The population of Northeast Ohio's 12 most populous counties fell by seven percent from 4.1 million in 1970 to 3.8 million in 2010. Yet at the same time, suburban areas added 400 square miles of roads, shopping centers, housing developments and office parks.
That unabated trend towards urban sprawl is not sustainable, argues the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium
, a new initiative that won a $4.25 million grant from the federal government in 2010 to plan for more sustainable land use patterns across the region. It also wastes resources, harms cities and makes the region less competitive.
So what would a truly vibrant future look like for Northeast Ohio? The NEOSCC hopes to engage young professionals in answering that question at a series of public engagement meetings. The next event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16th at Brothers Lounge
"A lot of times, decisions are made without involving young people, and we wanted them at the forefront," says Jeff Anderle, Director of Communications with the NEOSCC. "We keep hearing that they want a competitive economy in the region so that there are more job opportunities. They also want walkable communities and more vibrant downtowns throughout the 12-county area."
Anderle stresses that the NEOSCC is not dictating people's choices -- "We want to educate people so that they understand the big picture infrastructure costs and how they affect everyone," he says -- yet the initiative's impact will come down to how communities throughout the region adopt the NEOSCC's recommendations. The group plans to release an initial report on existing conditions in June.
Source: Jeff Anderle
Writer: Lee Chilcote