Leading an eco-conscious lifestyle is sometimes challenging in densely populated, urban areas. In response to this ecological conundrum, the Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) worked alongside the city of Cleveland, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and a collection of local volunteers to implement a strategic series of green redevelopment projects, resulting in a nationally recognized ecovillage in Cleveland.
The ecovillage, nestled within the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, sits alongside Cleveland’s vibrant Gordon Square Arts District and is located within close proximity to Lake Erie, downtown and public transit systems, making it a national demonstration project that showcases transit-oriented development. Cleveland’s ecovillage provides a diverse, eco-community intended to sustainably revitalize the city’s core and prevent urban sprawl.
What Is an Ecovillage?
An ecovillage is a group of people living collectively on green principles in sustainable, energy-efficient homes. The community works together to limit waste and to make a positive environmental impact through community gardens, farmers markets and other sustainable efforts.
Why Is Transit-Oriented Development Important?
Transit-oriented development is a method of sustainable construction that creates a walkable, bike-friendly neighborhood within a half-mile of public transportation. Developing communities with public transportation in mind limits emissions from the daily commute to and from work.
Cleveland’s ecovillage is strategically centered around the W.65th/Lorain Avenue RTA Rapid Station as a model of transit-oriented development. Only two miles west of Downtown Cleveland, the city’s transit system offers an environmentally friendly mode of transportation to work and play. The station was revitalized and reopened as the first green retrofit that the RTA ever implemented with an existing station.
A Diverse Eco-Community in Cleveland
Health and Fitness Within Arm’s Reach
Across the street from the rapid station, the Michael Zone Recreation Center is the largest city owned greenspace on the west side of Cleveland, sitting on roughly 22 acres of land. Though it features many eco-improvements, it’s most notable is an on-site storm water capture system, making it a wonderful addition to the eco-community.
Cleveland’s LEED Platinum House
Sitting inside the Cleveland ecovillage at the corner of 58th and Pear is the city’s first and only LEED Platinum house. It can be heated and cooled for roughly $400 per year thanks to energy-efficient windows and an extremely well-insulated attic. All construction materials were sustainably sourced from the plant-based linoleum in the kitchen to the low-VOC paint covering the walls. Even the garbage leaving the site during construction was tracked to ensure a sustainable building process from beginning to end.
Newly Built Ecovillage Townhomes and Energy-Efficient Renovations
According to Adam Davenport, Project & Operations Manager for DSCDO, the team rehabbed around 5 homes in the area to achieve higher energy efficiency. In addition, 50-60 units of housing, ranging from ecovillage townhomes to single-family houses, have sprouted up in the area, all adhering to green building practices.
The combination of green fabricated homes and renovated older homes makes the Cleveland ecovillage unique in comparison to the newly-built, intentional ecovillages in Ithaca, NY, for example.
Not only will you find sustainable housing in the Cleveland ecovillage, but the land surrounding also fosters a green environment designed to bring the community together. Residents of the ecovillage gather to care for the community garden, harvest their crops for local farmers markets and enjoy the various pocket parks in the area.
“The area is pretty unique with a lot of community gardens. There’s a couple market gardens where the owners sell their produce at the local farmers’ markets. Schools within the area participate in the garden and projects. “
Adam Davenport | Detroit Shoreway
Along with the residents, the ecovillage also provides an opportunity for students in surrounding schools to learn about sustainability and green building. Students at Metro Catholic School painted birdhouses to be displayed in the ecovillage while learning about the benefits of sustainability and green building.
“Two years ago, we redid a small pocket park that formerly housed a vacant house that got torn down and became a derelict parcel. We worked with students at Maxwell Hayes and a bunch of volunteers to turn it into a nice little pocket park over there.”
Adam Davenport | Detroit Shoreway
An eco-community situated within an urban neighborhood, Cleveland’s ecovillage cultivates a blend of new sustainable construction and rehabbed properties centered around the needs of the community.
Budget Dumpster is your community-focused source for a dumpster rental in Cleveland. This article is part of a series spotlighting organizations that are making a difference in the communities we serve. If you know of another great organization, let us know in the comments!