Made in the 216


I’m going to this awesome event and I want you to come with me:

Friday June 26 & Saturday June 27, 2009

@ Room Service and other locations along the Gordon Square Arts District in the Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood.

Shopping event for local art and other creations accompanied by live music, good food and parties at Happy Dog.

The MADE IN THE 216 event was created by ROOM SERVICE owner Danielle DeBoe to highlight just how many talented designers are choosing to STAY and build their businesses in CLEVELAND; And to underscore their high level of talent by merchandising the Cleveland-made designs seamlessly amongst the items purchased by NYC, LONDON, LA, SAN FRANCISCO and PARIS-based designers. There are no ‘booths’ or traditional craft/trade show set ups that differentiate the designers’ wares. They are integrated in the same creative, narrative-driven way that RS merchandises their products year round.

The other thing that makes this show different is the diversity of the products being offered at the show. The show features a wide weft of creations from menswear, jewelry, tshirts, and personal accessories to stationary, photography, screenprints, household goods, furniture and music. These Cleveland-based creators represent all levels of entrepreneurship, from the craft circuit, to etsy shops, to international sales….all people who have chosen to stay and build their business in the 216 as opposed to leaving for bigger cities…THIS is something I think worth celebrating.

Click here for more info

Another reason to go: my friend works at A Piece of Cleveland (APOC), and they make beautiful furniture out of re-purposed materials.  APOC de-constructs foreclosed houses and uses the materials (especially the salvaged wood) to build new and exciting pieces pretty much anyone would salivate over bringing into their home.  To see some of their work, click here.

See you at the 216 event!

Renovating the Rust Belt



The idea for writing about “Renovating the Rust Belt” flashed into my mind like a lightning bolt from Zeus while I was quietly working at my desk at BrownFlynn, a Cleveland-based sustainability consulting firm.  Why this topic, you ask?  Well, for starters, I grew up in Cleveland and I know a little something about what it means to be a part of the Rust Belt.  After graduating from Dartmouth, I thought I would be living in high(ish?) style in New York City or Chicago, or someplace more glamorous than my hometown.  Not the case.

I moved back to Cleveland for a temporary stop at my parents’ house… and then I never left.  Well, I moved out of my parents’ house pretty quickly, but it seems as though I’ll be in Cleveland for a while longer.  Here are some reasons why a young person such as myself stayed: 

  1. I got a few jobs here in which I immediately felt like I could make a difference and in which I felt appreciated (where else does that happen for a kid right out of college?)
  2. My family and friends are closeby.
  3. It’s affordable to live here.
  4. Cleveland has some of the most progressive sustainability initiatives in the nation.  And they’re happening right now.
  5. The people here are genuinely nice.  And creative, authentic, and all the rest.
  6. Cleveland is a surprisingly awesome place. (We have bike polo, kickball leagues, E4S, Little Italy, the Cleveland Metroparks, urban farms, Tremont, the Ohio City Bike Co-op, art galleries in industrial buildings, APOC, and the list could go on and on).

Young people have to go where the jobs are, and I had the luxury of finding a few excellent jobs here in Cleveland.  One of the nicest things about living in a Rust Belt city is that someone who’s just starting out can make a significant difference.  And since I am surrounded by people who are working day in and day out on sustainability issues in Cleveland, I thought I would contribute a little something of my own.

My goal with this blog is to follow some of the progress being made in Cleveland and in other Rust Belt cities (Detroit, Pittsburgh, Erie, etc.) towards a more sustainable tomorrow.  What makes Rust Belt cities uniquely qualified to lead the rest of the nation as models of city-wide restoration is their “doable” size and their ability to use all their vacant land for more useful purposes.  United as a region, we can bring social, environmental and economic prosperity back to the Rust Belt, and maybe even to the rest of the nation.

Turning the Rust Belt Green in Cleveland

Stumbled across a few good articles about the sustainable initiatives in Cleveland:

Summer 2009: Cleveland’s Worker-Owned Boom
by Gar Alperovitz, Ted Howard and Steve Dubb

Summer 2006: Cleveland: Community Action Turns the Rust Belt Green
by Ed D’Amato

Fall 2006: Cleveland Rocks (Really) by Joel Makower

Check these out – even if you’re not from around here – because they have a lot to say about the recovery of the Rust Belt.

Why should you care about the Rust Belt? 

Well, because it’s the heartland of the U.S., and not only does it supply the nation with a great proportion of its agricultural and industrial necessities, but it also wraps around the World’s largest supply of fresh water.  Think about that for a second.  If the Rust Belt isn’t doing well, then odds are that the rest of the nation that it supplies won’t do as well either.