Housing & mixed-use fuels downtown: Meet Josh and Kyla
We’re Josh Croke and Kyla Pacheco, founders of Action! Worcester, an organization that has been promoting civic innovation and inclusive economic growth in Worcester for the last three years.
Like many Massachusetts communities outside of Boston, Worcester has struggled to engage and retain young people, especially students coming out of our local colleges and universities.
We’ve seen in other cities across the world how building more housing and creating mixed-used density downtown supports economic growth and increases foot traffic that creates thriving shops, restaurants, and cultural venues. Young people with innovative ideas and a thirst for entrepreneurship want to live in these kinds of neighborhoods and need housing close to amenities that is efficient, high-quality and affordable.
Worcester’s downtown has struggled in the past to become a place where people and businesses want to be and is still working on strategies to make the district more attractive to a wider audience. Access to food, culture, and reliable transportation outside of car ownership are critical to building the vibrant community we want to see in the city. Our members want to make the city more walkable and bike friendly.
Cities like Worcester need to elevate activities that will strengthen our communities through mixed use development, strong neighborhoods advocacy, and resident empowerment, and a Great Neighborhoods bill would make it easier for communities across the state to implement solutions in a shorter period of time--change zoning, reduce parking requirements, encourage better planning, and promote healthy density and affordability.
Action! Worcester uses a citizen-centered, place-based design process to better understand the needs of residents and stakeholders. We host an annual think tank where people discuss issues like walkability, neighborhood stability, talent acquisition and retention, and more. POW! WOW! Worcester 2016 brought a world-class mural program downtown, we work alongside the Worcester CleanTech Incubator to support local entrepreneurs, and have developed placemaking activities that are making Worcester a fun and exciting place to be.
Personally and professionally, we are dedicated to furthering projects that help support resident empowerment and enable families to grow with the city by respecting the history these people have in our cities while also attracting new residents who support community collaboration and seek to strengthen the city as a whole.
We hope social innovators across the state will take the opportunity presented by the Great Neighborhoods campaign to strengthen neighborhoods, advocate for inclusive growth, and build community in Worcester and throughout Massachusetts.
Thank you for reading and sharing our story!
Joshua Croke and Kyla Pacheco
Joshua Croke is the Executive Director and cofounder of Action! Worcester and the founder of Action! by Design; a consultancy that helps people create and deliver innovative projects at the intersection of design, technology, and society. @Joshua Croke