EcoVillage

Cleveland's EcoVillage is an urban redevelopment project that aims to create an economically and ecologically sustainable community within the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. The project was conceived by environmental groups in the mid 1990s to combat urban sprawl and outmigration from the city's core by creating an attractive, healthy living space. Environmentally conscious, pedestrian-friendly designs for an urban village were integrated with efforts to promote diversity and community involvement. The EcoVillage project has been led by the efforts of EcoCity Cleveland, an environmental group that merged in 2007 with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to form the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, a neighborhood development organization. While part of a larger worldwide movement toward creating sustainable ecovillage communities, it is one of only a few projects to successfully be implemented in an urban environment.

Video

Cleveland EcoVillage: Living a Green Lifestyle Barbara Strauss highlights the cornerstones of Cleveland's innovative urban renewal project. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

EcoVillage Green Cottages Since the implementation of the Cleveland EcoVillage project, neighborhood development organizations have actively promoted residential construction that utilizes green building techniques. The construction of ecologically friendly, energy efficient homes is part of a larger effort to lure people back into the city by providing healthy, attractive, and sustainable neighborhoods. The first major residential project was completed in 2004, consisting of twenty townhomes built within walking distance of the RTA station. Subsequent projects included the construction of Northeast Ohio's first affordable ecologically friendly houses, referred to as "green cottages". These energy efficient single-family homes are priced to attract moderate income residents, with purchasers being required to meet maximum and minimum income eligibility requirements. The homeowner must also agree to allow a portion of any increase in the home's value stay with the home in order to ensure affordability to the next buyer. By providing permanently affordable housing, the green cottages promote economic diversity in the emerging EcoVillage neighborhood. Photograph courtesy of Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
The Michael Zone Recreation Center Sustainable Greenspace The Michael Zone Recreation Center Sustainable Greenspace is a 22 acre recreation facility located at the heart of the Ecovillage neighborhood just south of the W. 65th/Ecovillage RTA station. Incorporating an ecologically friendly and sustainable design, the highly used city facility maintains traditional recreation uses while also providing environmental education opportunities, public art, and open urban park space. Photograph courtesy of Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
Rain Barrel Workshop Held at Community Garden To help foster ecologically sustainable development, the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and local environmental groups promote both community involvement and environmental education in the EcoVillage neighborhood through partnerships with learning institutions and by offering programs to residents that promote recycling, urban gardening, and pollution prevention. Photography courtesy of Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
EcoVillage RTA Sign While Cleveland's EcoVillage does not have specific boundaries, it was conceived by the project's founders as the area within a quarter mile radius of the W. 65th RTA Rapid Station located on Lorain Avenue. The pre-existing mass transit station was planned as the centerpiece of the ecovillage to promote a pedestrian friendly environment, with the hopes that it will act as a catalyst for commericial and residential development in the surrounding area. Photograph courtesy of Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
EcoVillage RTA Station With plans proposed by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to close the West 65th/Lorain Rapid Station in 1997, community members, EcoCity Cleveland, and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization intervened to save the neighborhood's public transportation by persuading the city that a new station could become the focal point of an emerging ecovillage project. In a public-private partnership between these groups and the City of Cleveland, designs were developed for the construction of an environmentally friendly rail transit station that could act as a community center. The $4 million dollar project was to promote the development of a walkable neighborhood that was ecologically and economically sustainable. On September 21, 2004, the W.65th-Lorain-Ecovillage RTA station was reopened as possibly the nation's first "green" rail stations. Photograph courtesy of Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization

Location

EcoVillage is located in the vicinity of Lorain Ave and W 65th St and is accessible via the RTA Red Line's W 65–EcoVillage Station.

Metadata

Richard Raponi, “EcoVillage,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 30, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/120.