speaker at the Cleveland Restoration Society's Annual Community Luncheon, said that reusing structures is the best way to save energy and called historic preservation "the ultimate in recycling."

(Update: a transcript of the speech (PDF) is available online.)

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