Citizen Action Monitor

Want to create strong and resilient communities? Strong Towns USA may just have the answer

Strong Towns, a non-profit, offers a model of development that “makes productive use of all this stuff we’ve built”.

No 1429 Posted by fw, August 19, 2015

First comes the 3:00 minute video and then the words.

Trailer – #1 in the Strong Towns Curbside Chat Video Series September 15, 2014

The Curbside Chat was the first story we tried to tell at Strong Towns. It goes to the core of our message, an eye-opening presentation explaining why cities of all kinds are struggling financially and how we can work to change things for the better, one block at a time. This video is a trailer for our video series highlighting some of the key moments of the Curbside Chat.


Now come the words — Strong Towns Mission Statement, excerpted from the website

The challenge of this next generation is not going to be growth. We’ve had decades of growth and it hasn’t given us prosperity. The challenge of the next generation is going to be, how do we go back and make really productive use of all this stuff that we’ve built.”Chuck Marohn, President, Strong Towns

Following World War II, the United States embarked on a great social and financial experiment that we know as suburbanization. It created tremendous growth, opportunity and prosperity for a generation of Americans that had just lived through economic depression and war.

What we seemingly didn’t stop to consider at the time was that the way we were building our places – spread out across the landscape – would be extremely expensive to sustain, far greater than the relative wealth the approach would generate.

Local governments today are being crushed by their long term obligations. To solve today’s cash problems, they are being encouraged to take on even more liabilities. We desperately need to find a different approach.

A study of the traditional development pattern – the way humans built cities for thousands of years – reveals much hidden wisdom. Our ancestors knew how to build financially strong and resilient places. Their existence depended on it. This was a knowledge gained painfully through trial and error, understanding we should not casually disregard.

America’s challenge is to update this wisdom for the 21st century. We are not going to abandon the automobile, but we must urgently begin the process of stitching our communities back together at a human scale.

The Strong Towns approach is a fundamental rethinking of how we work together to build lasting wealth and prosperity within our communities. A strong America is made of strong cities, towns and neighborhoods.


For the United States to be a prosperous country, it must have strong cities, towns and neighborhoods. Enduring prosperity for our communities cannot be artificially created from the outside but must be built from within, incrementally over time. An America in transition must focus on developing strong, local communities.

As advocates for a strong America, we know the following to be true.

  • Strong cities, towns and neighborhoods cannot happen without strong citizens (people who care).
  • Local government is a platform for strong citizens to collaboratively build a prosperous place.
  • Financial solvency is a prerequisite for long term prosperity.
  • Land is the base resource from which community prosperity is built and sustained. It must not be squandered.
  • A transportation system is a means of creating prosperity in a community, not an end unto itself.
  • Job creation and economic growth are the results of a healthy local economy, not substitutes for one.

We seek an America where our local communities are designed to grow stronger in the face of adversity, to be the solid foundation on which our shared prosperity is preserved.

There are no universal answers to the complex problems America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods face. At Strong Towns, we seek to discover rational ways to respond to these challenges. A Strong Towns approach:

  • Relies on small, incremental investments (little bets) instead of large, transformative projects,
  • Emphasizes resiliency of result over efficiency of execution,
  • Is designed to adapt to feedback,
  • Is inspired by bottom/up action (chaotic but smart) and not top/down systems (orderly but dumb),
  • Seeks to conduct as much of life as possible at a personal scale, and
  • Is obsessive about accounting for its revenues, expenses, assets and long term liabilities (do the math).


For more information, visit the Strong Towns website. Information is organized under these headings –

Donate | Become A Member | Volunteer | Events | Contact Information Contributors  |  Board Of Directors |  Staff  |  Member Resources | Blog Index | Discussion Forum | Member Blogroll


For much, much more in the Curbside Video Chat series click on this link

….ps — Did you see Vancouver, BC in the list of Strong Towns videos? It’s there.

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