Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Cleveland Planner!!!

Has it been a year already.
Happy birthday to me.

I would like to thank a couple of people who made this blog successful.
George over at BFD. He got me started - thank you.
And the folks over at the Cuyahoga County Weblog - You bring me lots 'o traffic.

And a big thanks to the 8,452 page clicks and 5,884 unique visitors.
You rock!!!

This cakes for you....

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Graduate Urban Planning Program Survey for Students

I was asked to pass this on:

Dear recent alumni & current graduate students,

Planetizen, the leading news and information website for the urban planning and development community, is developing a comparison of Master's degree programs in urban planning. As part of this process, we are inviting current or recently graduated master's students in urban planning to participate in an online survey that will help us gain valuable insight regarding the most important criteria for evaluating graduate programs.

The link to the online survey is:

Responses to the survey questions will play a key role in helping us understand what students think makes a good master's program in urban planning.

Thank you for helping to improve the amount of information available about urban planning master's programs in the U.S. and Canada.

The Planetizen Team

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Ben Franklin, "Historical Review Of Pennsylvania," In Politics

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fenn Tower Ribbon-Cutting

A letter from President Michael Schwartz states the CSU community is invited to the ribbon Cutting for Fenn Tower on August 15.

Dear Cleveland State Community Members:

Please join the Cleveland State University Trustees and me for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for Fenn Tower Student Living on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony to celebrate Cleveland State's future and honor our past will be held at the front entrance of Fenn on East 24th at Euclid Avenue.

A cornerstone of the University's $179 million campus master plan, Building Blocks for the Future, Fenn Tower has been restored to its original splendor and has returned to one of its original uses - student housing. The Tower's rich history links to the University's predecessor, Fenn College, and through the years has been used for a variety of purposes including dormitories, classrooms, dances, campus dining, a library and administrative offices. Now, in addition to housing up to 438 students in apartment style living arrangements, Fenn will have three classrooms, a theater, a computer lab, a fitness center, and retail space. It is only steps away from the new recreation center and promises to be a major attraction for students thinking about a first rate education in a metropolitan setting.

We hope you'll be able to join us for the celebration.

Michael Schwartz

Hope you can be there.
(All pictures: Scott Muscatello, 2006)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 7, 2006 Summary of the Cleveland Planning Commission

Cleveland Planning Commission Report, July 7, 2006

Call to order – 9:08 AM

Roll Call –

Tony Coyne
Bob Brown
Lillian Kuri
Gloria Jean Pinkney
Rev. S. Small
Joe Cimperman
Larry Lumpkin

David Bowen

Mandatory Referrals

1. Ordinance No. 980-06: To amend Ordinance No. 1255-05, passed November 21, 2005, relating to widening portions of East 116th Street.

2. Resolution No. 994-06: Declaring the intent to vacate a portion of Hamilton Court N.E.

3. Ordinance No. 1056-06: Authorizing a permit to St. John-Nottingham Lutheran Church to encroach into the public right-of-way of Nottingham Road with two banners to be attached to Cleveland public Power utility poles.

4. Ordinance No. 1057-06: Authorizing a permit to St. Clair Superior Development Corporation to encroach into the public right-of-way of St. Clair Avenue from East 30th Street to Ansel Road and Superior Avenue from E. 30th Street to East 55th Street with banners to be attached to utility poles.

5. Ordinance No. 1062-06: To amend Section 559.02 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, OH, 1976, as amended by Ordinance No. 109-56, passed February 11, 1957, relating to the designation of the Cleveland Cultural gardens; and to enact new Sections 559.235 through 559.243 relating to future gardens.
This action will potentially create spots for nine more gardens. This is a conceptual approval of locations and expansion of boundaries. Specifically Site 5, the Azerbaijan Garden (which will be the first fully sponsored garden by a foreign government, and Site 8, which is proposed to be the Serbian Garden. This was approved with the addition of wording that will call for the expansion of landmark designation of the new garden borders.

