Sustainable Pocket Neighborhoods
What do they do?
Simply Well Communities facilitates health and wellness through the built environment. They design living spaces that promote five pillars of health and wellness: community, architecture, physical activity, access to healthy food, and access to nature.
Lawrence and Kimberly Williamson, founders of Simply Well Communities
Three years ago, Kimberly and Lawrence moved to Detroit from southern California. They noticed the excessive blight and barely livable neighborhoods Detroit offers. Knowing the strong connection between a person’s environment and their mental stability, they set out on a journey to pull Detroit residents from the snares of poverty, mental illness, and obesity. Initially, Kimberly had an idea of consulting with property owners on how they could best serve community members while at the same time increasing their financial bottom lines.
Goals of SWC:
Simply Well’s most immediate goal is to complete their first demonstration project, exemplifying what a wellness community is and is not. They are accomplishing this by building community through authentic conversations and relationships. It is important to SWC and their work that the importance of goals and relationships be maintained simultaneously.
Living with a mother who suffered from bulimia and unhealthy relationships with food, health, and her body, Kimberly says she grew up with a very skewed view, where one’s health was sacrificed to one’s weight. She says that on a very fundamental level, she feared food and fat, and it wasn’t she pursued undergraduate studies in social work at Oral Roberts University – a school focused on educating the spirit, mind, and body— that she realized the detrimental relationship she had with food. In her graduate studies of Clinical Psychology – Marriage and Family Therapy with a specialization in Applied Community Psychology – the seeds for what would later become Simply Well Communities were planted. Namely, that everything is connected and that everything affects the individual and the community at large – in short, what she refers to as an ecosystem.
“Don’t limit yourself […] and be okay not knowing [what you want to do or who you are]. But stay on the path of learning and discovering those answers.” For 20 years, Kim’s vision has been working itself out, and it wasn’t until she shared both her personal and professional background that it all started to click. From her mother’s bad eating habits, her college nutritional education, to now, Kim realized that every event which took place in her life lead her down the path to Simply Well Communities. In addition to encouraging me to take the time to figure myself out, Kim also advised that I be the “CEO of my own life,” because living at the whim of other people leads to an unhealthy life without growth.
Want to learn more about what’s next for Simply Well Communities or how to get involved? Contact Kimberly Williamson at 313-757-6811 or [email protected]
Green Garage business-in-residence spotlights are written by Nehe-Miah Scarborough, a student at Detroit Cristo Rey High School who’s working with the Green Garage during the 2015-16 school year.