By Hunter Morrison and John Getchey
We all have our reasons for loving Northeast Ohio, and we want to see it thrive and grow.
The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (NEOSCC) is working to help residents preserve what we value and fix our challenges. Our mission is the development of Vibrant NEO 2040, a vision for how to make Northeast Ohio a more vibrant, resilient, and sustainable place to live and work.
The question facing our region is clear: How can we maintain the quality and economic vitality of our already-developed communities while meeting the emerging needs of communities experiencing the pressures of new development?
In order to create a vision for a sustainable future, we have to figure out what choices we can make now that will give us the greatest chance for success. To do this, we are using a tool called Scenario Planning, and we hope you will be a part of this effort.
Scenarios summarize likely future outcomes based on what we know about the present and what we know about how the world works, similar to a weather forecast.
Vibrant NEO 2040’s scenarios will tell stories about our possible futures, based on where Northeast Ohio is today and the choices we might make about how we use land and how we invest. Our Scenario Planning process uses different scenarios to try and answer some important questions: What will Northeast Ohio look like in the future if we keep doing what we’re doing? What if we pursue different priorities? What scenarios and priorities lead to the best potential future for our region? How do we prioritize our choices given limited resources? And finally, what does the preferred vision of Northeast Ohio’s future look like?
The first round of Vibrant NEO 2040 Scenario Planning Public Workshops focuses on the “Business-As-Usual” scenario. It outlines what Northeast Ohio’s future will look like if we keep doing what we are currently doing — what will our communities look like, how successful will our economy be, and how much will it likely cost us, if we keep our current policies and approaches to land use, transportation and development in place.
Once we know what will happen if we keep doing what we are doing, then we can start to ask how the future might change if we do some things differently. It’s the first step in a three-phase process that we will be conducting in the coming months.
The initial opportunity is just around the corner. Vibrant NEO will hold a public workshop in Warren on Tuesday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the JFK High School. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/VibrantNEO-Warren-043013. We challenge residents to join us at this event and make sure your voice is heard. Visit VibrantNEO.org for more information about this and other workshops around the region, and join us as we begin to work toward a common vision for a more vibrant, resilient and sustainable Northeast Ohio.
Hunter Morrison is Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium. John Getchey is Executive Director of the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.