6. Ordinance No. 1063-06: Authorizing the Director of the City Planning Commission to apply for and accept one or more grants from Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency for the Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative Program.
This is the second year of the grant program. Last year there were four recipients and this year there are three: V.A. Hospital (pedestrian friendly), Old Brooklyn (transit service along Pearl Road) and the Clark Metro area (bike path study along Train Avenue). The grants range from $30,000 to 75,000 and require a 20% match from the city. The appropriate CDC’s will administer each grant. They will be responsible for obtaining consultants.

Lot Split & Consolidation

1. 2129 Random Road, for Angie & Mary Sanders. This is a proposed lot split with an access easement (last tabled 6/16/06)
2. 2323 West 7th Street, for Daniel Hancock; split lot to be consolidated by Dave & Sue Kosyk


1. DRC 06-091: Ansel Road (at Kosciuszko), CMSD, Willson K-8 School, New Construction, Conceptual Review of a Redesign
Brick construction from Robert P. Madison International, Inc. (Cleveland Browns Stadium, East 9th Street Rapid Transit Station, CSU Science and Research Center, Gund Arena, Associate Architects - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum)

2. DRC 06-092: Woodland Avenue (nr East 30th Street), Cuyahoga Community College, Metropolitan Campus, Center for Innovation in the Arts, Conceptual Review (Same Architects as previous)
This is a conceptual schematic design for the Center. It will also house the R&R Hall of Fame Archives.

3. DRC 06-083: 2075 Stokes Boulevard, John Hay High School and School of the Arts Campus, Fence
This is in regards to a new fence that will encompass a majority of the school campus in University Circle. The whole planning, design and construction process cost $1.18 million - the fence, $35,000. It was designed by local artist, Arlene Watson.

4. DRC 06-093: 526 Superior Avenue, Leader Building, Signs and Awnings.
The contractor will remove old paint, add awnings and add new lettering for signage above the awnings. The Sam Klein lettering will not be changed due to the perceived historic element it holds.

Director’s Report

-Discussed the Plain Dealer article regarding Burke
Coyne: What ever happened to the capacity study?
Brown: The city might be able to start a preliminary study. This can lead to a full study.
Due to lighter jets and new technology, there may not be a need for a full runway.

- The new director has visited the Planning Commission two times since he was hired. This is a good sign (ed. Mok was invited numerous times and never met the commission during his tenure).

- Briefly discussed the West Shoreway

- Innerbelt:
= Still in review
= There is a sub-committee for design currently meeting
= What if the feds say that the bridge cannot go in the proposed location? Then they start over

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Scenes from iNGENUiTY 2006 - Saturday

Saturday was just as nice as Friday... if you went later in the afternoon when the sun had a chance to go down.

One of my favorite spots during the festival was defidently the East 5th Street Stage. Very cool spot. I hope somebody uses the space for more events.
My second favorite space was the vacant May Company building. This is where a lot of the technology display were kept . Way better then last years space inside the BP Building which was closed during the peak festival hours. I love this picture with everyone and their 3-d glasses.Mr. Bojangles gets the crowd going as he struts his stuff on the Family Stage.
The night scene down Prospect Avenue.
I wonder where they will hold it next year? A couple checking out the Catch 22 sound experiment in the Goldfish Building.
I asked the artist if there was a similar event going on in Seattle. He said no. The other end was in a university.I did nt stay for the Verb Ballet performance in the May Company Building parfornace stage. One, it was to crowded and, two, I had a feeling the performance, based on the events from 9/11, would be a downer... sorry, that's how it is.
The end of the night rocked with a performance by Dj Spooky, Rodaine (sp?) and visuals by local artist Kusami.
I think this person had too much fun.A total success, if you ask me.
I can't wait for next year.
If you would like to view the rest of the photos, go here for Saturday, and here if you missed the opening on Friday. Plus, there is a whole group dedicated to photos from iNGENUiTY at Flickr.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Windworks is Coming to the Science Center Wind Turbine

Cleveland Public Art has released a press release detailing the art component for the wind turbine located at the Great Lakes Science Center.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – Cleveland Public Art (CPA) in partnership with the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) commissioned renowned New York artists Allan & Ellen Wexler to create a permanent educational public art installation surrounding the GLSC’s new full scale wind turbine at the museum’s lakefront location. Coined WindWorks, the installation will utilize art as a tool for educating, inspiring, and engaging the public while demystifying wind power and its potential for the Greater Cleveland region. Together, the turbine and artwork will make a powerful visual statement about Northeast Ohio’s growing commitment to environmental sustainability. WindWorks will be the first project of its kind in the United States. Construction of the artwork is scheduled to begin summer 2006 with completion anticipated in the fall of 2006.

