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The big trends that will shape Cleveland and the region

David Beach  |  01/05/10 @ 4:15pm

A couple of weeks ago, a Plain Dealer reporter called me for a year-end story about trends that will shape Cleveland and the region in the coming decade. Here is the outline of what I said:

Macro-trends driving change:

  • Climate change and rising energy prices
  • Global resource scarcities
  • Demographic changes -- aging population, retiring baby boomers, young people earning less than their parents
  • Flat or declining incomes in Northeast Ohio because of global competition
  • Increasing concerns about health and food

These trends will drive changes in lifestyles. More people will seek affordable, low-consumption, low-mileage, low-carbon lives in cities.

This can be positive for cities like Cleveland:

  • More people moving into city for active, urban lifestyles
  • Conservation and efficiency leading to much reduced energy consumption (net zero-energy homes will be common), with the energy still required produced by clean, local sources
  • More people walking, biking and taking transit (it will be common to bike to work)
  • More people buying local food (it will be common to have a personal relationship with a local grower)
  • More street life and stronger neighborhoods (greater public investment in places for people rather than more roads for cars)
  • A healthier population
  • A city with more parks and natural areas, more access to Lake Erie, and a strong connection to water.
  • A more resilient city that is less vulnerable to global resource scarcities and economic shocks.

If we think strategically about the macro-trends, by 2019 Cleveland could mark the 50th anniversary of the famous Cuyahoga River fire by celebrating its transformation as one of the most livable and sustainable cities in the world.  

How do you think global trends will impact cities like Cleveland?

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