Sustainable Communities

A high-road toolkit for development that protects the environment, boosts the economy and promotes equity

Photo by Jennifer Manna

This series of reports is a “toolkit” to help Ohio policymakers, community leaders and neighbors identify, develop and advocate for policies that encourage high-road development. Our approach embodies the three E’s of sustainability: environment, economy and equity.

Drive investments for a sustainable future
Despite the demise of federal climate change legislation, cities across the nation continue efforts started under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to revitalize their communities and make them more sustainable. One of the most inspiring examples is the very local, collaborative effort to help Oberlin, Ohio, grow the local economy, build pathways out of poverty for local residents, and create a model for sustainable economic development. To support their efforts, Policy Matters Ohio documents best practices from cities around the country that can be part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy. These resources can help your community find ways to drive local investment in the clean-energy economy.

Maximize value of investments to the community
Far too often, we have taken the low road to economic development, believing that cutting taxes and slashing wages would revive state economic growth. These policies have not produced the promised job growth — instead they have drained public coffers and led to cuts in public education and safety net services. But Ohio can change course, and this toolkit can help communities get back on the high road.

Use these data and policy tools to help make sure your community’s investments in the clean energy economy create opportunities for local businesses, good jobs for local residents, and career pathways out of poverty for historically disadvantaged workers.

Key partners

Cuyahoga County Council is currently deliberating the Community Benefit and Opportunity Initiative, a 10-point sustainable development plan put together by an alliance of diverse stakeholders with help from Policy Matters Ohio and the Partnership for Working Families.  

The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of the city of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.

Emerald Cities Cleveland is working to improve Cuyahoga County by increasing energy efficiency, sparking high-road job creation, and building economic opportunity for marginalized communities in small businesses, municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, and commercial and multifamily housing.

Recent releases

Admin, March 21, 2017
Admin, February 9, 2017
Policy Matters Ohio, September 15, 2015
Policy Matters Ohio, June 23, 2015
Policy Matters Ohio, April 7, 2015
Policy Matters Ohio, December 16, 2014
Policy Matters Ohio, May 19, 2014
Policy Matters Ohio, December 11, 2013
Policy Matters Ohio, October 1, 2013
Policy Matters Ohio, September 10, 2013