Cleveland City Living

Cleveland City Living
Fun tips, tricks and advantages to living in Downtown Cleveland Ohio!

Window Farming!

It’s not your imagination – the ‘burbs are becoming more cramped. With half of the world’s population living in urban centers, and another other 1/3 moving into them by 2050, the trend towards urbanization is becoming a growing concern for everyone.

A survey conducted back in 1998 of 24 American cities by Fannie Mae expected the number of downtown residents to grow by 2010 – some by more than 200%. Well, 2010 has arrived, and not only has ‘downtown’ living risen; it’s probably not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, a survey conducted of baby boomers found that only 49% of respondents even had a backyard to begin with!


If you’re like me, you enjoy the perks that come with having a backyard. In particular, one of my most treasured parts of having a backyard is having a garden. I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but I don’t mind planting a few things – and if it grows, even better! Not to mention a garden allows me to scratch a few things off my grocery list. But if these urbanization trends do continue unabashed, the whole concept of a garden might evaporate.

But not is all lost for the gardens of old! The other day, a colleague of mine showed me a site demonstrating the art of window farms – a type of urban agriculture rapidly growing in popularity. While this idea may be tailored for those in dense urban centers like New York or Tokyo, its concept can be adopted almost anywhere. Not only are these vertical veggie farms healthy and low energy, but they also make a pretty unique window display.

(Photos from Britta and Rebecca’s photostream on Flickr)

The idea came to life when Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray, (an artist-in-residence duo at Eyebeam – a nonprofit art and technology center in the US) developed the ‘Window Farms experiment’. Utilizing social networking, the pair developed a Do It Yourself and community support system for creating vertical gardens.

Window farms can be constructed using recycled materials and are completely hydroponic. There is dedication involved, but the end result is definitely worth it. If you’re next buyer is a garden enthusiast seeking out urban living, offer up this enviro-friendly solution.

Cleveland Crain’s Article:

Cleveland’s abatements a plus 
3:54 pm, February 27, 2007

Though it’s a program that reduces taxes for property owners, the city of Cleveland’s 20-year-old residential tax abatement program eventually will generate new property tax revenue for the city and the county, according to a study released by Cleveland State University.

Mark S. Rosentraub, dean of CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, told Cleveland City Council this morning that the increased tax revenue can be attributed to the city’s tax abatement policy largely because 60% of Cleveland home buyers chose the city due to the availability of the abatement.

The Cleveland State study says the city, the Cleveland Municipal School District and Cuyahoga County will receive $53.8 million in new property taxes between 2007 and 2020 from properties that have already been built but that would not have gone up without tax abatement.

That figure is based on responses to a survey of 400 recent Cleveland home buyers. CSU found that 60% of the respondents said they would not have purchased homes in the city were it not for tax abatement.

“The city was attractive because it allows (the home buyers) to get more house for the money,” Mr. Rosentraub said.

While the homes themselves do not immediately increase tax revenue because they are abated, the study found that the homes’ land value, which is not abated, is increasing, as is the values of nearby properties that do not have tax abatement. Residents also pay payroll taxes to the city.

The city of Cleveland offers 100% tax abatement for 15 years for any new or rehabbed housing in the city. City Council must decide this year whether to continue the existing policy, eliminate tax abatement altogether or modify it.