Progress since the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit

I just received an exciting email.  Here’s what it said:

Yesterday, Mayor Jackson announced the next steps in working towards building a sustainable economy in Cleveland.

  • The appointment of Andrew Watterson as Chief of Sustainability, the City’s first cabinet level position focusing on sustainability.
  • A strategic plan will be created based on the 28 summit recommendations. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will oversee this process, including the issuing of an RFP and the hiring of a consultant to analyze the 28 recommendations and create the plan.
  • The creation of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Council – This council will use the strategic plan as a blueprint for advising Mayor Jackson on creating a “green city on a blue lake”.
  • The creation of the steering committee for the 2010 Sustainable Cleveland summit.  This 63-member committee will design the next summit and will be comprised of ’09 summit participants, as well as representatives from local companies and institutions.

Below are the 28 projects that came out of the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit–which the city’s strategic plan will be based on:

Sustainable Cleveland 2019: Building an economic engine to empower a green city on a blue lake

Summary of Initiatives Generated by Sustainable Cleveland 2019

Nearly 700 people participated in Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a three-day summit designed to generate an action plan to transform Cleveland’s economy into a sustainable economy and the city into a green city on a blue lake. On the afternoon of day two, participants at the summit were asked to vote with their feet and join one of 20 subject-specific work groups. Participants were then asked, “How might we cultivate or advance…” the specific topic. Participants answered with 28 concepts.  The following summaries were produced through the transcription of notes, flip charts, work sheets and large foam boards used during the Summit. Additional research and analysis of these ideas will be conducted, leading to the creation of the strategic action plan.

Advanced Energy Generation:

1. Form the Sustainable Cleveland Wind Accelerator to create the first utility scale freshwater wind farm in the world, bolstering support for the pilot project and positioning Cleveland as the center of a nascent but potentially booming offshore wind industry in the U.S.

2. Create the “Solarail”, the most sustainable transit line in North America.

3. Create a 400MW combined heat & power plant and an industrial water management collection and reuse system.

Advanced Energy Research and Commercialization:

4. Create the Laboratories for Advanced Energy Commercialization (LAEC), pronounced “lake”. It would be a hub where funding can be leveraged, existing and/or future relationships are developed, and where advanced energy products and services are incubated and commercialized. The lab would create a technology showcase to court buyers to the area/companies and the lab would be a leader in information dissemination.

Advanced Manufacturing and Materials:

5. Create a Global Center for Sustainable Design and Manufacturing that would function with a hub-and-spoke network to create industrial symbiosis between businesses, promote research and development, and match research, design, and development of universities to markets.

Communications Campaign and Branding:

6. Build a solid communications plan with goals, phases and budget that will provide a common language, spread awareness, spur conversations about sustainability, help to market Cleveland as the green city on a blue lake both locally and nationally and create a positive reputation of a city that has turned itself around from the city where the river burned.

Engage 1.6 Million:

7. Create a campaign that engages the entire region in creating a green city on a blue lake. The campaign will create common messaging and do community outreach through one-on-one interactions, social networking, the education system and community organizing. The campaign will create a messaging campaign based on “The Year of _________”, like the Chinese Zodiac, but around a sustainability focus like recycling, local food, transportation, etc.  “The group would create programs and specific actions with individuals, families, schools, businesses and others so that they may work together towards the transformation to a sustainable community.”

Green Building:

8. Promote green building through stringent energy codes and benchmarks, education and awareness, incentives and retrofitting thereby creating new jobs. Proposed goals are set to retrofit 100% buildings for 50% energy reductions, 50% of buildings to be retrofitted to net zero, 25% of buildings to be retrofitted to be energy producers and for new construction to meet LEED standards or equivalent.


9. Transform our community from a focus on sick-care to a focus on well-care by identifying and aligning the extensive health resources in the community, encouraging widespread engagement, filling resource gaps, increasing efficiencies and improving access, particularly through technology infrastructure.

Local Foods:

10. Support the development of a sustainable regional food system with six possible local food projects: 1) GROWHIO, a non-profit organization with a mission of supporting small business development, fostering community engagement and marketing and branding; 2) Increase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); (3) Developing community kitchen(s) and incubator; (4) Support and mobilize 10,000 new farmers in 10 years; (5) Create year-round food production with the development of greenhouses and hydro/aquaponic gardens; and (6) Strengthen the food distribution network.

Metrics of Success:

11. Create a scoreboard for sustainability to define sustainable goals, benchmarks, and create a baseline; develop measures and incentives to quantify the sustainable success of transportation, business growth, waste, energy and education; and report out to the community.

Post-Summit Momentum:

12. Develop a post-summit structure, with input from community leaders and organizations, to help implement all of the initiatives from the summit, provide regular feedback and report to the community the progress that is made from the summit. Although the “Center” would have accountability for keeping

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 projects and events on schedule and within budgets, many of the projects and events will originate from indigenous community groups.

Public Compact:

13. Create a public compact that individuals and businesses can join. The compact, proposed as “The Cleveland Promise”, will set forth the vision and direction that the city will take to create a green city on a blue lake. Individuals and organizations will sign on to these principles and also make a pledge to what individual actions they will take to make Cleveland a more sustainable city.

