Marc Lefkowitz | 08/17/11 @ 4:53pm
· Cleveland's Complete and Green Streets legislation got a big push yesterday when the joint transportation and health committee of city council approved it, after an interesting 3.5 hour hearing. Despite anticipation that it would get approved at today's council of the whole, it still has to go through a few more hoops. Although that committee hearing was crucial, other council committees still need to sign off on the legislation. Assurances came today from officials in the Jackson Administration and City Council President Sweeney that the council as a whole will vote (and presumably, pass) the landmark ordinance in September.
· Cleveland is something of a hot bed of 'pop-up' parties-credit to the Urban Design Center for its Pop Up City book and early events like the Bridge Mix, an art installation that dressed up a remote pedestrian bridge in Tremont (inspiring others like Brite Winter, Porch Fest, and a slew of pop up shops in vacant storefronts). If you're keeping score at home, UDC pop up highlights include Christmas tree bonfires in the Flats, miniature ponies chompin' hay on Euclid Avenue, and a roller rink in a big warehouse in the heart of the city. Remember, these temporary use events bring to light spaces that were abandoned ? in fast growth cities, developers snatch them up; in Cleveland, young urbanites find them and plan pop ups, which feel like little love notes.
Anyways, all that to say that UDC designer David Jurca informed me before the Complete Streets hearing that they're planning a pop up event on Oct. 8-called "The Hip Deck", they will take over the top level of a parking garage at 700 Euclid Avenue (once the spot of the Hippodrome Theater). They are looking to book a Glee-style band that covers hardcore acts like Fugazi and other surprises are in store, plus it's the book release for "Cleveland Stories." The choice of location is akin to the street-level parking space guerilla gardens found in the annual Park(ing) Day event. Open roofs are the least desirable for parking, Jurca said, but are great as venues and maybe something more.
· Tonight's 'Green' Wade Oval Wednesday will strive to be a 'Zero Waste' event, University Circle, Inc. planner Chris Bongorno told me before the Complete Streets hearing. The Sewer District gave UCI a grant to cover the costs of compostable plates, cups, etc. and the hauling from local composting outfit Rosby, which is donating 30 bins. The solar-powered car from University of Michigan just pulled up (pictured); five rain barrels will be raffled off (no ticket fee), and the enviro-themed 'Wal-E' will be screened. It's a chance to see the Cool Globes and the SmartHome, too.
· Speaking of the SmartHome, David Beach, director of GreenCityBlueLake Institute (the sustainability center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History) talked at last night's E4S event about the effort that went building a house that uses 10% of the heating and cooling energy of an average house and how it is inspiring others to pursue 'Passive House' certification (The SmartHome isn't yet certified). Detroit-Shoreway CDC is exploring what it will take to build a smaller and more affordable house that could meet the standard, he said. (Reportedly, officials from South Euclid were similarly inspired to look into a passive house on an infill lot).
· One-foot-thick expanded polystyrene walls are the secret ingredient in the SmartHome. But that's still not as thick as the walls of Jan and Gus Kious' strawbale house on Cedar Hill which will be the site of an upcoming E4S benefit, said the organization's Board Chair, Mike Dungen, who added that the strawbale house is saving the Kious' lots of money (mental note: ask them how much and then do a cost and lifecycle comparison with expanded polystyrene...) One of the victories of the Kious home is proving how well strawbale can operate in a cold and wet climate. The other it shares with the SmartHome, as Beach said, "It shows that you don't have to live in a cave to have an ultra efficient house."
· Before the 'Ready, Set, Summit!" event last night, Dungen reminded folks of the history of the organization in helping spark partnerships. To illustrate his point, Dungen revealed that Cleveland Institute of Art Industrial Design professor Doug Paige and a colleague at University of Akron are exploring a Ph.D level degree in Biomimicry. When it happens, it will be the first in the country, and it will have sprung from an E4S networking night.
· I'm continually impressed by how Great Lakes Brewing Co. seems to walk the green walk ? you can hear 100x how they reuse their spent grain as feedstock for pretzels or that they opened a farm in Hale Farm to grow herbs and veggies, and then became a major player in Cleveland's largest urban farm, the Ohio City Farm, across the road at W. 25th, but to taste the pretzels, and the luscious locally grown tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers at last night's E4S event is to believe with your taste buds that the Conways are on to something good. (Kudos to the brothers for paying employees of the brew pub to do a day of labor on the farm-talk about understanding where your food comes from).
· The 2011 Cleveland Design Competition will display ideas from professionals, faculty, students, firms and designers the world over for a new K - 12 public school in Downtown Cleveland. Kathryn Lincoln, Chair of Board of Directors, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy will announce the winners, and see their displays this Friday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at CSU. Go here for more details.