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GCBL's goals for 2019

Marc Lefkowitz  |  09/20/13 @ 12:00pm  |  Posted in Vibrant cities

SC2019, Cleveland’s biggest sustainability initiative, reaches its midway point at next month’s fifth annual summit (registration closes Sept. 24). It’s a time to take stock of how the city and its sustainability champions are doing. It’s also a moment to reflect on the goals that were set back in 2009. GreenCityBlueLake reaches back into its archive for a page written by David Beach in 2009 that lists his big goals for SC2019. We reprint it below, in its entirety, and invite your reflection on how SC2019 has evolved and your hopes for the next five years.

Walkable lakefront<br />The completion of Dike 14 as the Lakefront Nature Preserve will help toward the goal of improving access to Cleveland's shore.Greening your commute<br />Cleveland's transit system can play a role in lightening the carbon footprint of getting to work or play.The picture of sprawl<br />Urban sprawl threatens prime farmland and pristine natural areas throughout Northeast Ohio.

The year 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire. The fire of 1969 was a great turning point of collective consciousness. It marked the culmination of decades of wanton industrial pollution in the U.S., helped launch the modern environmental movement, and spurred passage of the Clean Water Act.

The burning river still defines Cleveland in the minds of people around the world, but what if we flipped the image? What if 2019 could be Cleveland’s coming out party as a new kind of green city on a blue lake? If we really focused our efforts, what could be done in the next 10 years? What would be transformational?

A number of groups are talking about creating a campaign to undertake transformation projects by the deadline of 2019. A potential model is the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission, which undertook legacy projects in the years leading up to the city’s bicentennial in 1996.

Here are some ideas for big goals:

  • Carbon emissions at 1 ton per person per year (about 95% less than today)
  • Regional household income is higher than the national average and household costs (housing, energy, transportation, food) are lower than average for a very affordable standard of living
  • Urban sprawl reversed as the region’s older cities compete favorably for new residents
  • 10 percent mode shift—once a week, everybody leaves their car at home and hops on a bike, walks, takes transit, or telecommutes
  • Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati high-speed passenger rail line is fully operational
  • Regional employment is growing with new green jobs and businesses
  • 100,000 houses retrofitted for optimal efficiency – energy, water, stormwater
  • Emergency room visits for acute asthma cut in half
  • No ozone action days
  • Towpath Trail completed
  • 180-mile bikeway in Cleveland completed
  • Cleveland has a great lakefront enjoyed by all residents
  • All land development has a restorative impact on water quality
  • Lake Erie fish safe to eat without restrictions
  • Lake Erie beaches always safe for swimming
  • Cleveland is a center for freshwater research and business development
  • Net gain of wetlands in past decade in the region
  • 16,000 green teams at local companies and organizations (10% of the organizations in the region)
  • Cleveland is the center of the freshwater wind turbine industry
  • 20% of all food is locally grown
  • 500 acres of urban agriculture in the city
  • A farmers market in every neighborhood
  • 90% recycling/composting rates in all communities
  • 30,000 residents living in downtown Cleveland
  • 500,000 residents in Cleveland
  • Every child in Cleveland is able to go to college
  • At least two universities ranked in the top 10 of Financial Times Corporate Social Responsibility rankings and Aspen’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes MBA rankings
  • The Cuyahoga Valley, ground zero for the Industrial Revolution, becomes the center of sustainable business
  • Cleveland learns to celebrate its winter

What would you add?

Learn more about SC2019.

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David Beach
5 years ago

Over the years GCBL has published a lot on the policies and subsidies that promote sprawl. In the Regional Land Use section of our Research page (gcbl.org/research) you can look at "Moving to Cornfields" and the "Ohio Smart Growth Agenda," which both provide lots of analysis of counterproductive policies that give unfair advantage to new suburban development.

Understanding Gaps Abound
5 years ago

Addressing urban sprawl is not just a matter of the urban core and the inner-ring "competing favorably for new residents"; instead, it is also a matter of ending subsidies and policies that promote and accommodate urban sprawl. Has GCBL identified those policies in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner? Sometimes those policies are as subtle as deciding to move a Cuyahoga County library (Mayfield) from an existing location well within the county and central to the communities it serves to the border of the county so it is more central to an out-of-county community that isn't even responsible for contributing financially to the county system through its property taxes. So the residents of that out-of-county community enjoy lower taxes --- and a nice amenity at its doorstep.

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