Welcome to our Elite Eight round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to view the photographs that representatives from these two towns have submitted to showcase their strength and resilience, and judge them based on Strong Towns principles. Please scroll down to the bottom to vote for the strongest!


West Palm Beach, FL

Entry submitted by Jesse Bailey and Aaron Wormus

Photo by Aaron Wormus

Photo by Aaron Wormus

On April 12th, 2014 over 60 people came out to various locations around town to film an independantly organized music video to Pharrell's HAPPY song. This picture is of 3 dance students from the Palm Beach Atlantic university, which is located on the southern border of our downtown, who danced among the corvettes of the Palm Beach Corvette club, who was having an event on the 500 block of Clematis Street. Many of the attendees wore t-shirts with #iloveWPB printed on them, which has become a grassroots way to express our love for the place we call home. The Saturday Greenmarket, an alley activation project (C’est la Via), and the corvette club street closure provided plenty of great shots on this day.  Community events are frequent and well attended in West Palm Beach. 

Photo from MusicalSwings instagram 

Photo from MusicalSwings instagram 

The Musical Swings is a giant collective musical installation that made its first East Coast stop in downtown West Palm Beach.   Our Art in Public Places program, Downtown Development authority, and the Knight Foundation were some of the folks involved in bringing this installation by Daily tous les jours to West Palm Beach. It was placed in an empty lot that is awaiting redevelopment on our main street, Clematis Street, and attracted a phenomenal number of swingers. By swinging, people work together to create a melody as you swing back and forth on the installation.  Public art is flourishing in the city, with the recent CANVAS WPB mural exhibit which brought together some of the best street artists in the world to downtown WPB. One of my favorite art projects downtown are the murals in the stairwells of the public parking garages, which have turned a blight into something beautiful. 

Photo by Aaron Wormus

Photo by Aaron Wormus

Urban Growers / Henrietta Bridge Farm Project will focus on eliminating at least 1 of Palm Beach County’s 27 food deserts by teaching low-cost farming techniques and bringing fresh, healthy food to areas comprised of low income and racial minority groups. Our mission is to build a thoughtful and productive community of youth and adults from diverse backgrounds who work together to produce a sustainable food system. The goal is to develop and improve low-income communities and neighborhoods through economic and related development activities that will increase the opportunities for residents to become owners, managers, and producers of small businesses, affordable housing and jobs designed to produce positive cash flow and curb blight in the Greater North West Communities of West Palm Beach.

Photo by Steven Scherer and Scott Kelly, City of West Palm Beach

Photo by Steven Scherer and Scott Kelly, City of West Palm Beach

Grassy Waters Preserve is a 23 square mile wetlands ecosystem that erves as the freshwater supply for the City of West Palm Beach and the towns of South Palm Beach and Palm Beach Island. Historically, Grassy Waters was both a key component of the Greater Everglades watershed and the headwaters of the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River. Although human needs have lead to severe alterations to the flow of water through South Florida, Grassy Waters Preserve remains a pristine remnant of the once great Everglades system. A mosaic of wetlands, tree islands, and forested hammocks, Grassy Waters Preserve is home to a variety of native wildlife.  Grassy Waters Preserve comprises nearly 50% of the land area of the city and provides immeasurable benefit to the city, its residents, and the county at large.

Photo by Aaron Wormus

Photo by Aaron Wormus

The fountains on Clematis street are the indisputable heart of the city. Iconic and delightful, they are a constant source of delight for local children and in the summer, summer camp trips to the Clematis fountains happen almost every day. The fountains are the terminus of Clematis Street and they form the apex of a triangular park called the Waterfront Commons, which is where the community gathers for countless events, including Clematis by Night weekly concert series, the Saturday greenmarket, and Friday night movies on the lawn. Political demonstrations and rallies often start here, and if the revolution happened tomorrow, this is certainly where people would gather.


Holland, MI

Entry submitted by: Ryan Cotton, City Manager; Brian Burch, Council Member; Nancy DeBoer, Mayor; Joel Dye, Community and Neighborhood Services Director; Dana Kollewehr, Downtown Development Authority Director; Mark Vanderploeg, Senior Planner; Brian White, Transportation Director and City Engineer; Anne Saliers, Community Energy Services Manager, Holland Board of Public Works; and Michelle Gibbs, Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute Director. 

Holland Youth Connections exists to give young people the opportunity to develop work skills, earn money responsibly, and make valuable connections with peers and adults.  The Holland Youth Connections (HYC) began in 2013 with only 12 youths.  This program was such a success that it grew to 80 youth in 2014.  HYC continues to see tremendous grown with 178 participants in 2015.

Locals and tourist alike love our Downtown.  There are dozens of events including the Street Performers’ series, Farmer’s Market activities, Mannequin Night and parades.

The Macatawa Transit Authority provides public transportation for a 62-square mile area.  Many riders catch the bus to work, shopping Downtown Holland, or to enjoy the nightlife.

The City of Holland’s Public Safety Department has a long commitment to community policing.  Building strong relationships with businesses, residents, and youth is a key factor to the Department’s success and the safety of our community.

The Holland Board of Public Works provides reliable, affordable power to area residents and businesses.  The city is currently building a new natural gas fired power plant that will reduce the community’s carbon footprint and provide capacity for our city’s growth, in addition to the 32 megawatts of wind energy in Holland’s portfolio.  Recent investments in water, sewer, and broadband services also make our city resilient.

All photos taken by City of Holland staff

(Top graphic by Matthias Leyrer)


Voting is now closed.