After spending the early part of this week discussing an assessment project and some feedback I received, today is a good day to make an announcement.

Today Strong Towns is proud to launch a free Discussion Forum for our readers, podcast listeners and SID.tv subscribers.

Earlier this year, we launched the Strong Towns Network, a social space for public officials, professionals and change advocates looking to implement Strong Towns principles in their community. The site has grown in content and substance over the past ten months and we are really excited about what is going on there.

We realized, though, that there were a lot of people that were less "hardcore" about implementing -- did not need the premium access, content, videos or any of the other stuff we do at the Network -- but were just looking to chat with likeminded people. We want to make sure those conversations are taking place because they are just as critical to what we are trying to do with Strong Towns as anything else.

The Discussion Forum is open for free to anyone who wants to register. We are planning to provide only light moderation, and only when absolutely needed. Over time, if someone would like to step up and be a friendly moderator acting consistent with our desire for respectful dialog, we would appreciate that. The only hesitation we've had with the forum was adding another thing to be tended to by an organization already spread thin (so says the man who rarely sleeps as it is). If there be a volunteer in the ranks willing to moderate the forum, step up and be recognized.

As I let our Network subscribers know yesterday, none of this diminishes our commitment to that project. The Strong Towns Network is a social space with an elegant interface that lends itself well to the online conversations we have grown used to having. I love it.

We recently added a whole content module there featuring Steve Mouzon and the Original Green. This adds to the exclusive content already available in the Strong Towns University section of the Network, stuff as basic as explaining how a water system works to as complex as the financing of major infrastructure improvements. This is critical content for public officials serious about implementing a Strong Towns approach.

In addition to the courses, we off premium access to our Fellows -- experts in Strong Towns thinking -- through a Facebook-like interface, including a chat function. I am an active "chatter" and have enjoyed hearing from subscribers there. We're all learning from each other, helping others with their projects and challenges, all from a Strong Towns perspective. It is an exciting place to be.

So try out the new forum. It is an experiment we're making available and we'll see how it goes. Based on the comments we routinely get on our blog posts and elsewhere, it is clear this is an intelligent group of readers with a lot to offer. I'm optimistic the new Discussion Forum will add to the experience of this site and the body of thought pushing these ideas. 

Thanks everyone, and keep doing what you can to make your place a strong town.