We’ve written before about the opportunity we see for the Green Bay area to capture a significant share of the “affordable urban” lifestyle brand springing up across the nation. In a nutshell, the lifestyle folks are seeking – active environment, ecologically sustainable, mixed-use downtowns with residential, restaurants, shops and groceries – is based on places like Brooklyn, Lincoln Park, Columbia Heights and Buckhead. Great it you can afford it, but cost-prohibitive for most of us. Yet, that’s changing and smaller cities like Omaha, Tulsa and , yes, Green Bay, are starting to view their downtowns, parks and bike lanes as assets in creating a urban lifestyle in our more affordable spaces.
The most successful of these cities aren’t just slapping a new brand on an old product, they are doing what we call “living into livability,” which takes concerted and focused effort. This effort is necessary because most of these emerging affordable-urban spaces (Green Bay included) have a hurdle to jump that the older urban environments did not. Unlike New York City or Washington D.C., these newer urban spots developed in a way that is car-centric and suburb-centric. When land is plentiful and houses are cheap, it’s natural to spread out. By contrast, many people are waking up to an awareness that suburban sprawl, reliance on cars and the homogeneity of chain stores does not resonate with their values.
So, by way of this blog, we’d like to celebrate one of our communities un-sung assets, the Greater Green Bay Active Communities Alliance (GGBACA). The Alliance is a work team convened by Live54218 that is passionate about the system change required to help Green Bay live into livability. This group meets to identify tipping points – like plowing the Fox River Trail or helping get GBAPS students to ride the Metro busses – that truly change how our city thinks about an active, connected environment. Perhaps the most unique element of the GGBACA is its make-up. The group is comprised of officials and city planners, nationally-renowned experts like WE BIKE ETC., representatives from local health systems, small businesses, and advocacy groups like the Green Bay Bicycle Collective and Bay Shore Bike Club.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring some of the successes of the GGBACA – from advocating for bike lanes, improving the ability for our kids to walk to school, supporting and promoting bike-share programs and helping make it easier for kids to use city buses.
Have you heard of the GGBACA before? If so, tell us how/where!