Cuyahoga County is the most populous and most urbanized of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The County encompasses nearly 460 square miles with the following land uses (2019 data): Residential 53%; Parks & Open Space 15%; Industrial 9%; Commercial 6%; Institutional 5%; Transportation & Utilities 3%; Vacant 9%.

photo of a park
Parks come in all sizes. This small neighborhood park beautifies the area, incorporates plants that help absorb rainwater, and provides a path to connect people.

Approximately 78% of land in Cuyahoga County is fully developed and only 10% of it is considered protected open space. The remaining 12% is land that does not fall within one of the developed land cover or protected land categories. It could be forested, agricultural, fallow, or another type of vacant undeveloped land.

Greenprint: Origins, Intent and Advancements

The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission (County Planning) developed both the Cuyahoga County Greenspace Plan and Greenprint in 2002. At the time, greenspace, its ecological function and public access to it for enjoyment was limited by fragmented ownership or conventional planning that often emphasized the built environment. Growing recognition of the value of green infrastructure, nature as a health and recreational amenity, and concerns for climate resiliency identified the need for an easy-to-use mapping tool to support planners and community leaders in their work.

The initial, 2002 Greenprint Viewer functioned as a web-based inventory of maps. Available through the County Planning Commission website, the Greenprint remained a static map featuring 2002 data and its applicability was limited as a downloadable PDF file.

In 2015 (and again in 2020) advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology allowed County Planning to repurpose the original Greenprint as a “live” document: a fully-interactive mapping tool that can be updated with information that reflects current conditions in the built and natural environments.

This newest (2023) version of the Greenprint Viewer, now known as the Greenprint Explorer, incorporates ESRI’s ArcGIS Online, featuring the ‘Experience Builder’ application development environment.

These Web pages contain the interactive Greenprint Explorer, the Technical Manual that explains the functions and data of the Explorer platform, and the Greenprint Guidebook.

Each chapter in the Greenprint Guidebook provides a description of the various layers available in the Greenprint Explorer. They provide overviews of the region’s natural features, the rationale for their importance and value and recommend land use practices for communities and landowners. Each chapter ends with links to a wide range of valuable resources and additional information on the chapter topics.

Glossary of Acronyms

The following acronyms may be used throughout the Greenprint documents.

ATTAINSAssessment, Total maximum daily load, Tracking And Implementation System
CCDPWCuyahoga County Department of Public Works
CCPCCuyahoga County Planning Commission
CERCLAComprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
SWCD(Cuyahoga County) Soil and Water Conservation District
ESRICompany name originally from Environmental Systems Research Institute
FEMAFederal Emergency Management Agency
GISGeographic Information System
HABsHarmful Algal Blooms
HUCHydrologic Unit Code
HUDU.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design
LIDLow Impact Development
LTSLevel of Traffic Stress
NEORSDNortheast Ohio Regional Sewer District
NOAANational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOACANortheast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency
ODNROhio Department of Natural Resources
ODOTOhio Department of Transportation
OEPAOhio Environmental Protection Agency
RCRAResource Conservation and Recovery Act
TLCITransportation for Livable Communities Initiative
USDAUnited States Department of Agriculture
USDOTU.S. Department of Transportation
USEPAU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Top photo by Jason Cohn, courtesy of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy