can community action be easy?

The Greenwood team returned from the Sustainable Cities Design Academy last September inspired and with new knowledge about how to create sustainable change throughout the city. Though we each have incorporated the discoveries made at SCDA into our ongoing work, team members expressed concern about fitting additional important projects into our already busy schedules. Through the fall we formulated a plan to avoid letting plans to positively impact the health, education, and social and economic equity of area residents fall by the wayside.

SCDA team members started by inviting others to be part of a group that would be committed to sustainable efforts in Greenwood. In subsequent meetings the group decided that we should find our footing and identity through light, quick, cheap community projects. Members of the group have committed to completing one small but visible project (taking only 4-8 hours to plan) each month in 2014.

Expanding the knowledge, interest and availability of bike culture is a topic that has continued to come up in sustainability conversations. Toward that end, four of the group members chalked “share the road” symbols on a route throughout downtown and an adjacent residential neighborhood. This route could potentially become a permanent biking route if the City sees public support for our project. For now, we got a lot of attention from curious drivers who saw us out with the stencil and chalk spreader on a chilly Thursday night. The following Saturday, group members met to bike the route together, similar to the Critical Mass rides that are common in many cities. We had a small turn-out, but we learned a few things about bike lanes, chalk spreaders, and our community through the process. Most importantly, many people have asked if any more rides are planned. There aren’t any yet, but we are working on our February initiative now, and are excited to see how the year unfolds.

January recap:

  • Chalk “share the road” symbols and bike ride
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Project team members: 4
  • Project cost: $7.75

Thanks to Richard Elliott and Davis Pratt for the photos.

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