Is Cleveland on the Verge of Squandering its Future?

With nearly $5 million dedicated to regional planning initiatives, Angie Schmitt questions whether public officials in greater Cleveland are willing to make the hard decisions and compromises necessary to make the area competitive once again.

Winning nearly $5 million from federal and local funding sources to create a plan for regional sustainability was the easiest part of establishing a coordinated plan to address the rapid abandonment of Cleveland's urban areas for unplanned, exurban development, observes Schmitt.

"Of course, winning a grant and mustering the political will to do some actual transformative planning are two different things. Right now there is a fierce internal struggle going on within Northeast Ohio's Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC), and the outcome could determine whether the region puts the $5 million grant to good use or wastes a rare opportunity."

More than a year after NEOSCC began the planning process, little progress has been made and an internal reorganization has exposed conflicts over the desired magnitude and focus of the plan, writes Schmitt.

"NEOSCC is made up of a broad cross-section of regional interests - rural, suburban and urban officials; representatives from communities of color; highway proponents; bike advocates; environmentalists; business leaders. Younger, more progressive factions want to discuss planning tools that seem daring in Cleveland, like urban growth boundaries, while others - namely those with a long history of government service in Northeast Ohio - say it's not even worth discussing."

"Regions around the country are adopting a new 'technology' - land use planning - to make their cities cleaner, more efficient, healthier and more equitable. Will greater Cleveland reject this new technology – like the Aborigines of Northeast Australia rejected bows and arrows - and further resign itself to becoming a once-great but fallen empire?"

Full Story: Will Greater Cleveland Squander Its Chance to Be Competitive Again?


building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95