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faces a number of challenges in its efforts to create Sustainability that must be addressed.

Personnel Inadequate to Implement a Sustainability Program : Hiring additional City employees to implement a sustainability program may seem like an expense until we analyze the cost savings in operations citywide such a program will demonstrably generate over time. The City needs to dedicate more staff to implement sustainability initiatives and to write grants for additional funding opportunities.

Financial Resources Lacking to Advance Sustainability Efforts and Create Incentives: More money is needed for advancing sustainability initiatives such as brownfields clean-up and reuse, greenway development, and cash incentives for green building projects.

Sustainability a Low Priority: Cleveland is years behind leading cities in the sustainability movement. Serious efforts focusing on sustainability to help cut costs, lure companies to the region, and improve quality of life issues are long overdue and critical to the City’s and the region’s future competitiveness. An educational effort directed at private and public sector decision-makers, the City’s youth, and taxpayers must be planned and initiated immediately.

Social Conditions: The quality of life in Cleveland is pivotal to luring new residents and businesses to the City and retaining current residents. This means addressing the education crisis in the City’s public schools, segregation ( Cleveland was the third-most segregated city in the country according to an analysis of the 2000 Census Bureau Report ) , slow economic growth, high levels of poverty and homelessness, and a depleted tax base.

Food: Rising fuel prices, less reliable fuel supplies, and climate change will necessitate a long-term shift to localized food systems. Integrating regional food security into a long-term economic development plan will ensure that adequate land resources are devoted to sustainable food production. Using vacant lots, rooftops, and even old buildings for agricultural production (e.g. aquaculture, vermiculture, greenhouse production, beekeeping) for urban agricultural production can provide a reliable source of fresh local food that minimizes distances traveled. Utilizing local fuel sources (e.g. biodiesel from waste grease or vegetable oils) and selecting natural building techniques (e.g. strawbale construction, earth plaster) can also provide new opportunities for local farmers while securing sustainable sources of energy and building materials.

Energy-Wasteful Construction Continues: Given the high percentage of Cleveland households that qualify as low-income and the rising cost of energy (up 50% in one year, 2004-5), it is irresponsible to continue to develop housing that is not energy-efficient. Regulations must be put in place that mandate high performance / green building, especially for all new construction and rehabilitation of low-income housing.

Air Quality and Environmental Degradation : In order to become more competitive nationally, we must comply with environmental standards for air and water quality. In an age where companies are free to locate anywhere, we must improve our environment and public health in order to lure companies and families to the region. If air quality is poor, resulting in non-attainment, economic development can be hindered because some industries will not be able to operate in the area.

Transportation: As fuel prices continue to increase, we must provide alternative, affordable options for our residents. Creating more compact, sustainable communities with a variety of transportation modes is a way to plan our communities around people rather than for our cars. We must provide transportation choices for our community that are bike and pedestrian friendly, that encourage mass transit and vehicle car pooling. We must begin to make choices favoring alternative technologies such as cleaner fuels and cleaner modes of transportation (like our existing shipping industry). And we must use our purchasing power to favor hybrid energy-efficient vehicles.

Although public transit is very costly and hard to ‘justify’ for a city of our size, poverty data must be taken into consideration, as low-income residents need an extensive public transportation system in order to have access to opportunities. More east-west connections and connections to the southeast of the City are needed to serve a greater portion of people in Cleveland.

State and Federal Policies: Many policies at the state and federal level do not favor older urban areas, instead promoting urban sprawl and transportation policies that encroach into diminishing open space and farmlands. This development pattern leads to urban disinvestment, costly maintenance of expansive infrastructure, and natural resource depletion. Ohio needs to follow the example of more progressive states like Maryland and Minnesota and adopt ‘smart growth’ initiatives that seek to re-invest in urban areas. And the federal government needs to lead the way by establishing controls on sprawl to help strengthen the sustainability of our country as a whole.

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