Origin and Future of the Collaborative Campus Project

Eleven months ago, over seven hundred people from diverse sectors and industries came together for three days to talk about making Cleveland a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable city over the course of the next ten years.  Those three days were named the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Summit.

During the summit, participants divided into over twenty-one working groups in which they would address vacant land, transportation, local food systems, education, healthcare, renewable energy, business innovation and much more.  One of those working groups came to be known as the Collaborative Campus.

Although almost a year has passed since the original summit, many groups have struggled to find the resources necessary to move toward immediate action.  The Collaborative Campus Project, however, is underway.

The Collaborative Campus Project

The Collaborative Campus Project is a partnership between Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Cleveland State University (CSU), Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), and Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to link the pursuit of “world class sustainability education” to the context of a sustainable neighborhood.  They came to the realization that healthy neighborhoods strengthen institutions as much as institutions strengthen their surrounding communities.

To implement the project, professional consultants, planners, designers, engineers and community developers are working with local college and high school students to reach out to the community surrounding the Tri-C Metropolitan Campus to find out residents’ needs and wants, to asset map strengths and opportunities in the area, and to develop projects that build on the assets to help revitalize the community.

Local students are a key component to the project because they can glean information from neighborhood residents in a way that professional consultants cannot.  To keep participants of varying levels and experience on the same page, so to speak, the Collaborative Campus Project is following the curriculum of the City Works textbook.

After the race of seven weeks this summer, the final deliverable of the Project will be a comprehensive neighborhood plan for the newly dubbed Campus District (formerly known as the Quadrangle).

Where this is Going

One of the primary catalysts of this project is that the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) plans to redevelop the Cedar Extension housing units at 30th and Community College Avenue in the Campus District.

By designing and proposing recommendations based on community outreach and asset mapping in the same area, this diverse group has the opportunity to influence the future plans of the Campus District.

Regardless of the outcome, the local students and professionals involved in the Collaborative Campus Project will have the ability over the course of the next 6 weeks to both learn and teach in the schoolroom of this neighborhood.

*Note: I originally wrote this article for the Collaborative Campus Project.


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