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The Sound of Ideas

Lessons from Green Cities

Posted Monday, November 9, 2009

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Lessons from Green Cities At the first Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit in August, citizens and local leaders generated ideas ranging from the practical to the somewhat dreamy. The thing is, Cleveland doesn't have to re-invent this wheel. In his recent books Green Urbanism and Resilient Cities, Tim Beatley tells the stories of how city planners have greened their communities, such as Helsinki, where hot water from power plants is piped to nearby buildings to provide heat, or Freiburg, where there no cars downtown. Beatley is coming to town for an event with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs. Monday morning at 9, we'll talk to him and local thinkers and doers about Greater Cleveland's potential for a greener future.


Economy, Environment, Government/Politics, Other, Community/Human Interest, Housing/Real Estate, Technology, Transportation


Timothy Beatley Professor of Sustainable Communities, The University of Virginia
Terry Schwarz senior planner, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University
Andrew Watterson Chief of Sustainability, City of Cleveland

Additional Information

Dr. Timothy Beatley will speak at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History this Friday, November 13th at 7:30 p.m. More information
Check out Beatley's Green Urbanism Down Under

Leave a Comment

Please follow our community discussion rules when composing your comments.

Jon 9:00 AM 11/9/09

I look down from my building at the Cuyahoga and the bridges - the RTA bridge, the Detroit-Superior, Inner-Belt, Hope Bridge, and so on.  So many south-facing, unobstructed, long, wind-protected surfaces for solar-panels.  Why not?  These could be a lot cheaper than other electrical sources, there IS a lot more sunlight in NEO than people realize, and if it could lessen the electricity bill of the RTA, Cleveland, or simply power the lights on the bridges, it would probably recoup their investments fairly quickly.  Again, why not?

Jon 9:03 AM 11/9/09

Adding to my last comment on solar panels on the bridges over the Cuyahoga, if so: make them feed power to condos and businesses in the flats - imagine that as an economic development and residential draw - free electricity?

Thank you for this show idea.  This is what we need to engender an ethic of innovative thinking into our community, a community that tends to shy away from new ideas.

Mark Calabro 9:27 AM 11/9/09

Good morning,

Terry, Andrew, Dan,

To re-purpose Cleveland’s abundant vacant land, how about constructing a wind turbine farm through the East 55th corridor? Abandoned buildings could be torn down and replaced with turbines. 

Sustainable farming could take place on the ground below the turbines.

This could bridge the gap between downtown/CSU and the University Circle/Case areas.



Rodger James Sillars 11:43 PM 11/9/09

During the show I heard the host comment about efficient German trains that RTA could never do that.  We need to expect that RTA can do that and demand that RTA management do it.  RTA continues to let us down and we must not let ourselves accept less than great performance.  The RTA of the past had a much better reputation.

J Talker 10:44 AM 11/13/09

Comment on Jon’s comment on “so many south-facing surfaces” in Cleveland.

Cleveland is a city with a nominally East-West axis especially on the West Side.  Have you ever looked at an aerial photograph of Cleveland’s West Side, including Lakewood, and all the peaked roofs?  Almost all have a south-facing slope. Most of these roof slopes are close to the optimal angle for capturing solar energy at Cleveland’s latitude.  There are thousands (maybe tens of thousands?) of these slopes on houses on the residential side streets that run north and south between the major east-west and northeast - southwest running arterials there.  Much of this exists on the East Side as well.


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Every weekday at 9:00 AM (EST), The Sound of Ideas reports the news, explains the news, and sometimes makes news. The Cleveland Press Club awarded it “Best Radio Show” in Ohio and thousands daily find it to be an indispensable source of information about what’s most important to Northeast Ohioans.

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Funding for Ideas/Sound of Ideas comes from The George Gund Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Eaton, the George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation, The Robert O. and Annamae Orr Family Foundation, and the Nord Family Foundation.