For quite some time, I've been reading and sharing material from Strong Towns, and many thanks to Jeff Gillenwater for drawing my attention to this movement.
It's member drive week at Strong Towns, and I've finally got around to joining this 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
As indicated elsewhere recently, one thing we can surely do during these tumultuous times is use our support dollars wisely, whether for the cause of principled journalism (The Nation, The Guardian, CounterPunch), public television and radio, and organizations doing the nitty gritty of what's going to be needed more than ever, like Planned Parenthood, Freedom from Religion Foundation and the ACLU.
Needless to say, the Strong Towns mission and that of local governance as usual, as we experience it on most days in Nawbany, are somewhat at odds; there are a few precious points of convergence, but not many, and this needs to change.
I'm in a position like so many others, in that since the recent election, the precise course of action and opposition isn't yet clear apart from continuing an emphasis on localism. Until the fog lifts, we're supporting principled advocacy where we can, as we can, and Strong Towns fits the bill. A final thought: If you're of conservative inclination and believe Strong Towns is some sort of left-wing conspiracy, check it out -- but prepare to be very surprised at what you find.
THE MISSION OF STRONG TOWNS IS TO SUPPORT A MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT THAT ALLOWS AMERICA'S CITIES, TOWNS AND NEIGHBORHOODS TO BECOME FINANCIALLY STRONG AND RESILIENT.
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.
A STRONG TOWNS APPROACH
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).