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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Letter from Publisher

In his beautifully crafted book Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, renowned local historian John Gurda writes: “There may be no more dynamic human creation than the city, no more compelling expression of energy, aspiration, pain, and potential on the planet. Neighborhoods are the parts that make up the larger organism: it is in seeing our neighborhoods that we see our city whole.”

This month’s theme, “Livable Communities,” explores initiatives across the nation that make our communities and cities more whole. Cities comprise a rich tapestry of peoples, cultures, natural spaces and economies. Like any tapestry, if a few threads become loose, the entire work of art can quickly unravel.

While Milwaukee has had its share of unraveling over the years, today activism abounds as community leaders strive for healthy, livable communities that include safe, friendly neighborhoods; public access to green space; thriving, locally owned businesses; and transportation alternatives such as mass transit, cycling and walkability. Efforts by groups such as Groundwork Milwaukee, Walnut Way, and Victory Garden Initiative, as well as City of Milwaukee initiatives like HOME GR/OWN are greening up food deserts by transforming vacant lots into active community gardens. Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s dedication to swimmable, fishable rivers throughout the Milwaukee River Basin is helping restore the health of our precious waterways. Milwaukee’s artisan food industry is booming, creating opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to produce super fresh wholesome foods and beverages from local ingredients, which also means providing jobs within the community. Public art projects enable talented artists of all ages to use their paint brushes to bring to life the histories and future possibilities of their local neighborhoods.

Still, there will be more extraordinary stories to tell. Our living communities, which embrace green infrastructure, environmental stewardship, bicycle and car-sharing services and revitalization of the “Emerald Necklace” (Milwaukee County parks), create new opportunities, which generate fresh interest, all introducing new threads to our city’s unique tapestries. Our actions today are weaving the tapestry of tomorrow, so let’s make our contributions beautiful.

From Milwaukee with love,

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher