Cleveland Issues Sustainability ‘Playbook’

Cleveland sports teams are not known for finishing in first place. But, when it comes to being a sustainable city, Mayor Frank Jackson insists that “Cleveland can and will be the first and we will do it best.”

The mayor, who is just starting his second term, envisions a 10-year effort to create “Sustainable Cleveland 2019: Building an Economic Engine to Empower a Green City on a Blue Lake.” It’s catchy and the ThreePs are well represented: People (city), Planet (green city on a blue lake), and Profit (economic engine).

The playbook has been written and it’s now available online in the form of the final report from this year’s first Cleveland sustainability summit. Here, you’ll find 28 key initiatives (think of them as offensive plays), covering everything from advanced energy, green building and communications, to local foods, transportation and “waste to profit.”

By putting out such a complete report, it’s open for all to see, evaluate and use. This, of course, means that even competing cities have the benefit of the same playbook – call it leveling the playing the field or sharing the wealth.

Quality of ideas is important, but it only gets you so far. At some point – in Cleveland’s case, that’s the next nine and a half years – the winner is decided by the determination of the players and the excellence in execution. In a city where “wait ‘til next year” is a familiar refrain, the building and rebuilding begin immediately, and we have until 2019 to get it right.

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