Hidden Stuff

Placemaking Principles for Strong Towns

To get a higher return on our public investments requires an understanding of what it takes to build great towns and neighborhoods. The following placemaking principles describe Strong Towns and can be used to guide their development.

  1. A Strong Town is financially stable and must not be dependent on government subsidy for the common maintenance of basic infrastructure systems.
  2. A Strong Town is economically vibrant and diverse. The town must have a local economic composition that encourages financially-sound business creation and expansion, as well as allow for creative destruction. 
  3. A Strong Town is designed with a physical layout that enhances the public realm and thus adds value to each property that fronts it. New growth and development must improve the public realm.
  4. To build an affordable transportation system, a Strong Town utilizes roads to move traffic safely at high speeds outside of neighborhoods and urban areas. Within neighborhoods and urban areas, a Strong Town uses complex streets to equally accommodate the full range of transportation options available to residents.
  5. To make transportation systems more efficient and affordable, to create economic opportunity and to enhance the community, neighborhoods in a Strong Town must be mixed use, with properly-scaled residential and commercial development.
  6. A Strong Town utilizes a system of interconnected parks and civic structures to provide value to property owners within the community. Parks, greens, squares and civic buildings provide value when they enhance the public realm, create memorable landscapes and provide for spontaneous gatherings. 
  7. A Strong Town requires age diversity in order to sustain itself. Designing neighborhoods for safe, independent living at all stages of life is critical for a Strong Town.
  8. A Strong Town is connected to the region and, no less importantly, to the world, while knowing their unique place within these systems.
  9. A Strong Town has a leadership ethic that emphasizes open, transparent, inclusive and efficient governance, as well as active and forward-thinking engagement with citizens and private-sector partners. 
  10. Strong Towns reduce costs associated with land use, transportation and development, and are able to reinvest these savings to strengthen their long-term position in the region and the world.