After a national Call for Artists fall 2005, artists Allan & Ellen Wexler’s winning concept was selected based on their extensive experience in public art, architecture, and educationally-based art installations. The artwork will: make visual and personal the idea that our homes’ electricity can be created by the wind; turn attention towards the turbine’s function as a producer of clean energy; create an environment that invites and encourages exploration of the wind turbine; be intriguing when the artwork is viewed from above (City Hall, Cleveland Browns Stadium, blimp during football games); draw people to the turbine from the main street sidewalk and from the GLSC; highlight the connections between art and science, form and function; transform the turbine into sculpture before our eyes.

Specifically, WindWorks will create two pedestrian pathways whose forms are derived from the actual shadows of the wind turbine on the day of the equinox. Walking the "shadow pathways" will draw eyes upward to consider the beautiful form and function of the wind turbine. After walking one of the shadows, viewers will converge at a plaza ringing the turbine's base. Divided into 24 sections symbolizing 24 hours, inside the plaza they will encounter a series of sculptural seating arrangement created in cast concrete. The sculptural arrangements will be based on calculations of the average American's home electricity consumption, represented by the traditional one hundred watt light bulb. Based on calculations provided by the US Department of Energy, 4,167 one hundred watt bulbs, illuminated for a full 24 hours, is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of one American household. Artists Allan and Ellen Wexler’s “sitable sculpture” is comprised of 4,167 cast concrete bulbs. In addition, on the floor of the plaza, bronze text will be inlaid into the concrete to present related facts such as calculating wind direction and other environmental factors present on Cleveland’s lakefront.

For more information about the Wexlers and their past projects, please visit

Allan & Ellen Wexler were selected from 49 artists/designers from across the country who submitted to Cleveland Public Art’s Call for Artists fall 2005. The selection committee consisted of David Bergholz (Artist & former Executive Director, Gund Foundation), Val Davillier (Director of Exhibitions, Great Lakes Science Center), Don Harvey (Artist), Linda Henrichsen (Planning Commission, City of Cleveland), Kevin Madison (Architect, Robert Madison International), Tom Schorgl (President, Community Partnership for Arts & Culture), Jennifer Thomas (Director, Civic Innovation Lab, The Cleveland Foundation), Andrew Watterson (Sustainability Manager, City of Cleveland), and Ann Zoller (Executive Director, ParkWorks).

Current funders of the WindWorks project include the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners’ Arts & Culture as Economic Development Fund, the Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund, The Dominion Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council (funding recommended, awaiting final approval), Forest City Enterprises Charitable Foundation, the John P. Murphy Foundation, FirstEnergy Foundation, Oatey, The Wolpert Fund of The Cleveland Foundation, the Billie Howland Steffee Family Fund, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, the Jones Day Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, and The George Gund Foundation.

For the complete press release, click here.

It has been about a year since the proposal to place a wind turbine at GLSC. When it was proposed, Lillian Kuri was the Planning Commission member who suggested incorporating some public art with installation. I seem to recall the issue being there would be this massive pole in the air and it would be nice if there some color to break up the blandness. So I was a little surprised to see the rendering showing all of the art components as ground based. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

According to the press release, there will be "...a series of sculptural seating arrangement created in cast concrete. The sculptural arrangements will be based on calculations of the average American's home electricity consumption, represented by the traditional one hundred watt light bulb." The whole piece is being billed as "sitable."

After looking through the artist's website, I noticed they have a very similar installation in Hanover, Germany called "In the Shadow of the Wind." Except their piece is not all at ground level (although some portions are because of the terrain - a mojority of the art as much as three feet off the ground), and it incorporates coal and tree trunks embedded throughout the structure.

I am dissappointed in this piece. Unless the other pieces from the compitetion were that inferior, I feel we are getting leftover art.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Scenes from iNGENUiTY 2006 - Thursday

The weather could not have been more perfect - well, the humidity was a little high.
There must have been close to 3,000 people (including percussionist) on Public Square for Halim el Dabh's "Symphony of 1000 Drums." With the help of Blake, the director, the crowd listen to el Dabh's tribalistic songs of peace and harmony. I'm fairly certain if this was happening in a more progressive city, the whole crowd would have been dancing... but not Cleveland residents.

After the 45 minute long set, the Shaw High School Marching Band led the crowd from Public Square to Prospect Avenue, the main street for the festival while Euclid Avenue is under reconstrctuion for the Euclid Corridor Project.

I have to admit, when I saw Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson walking down the street around 6:30, I thought "Here we Go!", but about an hour and a half later, he was still here talking to whoever wanted to speak to him... that was nice to see. I wonder if he will come back down any time during the rest of the festival.

The night time crowd was a little on the lite side, but it was Thursday. It was still nice to see the streets full of people.

I loved the WAVE East 5th Street Stage. What a cool, intimate place for bands to play. It was crowded, but that lent to the environment. All that was missing was a clous of second-hand cigarette smoke... or at least a smoke machine to give it that old club feel.

The last performance of the evening was in the May Company Building stage. (Wow, what an environment for performances!) Apotheosis gave the crowd a mind boggling mix of breakdancing, and video and audio Mash-ups. Very cool stuff.

I did not go on Friday - I knew it was going to be crappy out and did not want to deal with everyone running around trying to get away from the rain. I will most likely be there on Saturday and Sunday.
If you want to see al 42 pictures from Thursday, goto my Flickr set, here.

There is also a Flickr pool that has photos from last year and this year on it here.

June 16, 2006 Summary of the Cleveland Planning Commission

Cleveland Planning Commission Report, June 16 2006

Call to order – 9:12 AM

Roll Call –

Tony Coyne
Bob Brown
Lillian Kuri
Gloria Jean Pinkney
David Bowen
Rev. S. Small

Joe Cimperman
Larry Lumpkin


1. Ordinance No. 1002-06: To change the zoning of lands located on the north side of Spring Road, south of Gino Lane, and on the east side of Jennings Freeway from a One Family Residential District and an ‘A’ Area District to a General Industry District and a ‘B’ Area District.
This is for a construction landfill owned by Edgerton Holdings in the South Hills neighborhood of the city. The former owner did not abide by city rules and had there license revoked in 2003.
Area homeowners expressed concern about erosion and run-off in the area. Current owners are have discussed issues with the Army Core of Engineers and the feasibility of culverting the stream.

2. Ordinance No. XXXX-06: To change the Use District of a parcel of land located on the southwest corner of Rowley Avenue and West 11th Street from a Two-Family Residential District to a Local Retail Business District.
This is for the Christmas Story House museum. It will be separate from the original house. The bottom story will house the museum and a shop, and museum director will live on the second story. Currently, parcel are being acquired for parking.


1. Ordinance No. 984-06: Authorizing the improvement to Jennings road between Spring Road and the Jennings Freeway ramp.

2. Ordinance No. 985-06: Constructing on Lorain Avenue between West 150th Street and Fairview Hospital; Authorizing the Director of Public Service to enter into one or more public improvement contracts for the making of the improvement; and authorizing the director to enter into an agreement with the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company to pay premium charges for the installation.

3. Ordinance No. 986-06: Regarding Contract No. 63664 providing additional design services from Detroit Shoreway Community Development organization.

4. Ordinance No. 988-06: The public improvement to the Highland Park Golf Course, including but not limited to cart paths, fairways, bunkers, and drainage, and to make an additional appropriation of $600,000 of the Enterprise Funds.

5. Ordinance No. 991-06: To amend the title and Section 1 of Ordinance No. 2246-05, passed December 5, 2005, relating to the sale of real property as part of the Land Reutilization Program and located on Holmden Avenue to First Interstate Development Company Ltd.

