Cuyahoga Sustainability Network

EPA Grant Number: X3832305
Title: Cuyahoga Sustainability Network
Investigators: Schwartz, Stuart S. , Reichert, Alan , Bradley, Allen
Current Investigators: Schwartz, Stuart S. , Reichert, Alan , Bradley, Allen , Mikelbank, Brian , Schwarz, Terry
Institution: University of Maryland - Baltimore County , Cleveland State University , University of Iowa
Current Institution: University of Maryland - Baltimore County , Cleveland State University , Kent State University , University of Iowa
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: May 1, 2005 through November 1, 2010
Project Amount: $286,423
RFA: Collaborative Science & Technology Network for Sustainability (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainable and Healthy Communities , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


The Cuyahoga Sustainability Network (CSN) will apply ecosystem science and spatial decision technology to improve sustainable decision making for the Cuyahoga River Valley. To accomplish this goal, CSN will establish a portfolio of interdisciplinary teams and coordinated science and technology applications that collectively support a systems approach to sustainable development, focused on regional landuse decisions and their ecosystem impacts in the Cuyahoga River Valley. The science and technology core draws on interdisciplinary expertise in decision science and applied research on the relationship between the structure and scale of land use decisions and urban stream ecosystems. Integrating ecosystem science with interactive spatial decision support technology will enrich regional land transformation decisions; both individual decision making (e.g. housing preference) municipal decision making (e.g., zoning and storm water requirements) and regulatory decision making (e.g., use attainability, urban stream standards, and regulatory standards for integrated site design).

The CSN integrates regional partnerships and interdisciplinary expertise spanning the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainable decision making, focused at the intersection of land transformation decisions and their consequences for aquatic ecosystems. Collectively the proposed program elements address essential information needs and will develop and implement transferable spatial decision tools that couple the multi-scale effects of land transformation decisions to ecosystem responses in urbanized streams.


To foster a systems approach toward landscape decision making, CSN will develop multi-objective spatial decision tools and target key information needs informing the environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainable development. CSN is structured as a coordinated portfolio of interdisciplinary teams addressing six program elements. Individually these program elements target needs and opportunities to fill key information gaps. Collectively these projects combine to provide the foundation for systems thinking across decision-making scales ranging from individual decisions on the scale of home purchases and individual lot characteristics, to neighborhood, community, catchment and watershed scales that cumulatively determine the ecological sustainability of urbanizing streams, and the social and economic sustainability of regional growth and development.

The Cuyahoga Sustainability Network will strongly complement robust regional partnerships and the unique strengths of Cleveland State University to form interdisciplinary teams with expertise in urban ecology, hydrologic engineering, economics, finance, Geographic Information Systems, urban planning, history, and decision science. This rich capability is organized through six program elements:

  1. Urban Stream Ecology;
  2. Site Development Hydrology;
  3. Hedonic Pricing;
  4. Community Environmental Histories;
  5. Multi-objective Spatial Decision making;
  6. and Outreach and Technology Transfer.

Expected Results:

The key problem addressed by CSN is the need for better information and better decision tools to support sustainable development decisions as urban and suburban metroplexes grow, evolve, age, and rejuvenate themselves. We focus in particular on the manifestation of decision making as land transformation decisions that shape, alter, and ultimately define the landscape. The six program elements establish a portfolio of collaborative teams applying research in the science, engineering, economics, and social consequences of land use and land transforming decisions. Our strategic approach fosters interdisciplinary teams and partnerships to establish the foundation supporting a systems approach to regional decision making, focused on the sustainability of land transformation decisions and their cumulative effects on aquatic ecosystems. Recognizing these program elements will not “solve” the problem, the science and technology applications are targeted to key information needs, coupled through the CSN as dynamic sustainable partnerships that will grow to support a science and technology-based network for sustainable decision making.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 4 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

sustainable development, decision making, community-based, socioeconomic, Great Lakes,, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Industry/Business, sustainable development, Sustainable Environment, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Technology for Sustainable Environment, decision-making, Urban and Regional Planning, Economics & Decision Making, policy analysis, spatial landscape model, policy making, urban planning, Cuyahoga River Valley, decision making, environmental decision making, education, environmental sustainability, community based environmental planning, information dissemination, environmental policy, sustainable urban environment, outreach and education, public policy, spatial decision technology, decision support tool

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • Final Report