Social Capital:

14. Create a protocol to foster collaborations between government, business, education, community, and other institutions to create a more sustainable community. The protocol would consist of a curriculum that has a school-feel to it but would immerse people into projects.

Social Entrepreneurship in the Urban Core:

15. Develop, CLEVA, an online platform that would connect citizens interested in investing in Cleveland to opportunities to invest in socially and environmentally responsible Cleveland businesses. Citizens interested in investing in local businesses through CLEVA would view projects online and could invest in a project through making a payment directly to CLEVA. CLEVA would then transfer funds to financial partners to make loans. Eligible businesses would then be granted loans and would pay back the loans to the financial partners. The financial partners would transfer the funds back to CLEVA and CLEVA would repay citizens. Citizens would then have the option of reinvesting the funds in another CLEVA project, thus continuing the CLEVA circle.

Strategic Partnerships and Learning:

16. Create an international BETA site for sustainable innovation working with sister cities around the world to foster partnerships and collaborations in science, business and industry, education, medicine and healthcare, and social and cultural areas; and to bring sister cities to the 2010 sustainability summit in Cleveland.

17. Create a green neighborhood alliance/campus by fostering strategic partnerships between schools, community gardens, local businesses, libraries, and police forces. Students in a local school would grow produce in an on-site urban garden, sell it to a local business, and use the produce in school meals.  The local library and police forces would generate support by informing the public and interacting positively with neighborhood youth.

18. Create the Great Lakes Sustainable Cities Ning Network to facilitate inter-city sharing of best practices, coordinate with other local social networking groups.

Sustainable Business Innovation and Incubation:

19. Raise $100 million through individual donations and community support to create the Regional Sustainability Fund, a self-sustaining fund that would make grants, loans and investments in new large-scale sustainable ventures.

20. Create the Global Sustainability Cooperative, a physical structure that will act as a hub for sustainable technology businesses, an incubator program, eco-friendly consumer product retailers, and locally grown food outlets like restaurants and gourmet food stores. It would act as a catalyst to bring emerging sustainable technologies to market as well as spark innovations through the connections and collaborations formed by the companies within the facility. The Global Sustainability Cooperative would not simply be a group of companies within a building, but an integral part of the sustainability movement in Northeast Ohio by connecting and inspiring innovations in the sustainability industry.

21. Create the Cleveland Sustainable Business Growth Initiative to foster sustainable economic growth by educating, connecting and inspiring businesses in Cleveland, recognizing businesses for their sustainable achievements, highlighting successes through major trade publications and helping to translate sustainable benefits from business to home.


22. Promote sustainable transportation by focusing on public transportation, rail, bicycles, and pedestrian friendly development, including advocating for the implementation of current adopted plans (Citywide Bike Plan, 2010 Active transportation Campaign, and Complete Streets Guidelines). For public transportation, the group will work to create real-time scheduling for buses and trains.  For bicycles, the group will promote expediting the towpath trail and finishing the downtown bike station. For rail, the group will advocate for the 3Cs rail project, to support connecting the Amtrak station to the new convention center, and also to create light-rail in Cleveland.

Vacant Land Use and Green Space:

23. Use our social, technical and administrative capitals to facilitate the development of available vacant parcels into contiguous, revitalized land areas with continuity amongst air, water, and soil resources that enables neighborhood access and enhances the health, education, and welfare of Greater Cleveland’s residents. This would be achieved in part by developing a long-range action plan and helping to facilitate several projects of scale in line with our mission, including the Towpath Trail, Re-Imagining Cleveland projects, and Cleveland Job Corps Center pilot project.

Waste to Profit:

24. Create the Wastipedia Center: a processing transfer station that takes waste from residential, commercial and industrial sectors with the goal of zero waste by 2019. The Center would be a repository for reusable materials, divert and track at least 2019 tons of waste per year, attract and promote local artist business development through local material reuse, and support the local economy through local business development.

25.The Regional Zero Waste Collaborative: Designed to support the development and implementation of policies and practices that create a zero waste economy in Northeast Ohio by 2019; investigate best practices from other regions; and plan a symposium for 2010 that will outline a blueprint developing a zero waste economy in this region.

26. Recycling Center/Waste-to-Energy Center


27. Create Cleveland Water “Works” that will work towards the goals of clean water, education and lakefront development. Specific projects to help spur lakefront development by reassessing old plans and helping to develop new plans, develop best practices for water management, including stormwater management, and helping to develop the Freshwater Institute that would focus on education, research and economic development opportunities.

World Class Sustainable Education:

28. Create a living system for education with design principles that build on current prototypes, amplify existing networks, and empower students as agents of change, while infusing a culture of sustainability in all practice. Specific projects would focus on (1) increasing the number of graduates and (2) the development of a green campus. The green campus would include early education through university education, assets from the community such as libraries and community gardens and the buildings and campus would be built and powered using sustainable methods.


2 thoughts on “Progress since the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit

  1. I am excited about how we are moving forward on the Wastipedia Center. It is really awesome to see that so many other sectors from the summit are moving forward, and How engaged the Mayor and his office are working so hard to make this a truly green future!

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