Leaves

Projects › Cleveland EcoVillage

Cleveland EcoVillage

As older cities like Cleveland are redeveloped, it is vital that this urban regeneration incorporate ecological design principles (see Related Documents on the right). That is the premise and the hope for the Cleveland EcoVillage.

In the early 2000s, the ecovillage was conceived, and since that time the Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Organization has been leading the redevelopment of a green, walkable neighborhood around the W. 65th Rapid transit station on the Near West side of Cleveland.

EcoVillage Townhomes<br />In 2004, the city of Cleveland, Detroit-Shoreway and EcoCity Cleveland cut the ribbon on phase one of the green-built EcoVillage townhomes at W. 58th Street.Rebuilt W. 65th Rapid Station<br />In 2003, RTA agreed to rebuild the W. 65th Rapid Station instead of closing it as part of a transit-oriented development known as the Cleveland EcoVillage.The Cleveland EcoVillage vision<br />Dense infill development around transit and ecological design to bring people closer to nature. EcoVillage plan<br />The plan calls for infill development within a 1/4 mi walk of the Rapid Station, and enhanced greenspace at Zone Recreation Center.Work to be done<br />The existing conditions in the Cleveland EcoVillage include incompatible uses that do not promote health or walkability.Spreading green<br />In 2004, Cleveland Magazine and Detroit-Shoreway did 'green' renovations to two existing homes in the Cleveland EcoVillage.Community garden<br />Neighbors in the ecovillage tend a community garden on a vacant lot.Eco-champion<br />Cleveland EcoVillage's first coordinator, Manda GillespieStrawbale shed<br />The community built a straw bale toolshed for the community garden.Reimagining green space<br />A series of community charrettes led to design ideas for more natural areas, walking paths and stormwater innovations in the vast lawn of Zone Recreation Center. Zone Rec Master Plan<br />In 2005, Detroit-Shoreway and EcoCity Cleveland hired landscape architects to produce a master plan for Zone Rec.Greening Zone Rec<br />The Zone Rec Master Plan calls for a new grander entry way on W. 65th Streets with an improved transit waiting environment and surrounded by gardens, a splash park, orchard and climbing wall.Green cottage<br />In 2009, several groups built a 'very small green house' in the ecovillage that was sold to a private party.
Previous
Next

The EcoVillage is:

  • An innovative partnership involving nonprofit organizations, the city, the regional transit authority, private developers, and neighborhood residents.
  • A national demonstration project that will showcase green building and transit-oriented development.
  • An opportunity to realize the promise of urban life in the most ecological way possible.

The Cleveland EcoVillage is a great place to live. It is a diverse neighborhood that is pedestrian-friendly and community-oriented. Residents are within walking distance of the Rapid Transit Station and the Zone Recreation Center. The area has older and newer homes, including some of the city's finest examples of green building. The area also includes numerous schools, historic churches, and communtiy gardens. Residents can participate in block clubs, recreation groups, annual workshops, and celebrations. There are countless opportunities in the Cleveland EcoVillage.

Faith in "real" cities

The Cleveland EcoVillage project is rooted in an unexpected faith in cities—a faith that cities are good for people and good for the earth.

This faith is unexpected because people often have the opposite view—that cities are the home of humanity's darker impulses and most wasteful behaviors. Cities are insatiable consumers of resources and profligate producers of pollution. They exert tremendous ecological pressures on the rest of the planet.

But cities also present opportunities. By concentrating population in compact areas, they can help conserve the land. By developing sophisticated treatment systems, they can minimize the water pollution of millions of people. By promoting compact neighborhoods and public transit, they can reduce housing costs and dependence on the automobile. By facilitating trade and social interaction, they promote the flowering of human culture.

In many ways, then, cities can be the places where the most people can live full lives with the least impact on the earth. Indeed, we have to make this so because the majority of the world's six billion people will soon live in urban areas. We have no choice but to make cities as ecological as possible.

In Northeast Ohio, older industrial cities such as Cleveland have declined, bottomed out, and started to redevelop. In this process of regeneration, we have a chance to adopt different design principles. Instead of industrial-age design principles based on the domination of nature and the endless consumption of fossil fuels, we can adopt ecological design principles that help us work with natural systems and the renewable cycles of solar energy.

To succeed, we need to regenerate cities from the inside and from the outside. Inside of cities, we must reinvest in great neighborhoods. Out on the edges of metropolitan areas, we must reduce the suburban sprawl that sucks life from the urban core.

The Cleveland EcoVillage project, a partnership of EcoCity Cleveland and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, is part of the inside strategy. It aims to demonstrate how an urban neighborhood can be redeveloped using the best ecological thinking.

It focuses on an existing neighborhood, a "real" place. In contrast, many of the other ecovillage projects around the world are somewhat utopian. They involve well-off people building their solar dream houses together in a remote and scenic location. Such projects often demonstrate important ideas and technology, but most of the rest of the world can't live like that. The real challenge is to build sustainable communities where most people now live—in places like Cleveland, Ohio.

Written by David Beach in 2004.

Older industrial cities, such as Cleveland, have declined, bottomed out, and started to redevelop. In this process of regeneration, we have a chance to adopt different design principles. Instead of industrial-age design principles based on the domination of nature and the endless consumption of fossil fuels, we can adopt ecological design principles that help us work with natural systems and the renewable cycles of solar energy.

10 ways to stay cool and save

10 ways to stay cool and save >

See these tips to beat the heat and save money.

Your location can cost or save

Your location can cost or save >

See if your neighborhood is costing or saving you more than the average

Find local food

Find local food >

Explore local food resources and a map of farmers markets in Northeast Ohio