Kind Communities Program
One Street has embarked on our new Kind Communities program in 2017 to unlock the secrets of communities where:
- citizens are connected and empowered to engage in community improvements,
- few, if any, people are marginalized,
- streets are truly public spaces, and
- everyone—no matter their age, ability, or income—expects to ride a bike whenever and wherever they like.
Our mission is based on serving leaders of bicycle organizations, yet we have found that bicycle facilities and programs in communities that isolate people—whether by high-speed roads, sprawl, single-use development, gentrification/displacement, top-down governance, or police harassment—cause little if any change. Many of these bicycle-only victories are eventually removed or vanish because they reside where people are not prioritized.
Bicycles are to communities what canaries were to miners. When few people can ride bikes, or only one sort of people rides bikes, it is a sure sign of disease. In such places, officials base decisions on grand infrastructure, attracting large businesses, and reactions to complaints. The result is the isolation and marginalization of people as if they are bothersome, inanimate objects. Streets are widened. Housing and public spaces are replaced by shopping centers and car parking lots.
This program will research kinder communities—neighborhoods, villages, cities—to learn how they have broken down and prevented such barriers that marginalize people. In these places, most people already ride bikes because a kind community cannot prioritize motorized vehicles over people.
The resources and networks we develop through this program will help organization and community leaders reach this ideal more directly and ensure the engagement of everyone (not serving them, engaging them) to better their community together. Rather than fighting for micro space, we will show the community-wide shifts necessary to create an expectation for kindness and, with it, bicycling.
Follow the latest progress and details of this budding program on our Cures for Ailing Organizations blog by choosing posts tagged as Kind Communities.