In August of 2009, Cleveland’s Mayor Frank Jackson and his administration convened a summit entitled “Sustainable Cleveland 2019.” The summit highlighted the city’s commitment to sustainability as a key economic development strategy. Moreover, the summit served as an opportunity for the people around the region with expertise in sustainable practices to collaborate on scalable projects to achieve larger impact. One collaborating group consisting of architects, activists, and educators, from Cleveland State, Case Western Reserve, and Tri-C, as well as the head of Cleveland’s library system, advanced the idea of a linking the pursuit of “world class sustainability education” to the context of a sustainable neighborhood. Such neighborhoods would feature a library, elementary school, middle school, high school, and a college that are connected by shared educational commitment to learning and implementing the concepts of sustainability in the community.
The group, which eventually named itself the “Collaborative Campus,” acknowledged that the infrastructure for the sustainable neighborhood they envisioned already exists in the community surrounding Tri-C’s downtown campus. The proximity of the Sterling Library, Marion Sterling Elementary School, Jane Addams High School, and Design Lab Early College High School to Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus and the willingness of the same organizations to collaborate present ideal opportunities to develop educational initiatives that support sustainability in the local community.