Let us help you jump start your city’s brand. Growing an active culture will change how your community is perceived and how residents perceive themselves. We can help you attract jobs, engage your citizenry and make your community a better place to live by employing the following catalytic strategies:
Open Access to Outdoor Recreation
Urban access to outdoor recreation is fundamental to a community’s ability to grow its own unique active lifestyle culture. Conserving and protecting lands and rivers is important to having great places for residents to play. But access comes in many different forms. Of course nearby physical access to paddle, ride, climb, hike, and camp is critical to residents being active daily, but today recreation access can be scaled to any size. Once the physical access is there, people need to develop the comfort and confidence to take those initial steps. Outdoor skills development and encouragement is key to getting people out for the first time. Finally promoting the outdoor community and branding is key to leveraging the culture for development. Outdoor recreation is a high visibility strategy that can change perception and improve the health and vibrancy of the community.
People Friendly Community Design
Communities across the country are investing in active transportation that makes it easier for their residents to move around without a car. Critically important is the need to collaboratively develop a community plan and strategy that supports the League of American Bicyclists 5 E’s that provides a broad approach to encourage individuals, businesses and institutions to engage in pedestrian and bike friendly efforts. Helping residents whether young millennial, seniors or children move safely through the community without cars is important to a 21st century city, small or large. Many studies show that walkable, connected communities are the most desirable community, no matter the age of the resident.
Encourage Green Living
Living sustainably is a growing trend across the country no matter age or race. People have quickly adopted recycling, electric cars and other green activities. As costs drop, alternative energy is becoming common, as are people that want their food to be unprocessed and local. Encouraging access to farmers markets, farm to table programs, urban farming, green business and other healthy practices is a signal that your community is focused on quality of life and the health of its residents. All of these elements, outdoor recreation, local foods, active transportation, and creative and collaborative efforts lead to a healthy more sustainable community. These tactics lower medical costs, reduce lost days, and support a more vibrant and engage citizenry.
Support Third Place Entrepreneurs
Neither work nor home, these Third Places are essential networking spots for the community. Hang out and meeting spots such as coffee shops, bakeries, café’s, breweries, etc. is where new ideas, relationships, and cultures develop quickly. Community-based businesses like farmers markets, tool libraries, and maker cafes are essential networking nodes for grassroots entrepreneurs and artists. When these spots are plentiful in the community it’s a signal to residents and visitors that there is healthy human connection. Third places are catalysts for grassroots arts and music cultures and foster development of subcultures key to creativity and innovation. They allow and foster new movements and progress in an emerging city.
Invest In Nature, Conservation, And Resiliency
Most communities are located where they are because of the natural assets found there. Rivers, mountains and forests provided the basic transportation and resources early economies required for existence. Fast forward to today and we see that those same resources; rivers, mountains, and forests remain key to their communities by providing needed quality of life measures for our new economy needs. Providing access to nature and recreation by conserving and caring for critical habitats; woods, rivers, prairies, etc. is essential to a healthy community. Smart conservation practices can protect water supplies, lakes and rivers, reduce flooding events and provide important recreation access. Real estate values are enhanced when located near parks, greenways, and recreation facilities. Efforts to restore brownfields, remove invasive plants, and create pocket parks; urban forest, etc. are important tactics in providing urban residents with outdoor opportunities and mitigating future risks driven by our changing climate and economy. In the end all of the strategies discussed on this page employed smartly, can enhance and engender resiliency which is simply the ability of a community to prepare for and adapt to natural, economic and social changes we know we will face.
Grow Community Collaboration And Vibrancy
Developing intersections of business, education, institution, government and individual residents is a key to creating communities that are exchanging new ideas and that are able to convert those ideas into action. Collaboration is the new competition in today’s economy. These connections lead to needed community vibrancy that rises up from new grassroots initiatives and fuels creative and fun community events and happenings needed to drive excitement in the community. Citizens of all ages, but particularly young creatives around the country are organizing community groups that tackle and solve unique issues in their region. Fostering these collaboration purposefully is proven to be an important catalyst in both community and economic growth.
Trash Bash photo courtesy of Great Rivers Greenway