6. Ordinance No. 992-06: Authorizing the transfer of the Trinity Building, located at 9207 Detroit Avenue to the Department of Economic Development for future redevelopment.

7. Ordinance No. 993-06: Authorizing the additional services needed to complete Phase II of the Midland Steel project, and to expand environmental services provided for completion of the project, provide security and to perform maintenance at the Midland Steel site located at 10615 Madison Avenue.

8. Resolution No. 999-06: Declaring it necessary to the public health and welfare that Euclid Avenue between Public Square and East 70th be improved by reconstructing or abandoning sidewalk vaults encroaching upon the public right-of-way.

Lot Split
1. 5113 – 5115 Herman Avenue (approved)
2. 2129 Random Road (Re-tabled)

Broadway BRD:
6542 Broadway Avenue, Key Beverage & Liquor: Demolition of existing 3000 SF building and construction of new 4800 SF retail store.

Midtown BRD:
7621 – 7711 Euclid Avenue, Erie Square Apartments, Monument Sign (oversized)

Design Review

1. DRC 06-081: 4315 West 140th Street, CMSD, Artemus Ward K-* School, New Construction, Conceptual Review
The new school will be 65,000 sq ft compared to the current 35,000.
Approved with the following conditions: Straighten out the portion of the building whose setback is at an angle, increase play area address learning garden location and add glass to the central stairwell. (per recommendations from design review)

2. DRC 06-082: 4550 West 150th Street, CMSD, R.G. Jones K-8 School, New Construction, Conceptual Review
The current building is a one-story structure with 42,000 sq ft. The new building will be 65,000 sq ft. Discussion led to recommendation of more collaboration between the school and park districts.

3. DRC 06-083: (Withdrawn) 2075 Stokes Boulevard, John Hay High School and School of the Arts Campus, Fence

4. DRC 06-084: 320 Huron road, N.W., Former M.K. Ferguson Building, Quicken Loans Call Center, Two business identification signs.
Manufactured by Brilliant Sign Company
The proposed sign letters will be backlit and gold in color similar to the Chase signs on Tower City Center. It was noted that the company M.K. Ferguson know longer exists and is now called the Washington Group

Monday, July 10, 2006

CSU Project Staus for July

With the summer construction season well under way, there is busy work all over campus - not to metion on Euclid Avenue. Here are the status of current state funded projects.

Recreation Center
o Interior finishes are near completion.
o Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology systems are being installed.
o Site work is underway.
o Final FF&E purchases are being completed.

Parker Hannafin Administration Center / Hall
o Roof on Administration Center is complete.
o Floors in the Administration Building are complete.
o Metal studs, ductwork, sprinkler lines and electrical rough-in are complete in the 2nd & 3rd floor
Administration Building.
o Administration Building exterior masonry has begun.

East Parking Garage
o Elevated decks are complete.
o Structural steel for stairs and elevators are complete.
o Brick and Masonry has begun.
o Glass and roof for stairs to start July 10th.
o Elevators to start July 24th.

Fenn Tower Residence Hall
o Punch list underway, suites on floors 9-17 complete.
o Cleaning of tower suites underway.
o Furniture delivery scheduled for July 5th.
o Window installation complete.
o Drywall installation, paint, flooring (carpet, vinyl tile, & painted concrete), cabinetry and plumbing fixtures
for floors Basement – 8th is 60% complete.

Main Classroom Stair Tower Phase 1A
o Demolition of quad lecture halls complete.
o Mechanical and electrical tie-ins are underway.
o Excavation for stair tower foundation to begin early July.

Main Classroom Plaza Build Out Phase 1B
o Design Development drawings are at 95% and are being reviewed.

Student Center Phase II
o Contracts have been approved.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Does Walmart Care About Your Town, or Money?

Now that Walmart's grasp on the region will be complete once it is open in Steelyard Commons, what kind of center should expect when it's doors open. Will it be the kinder and genler walmart the pr machine would have us think? Or, will it be business as usual (hear the sound of mom-and-pop store fronts shutting down with months after the grand opening)
Allthough this is going to happen anyway - people will always want to find the least expensive gadget's made in China - the press will have you think the company really does care about the towns, cities, and communities they move into.
Maybe it is real.

From the Wall Street Journal:
Wal-Mart Warms to Al Gore

Former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore is planning to address Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives next week at the retailer’s quarterly conference on sustainability, part of the company’s recent efforts to become an environmental leader, a Wal-Mart spokesman confirmed.

Gore will speak on global warming, the subject of his recently released documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The conference is an outgrowth of Wal-Mart’s mission, outlined by Chief Executive Lee Scott last November, to minimize its negative impact on the environment. At the time, Wal-Mart committed to, among other things, reduce energy use in its stores, improve the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet and substantially cut down on solid waste produced by its stores.

Wal-Mart has seized on the issue of sustainability in an effort to bolster positive public relations at a time when its various business practices have been heavily criticized, from its worker pay and health benefits to its effect on smaller retailers. Still, the company has attempted to make changes. For example, it outfitted its trucks with an alternative power unit that uses 90% less fuel than its engines do while idling. The company created 14 internal networks to explore and implement more environmentally sound business practices. The 14 groups, made up of both Wal-Mart executives and outside experts, focus on different business areas, including operations and logistics, food and agriculture, textiles, global greenhouse gas and jewelry and mining.

Called the sustainable value network, the groups meet individually throughout the year. They also hold their own conferences. Last month, for instance, Wal-Mart held a two-day conference on sustainability and textiles. It brought together Wal-Mart executives, environmental consultants and members of nonprofit groups to discuss issues surrounding organic textiles, including certification and standards. Next week’s meeting, held at the company’s home office in Bentonville, Ark., is one of four where all the company’s internal groups working on sustainability issues get together to discuss progress, stumbling blocks and other issues. –Ann Zimmerman

This is one month after hiring the Rocky Mountain Institute as a consulatant. From the Benton County Daily Record in Arkansas.

BENTONVILLE — As the world’s largest retailer embarks on a mission to go green, the company has recognized a need to call in the professionals.

The Rocky Mountain Institute, a research and consulting organization based in Snowmass, Colo., has a consulting contract with Wal-Mart on two primary areas, according to Cory Lowe, RMI’s outreach coordinator. The company primarily provides consulting work to large companies and government entities.

In logistics, Wal-Mart is seeking to double the efficiency of its trucking fleet. "They have one of the largest trucking fleets in the country," Lowe said. "The best truck in their fleet gets roughly eight miles per gallon. We’re going to help them double it."

Besides moving product, Wal-Mart also wants to make its physical real estate energy efficient. "The second part is helping them to redesign some of their stores to make them more energy efficient," Lowe said. "They spend lots and lots of dollars every year on heating and cooling costs. By making (the stores) energy efficient, they’re going to cut down on their costs. They’re seeing it as a good business decision and an environmental decision."

That, in essence, is RMI’s goal — to show companies that going green can also be a good business decision. "Our mission is to help show people that they can continue to live sort of a modern and comfortable life but do it far better in terms of energy efficiency and cut down their impact," Lowe said. "We’ve been criticized a few times for working for Wal-Mart — but our CEO feels strongly that because Wal-Mart has such a large market share that if they can decide to do things better, it can really have a huge impact."

In the business world, everything comes down to the dollar figures. "We’re making a business case, especially to these big, big clients," Lowe said. "If we can’t talk in terms of dollars and cents and how it affects their bottom line, we’re not going to be effective."

The RMI Web site discusses community design and transportation solutions in Smart Growth development patterns. Smart Growth encourages walkable, compact, mixed-use developments.

A team of architects and designers are working on the nuts and bolts of designing green buildings for Wal-Mart, Lowe said — but they’re stopping there, and following their contract. "We’re presenting some ideas and showing Wal-Mart how they can do things any better," Lowe said. But the designers are not redesigning entire Wal-Mart sites to make them more Smart Growth-oriented or pedestrian friendly.

