Projects › 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.
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.
- EcoCity Journal V6N1-3 Winter 1998-1999
- Zone Rec greenspace restoration
- Origins of Cleveland EcoVillage
- Green principles of the Cleveland EcoVillage
- Progress in the EcoVillage (2007)
- What is an ecovillage?
- Green features of EcoVillage town homes
- Ideas for Zone Rec greening
- Cleveland EcoVillage Green Cottages
- EcoVillage brochure
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