David Alpert, who founded the nonprofit urbanist organization Greater Greater Washington, announced Tuesday that he plans to leave the group sometime in the next six to 12 months. In a blog post about the decision, Alpert says GGWash shouldn’t depend on one person and that he wants to have more time for other projects, but he spends the most time talking about power: The group announced this January that it would center equity and sustainability in its work. That has meant articles about, for instance, how patterns of segregation embedded themselves in urban design.
“I do see my departure as an opportunity for GGWash to truly internalize our values,” he writes.
Alpert founded GGWash (a short form he prefers to GGW, which, as I learned when I wrote a short profile of him and the organization last year, can stand for Girls Gone Wild) after he came to DC in 2007 after studying computer science at Harvard and working in Silicon Valley for a startup, then moving to Google, a job that eventually took him New York. There he became fascinated with The Option of Urbanism, a book by George Washington University professor Christopher Leinberger. Once he and his girlfriend, now wife, moved to Washington, he began applying urbanist thought to his adopted city. GGWash began life as a blog; it now also encompasses advocacy work and manages DC Sustainable Transportation, a coalition of BIDs and other organizations that focuses on transportation.
Greater Greater Washington has six staffers, a board, and lots of volunteers. In his announcement, Alpert says he hopes the organization will be able to raise the funding to hire two more staffers next year. The group will set up a transition committee to manage his departure. He expects to stick around through the end of this year or into 2021 as necessary: “it’s not goodbye quite yet,” he writes.