In traditional Smart Growth design, buildings are pushed up to the street, with parking in the rear. That allows pedestrians, cyclists and other transit types to safely function in conjunction with automobiles. "We’ve worked on some Smart Growth issues in other applications, but with Wal-Mart it really hasn’t come into play," Lowe said. With Wal-Mart, RMI is focusing on the components of the building, not the way it addresses the street.

Wal-Mart is often criticized for furthering sprawl, in which automobile-dependent development spreads out from city edges, gobbling acres of green land. If all customers are forced to drive to the stores, the impact on the environment could still be substantial.

RMI bases its consulting work on a concept called Whole Systems Design, which incorporates different realms of thought — engineering, environmentalism and architecture, for example — to solve a problem. The organization is a natural-resource think tank. The company is also well known for the book "Natural Capitalism," which was published in 1999 by the two founders of RMI, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, and author Paul Hawken. "The basic idea for the whole book is basically that by addressing a problem, you need to address a lot of different areas, or areas of thought," Lowe said. "Problems don’t exist independently of each other." "As outlined in our book ‘Natural Capitalism,’ RMI knows that least-cost enduse includes the significant improvement of public transportation, as well as alternatives to actual transportation, such as intelligent community design, Smart Growth and telecommuting, among others," the company’s Web site states.

So will RMI try to influence Wal-Mart with its Smart Growth background? Probably not, Lowe said. "We haven’t addressed that with them at all," he said. RMI is staying within the lines of its contract. "We feel like if we overstep our bounds and make too many recommendations, we may not have the opportunity of working with them at all," he said. "The scope of this project has been fairly detailed in those two components," he said, referring to trucking and green construction. "We haven’t really spread beyond it at all."

The company probably won’t press the issue, according to Lowe. "Wal-Mart approached us and said, ‘Here’s what we think you can help us on.’ We haven’t reversed it and said, ‘Here’s what we think you can do better.’ It may very well be at the end of this project, Wal-Mart says, ‘ Hey, you did great work; what’s next, what do you think?’" he said.
One month before this, Walmart CEO Lee Scott met with the Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender.
You can read Hollenders account here (it is long):

Does this mean Walmart has decided to take a more sustainable approach to it business philosophy, or are they just concerned with the bottom line?
Maybe both.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cleveland Planning Website Update

The web Page for the Cleveland Planning Commission has undergone a long due update.
Although not not a complete reworking, it at least gives easier access to the Waterfront and the mostly complete Master Plan.
It would be nice if there were bios ofthe commission and staff... put a name with the face.
The Interactive GIS Map of the city appears to be the same data from three years ago - it is still pretty functional and user freindly.
Check it out at

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This is not a wish....

Wouldn't it be really cool if there was a press release stating that a certain local businessman and philanthropist and overall rich (and possibly too libertarian) gave CSU money?

Wouldn't it be really cool if that money was somewhere in the amount of $25,000?

You know what would be reeeaaallly cool? What if that money was to be used for a planning study for a performing/fine arts center - maybe on the land immediately south of the Communications College?

Wait, it would be really super-duper cool if the firm doing the planning study was an internationally recognized, award winning local architectural firm who has already done work at CSU.

Hmmmmm, that would be great news.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The True Cost of Driving

Found this on the Community Sollutions web site.
Enter in the appropriate amounts and find out what the true cost is of driving.
From their website:
Most people immediately think of the direct costs of driving: purchasing and maintaining a car, paying for gas and oil, insurance, Most people immediately think of the direct costs of driving: purchasing and maintaining a car, paying for gas and oil, insurance, registration and parking. Further from the mind are other costs associated with automobiles such as road construction and maintenance that are paid for less directly, via taxes and fees. Since those costs aren't paid for directly by car owners, they usually aren't calculated as costs of driving. In addition, there are the other hidden environmental and social costs that drivers and non-drivers alike pay to support our primary mode of transportation - the automobile.

Through this short calculation sheet you can calculate your costs based on your specific vehicle miles traveled in order to identify what you really pay to drive each year. Once all costs are considered, it quickly becomes clear that it might be cheaper to consider transportation alternatives such as riding a bike, using the bus, vanpooling, carpooling, walking or telecommuting. Call 831/429-POOL for more information or assistance.
Go try it out.