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.