Strong Towns member, Robert Voigt, is an urban planner and writer based in Canada. He recently wrote a feature article entitled "Reframing the Discussion on New Development," for Municipal World magazine, which highlighted several Strong Towns concepts. The article begins:

The prevailing belief among municipalities is that any growth that replaces older forms of development inherently creates wealth.

The physical characteristics of our built environments have been shown to impact the indicators of livability and overall success of communities, including: placemaking, economic development, walkability, accessibility, affordability and community health. [...] The extensive use of the online tool Walkscore shows how our appreciation for the influence of the built environment on our lives has become almost commonplace.

However, in terms of our understanding of the relationship between the built environment and tax revenue for municipalities, our knowledge is limited and skewed by “common sense.” In the absence of data, the prevailing belief among municipalities is that any growth and/or development/redevelopment that replaces older forms of development inherently creates wealth through increased property tax revenue for the municipality.

If you've been reading Strong Towns for any length of time, you know that this premise is something we categorically reject, and one that we have seen to be false time and time again.

Later in the article, Rob mentions Strong Towns (and our friends at Urban3) specifically:

Through a recent series of workshops/seminars with over 30 participant communities to date, numerous ROI analyses have been conducted on local forms of development to specifically address the challenges identified above. This analysis is building on a growing body of similar work by the U.S.-based non-profit Strong Towns (including many analyses conducted in significantly more complex urban contexts by Asheville, NC-based Urban3), with the findings being consistent throughout all these projects.

Thanks to people like Rob Voigt, the Strong Towns message is reaching new audiences. We appreciate the way he used Strong Towns ideas in the context of his work. All of our content is licensed under Creative Commons, which means you're free to use it in your work too.

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(Top photo by Johnny Sanphillippo)


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