Kea Wilson serves as Communications Manager for Strong Towns. She's based in the great city of St. Louis, Missouri, but she's lived everywhere from Santa Fe, New Mexico to coastal Maryland to far northern Michigan. She became passionate about the question of what it means to build a better world when she was in college, where she volunteered at a co-op bike collective and studied (most of) the great works of western civilization, roughly in chronological order. She's worked in community outreach and development for six years, most recently at a small independent bookstore where she coordinated a not-so-small author events series. She's also an avid (if somewhat slow) cyclist, an armchair economics nerd, and a novelist.
Almost every suburban house has one. But is the home garage an American institution or a national disgrace?
New Jersey has been using a “cap and trade” model to let single family neighborhoods buy their way out of growth for decades. Should your city follow suit?
Can a humble corner bookstore make your city wealthier and more resilient? These small businesses have surprising staying power—and in many ways are an indicator species of a strong neighborhood.
The dollar store might seem like a smaller, friendlier alternative to the big box. But its proliferation tells us something powerful about the way we build our towns.
Tulsa, OK is the latest city to offer remote workers some tempting incentives if they’ll move there for only a year. Is this a smarter approach to economic development, or do our cities need to #dothemath?
What does it take to be a small-scale developer in a struggling part of town? To put your money where your mouth is and participate in incremental neighborhood revitalization? One of our staffers knows firsthand.
Kea Wilson shares her five favorite Strong Towns-adjacent reads (and one favorite watch) of the year. From the short works of Jane Jacobs to a nonfiction epic about Americans who live out of their cars, and more!
A few weeks ago, Amazon announced major new operations in not one, but three locations: Queens, NYC; Crystal City, near Washington, DC; and Nashville. Our biggest question is not for Amazon but for the cities and states that offered them massive subsidy packages: Why?!
Big boxes arguably helped to kill the classic main street. Can they also bring it back?
We know how to make our streets so safe that no cyclist really needs a helmet. Should we all wear them anyway?
Forget Barbie. What does the Millennial Dream House look like?
Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, could address pedestrian safety by making real, substantial improvements to the design of its streets. Instead, it’s urging people on foot to… dress in brighter colors?
How much of car culture is attributable to the early designers and marketers who figured out how to make cars stylish and beautiful? A new book profiles GM’s Harley Earl, one of the forerunners of America’s automotive obsession.
Do we need to fail in order to succeed? When our experiments go awry—in science or otherwise—should we be dismayed, or treat it as just as vital information as if our hypotheses had been confirmed? Check out the latest episode of our new podcast Upzoned to hear Kea Wilson and Chuck Marohn wax philosophical about failure.
On November 16th, you can ask us anything. And we mean anything.
Are house flippers exactly what the Rust Belt needs to recover from decades of systemic disinvestment, or a dangerous speculative game that fragile places shouldn’t be playing? Check out the third episode of our new podcast Upzoned to hear Kea Wilson and Chuck Marohn hash out this topic.
Check out the second episode of our new podcast Upzoned! Kea Wilson and Chuck Marohn dig into an article on a troubling trend: big box retailers in Minnesota think they’re paying too much in property taxes, and they’re asking for a cut. But that’s a hard pill to swallow for small towns.
Check out the first episode of our new podcast Upzoned! Each Friday, join Kea Wilson, Chuck Marohn, and occasional surprise guests to talk in depth about just one big story from the week in the Strong Towns conversation, right when you want it: now.
Earthship Biotecture is an attempt to answer a radical question: can you build a house that not only needs substantially less infrastructure than the average home, but needs almost no infrastructure at all?
Something as small as public art can help transform the public’s perception of a troubled neighborhood park. It’s a testament to the power of bottom-up, incremental change.
Design that provides a little psychological nudge can be an inexpensive, easily-implemented way to address problems like pedestrian fatalities. But sometimes what we need is good, old-fashioned concrete.
An assisted-living facility in Ohio offers a nostalgic, Norman Rockwell-esque setting modeled on traditional neighborhoods—the very sort of beloved, timeless places that we’ve all but stopped building in the real world.
Policy choices are often presented to us as simplistic binaries, or irresolvable clashes of competing values. Have the courage to step outside that box and ask more fundamental questions.
The smallest step might actually be the smartest one.
A local’s guide to St. Louis — through a Strong Towns lens.
5 lessons I learned from conducting a tactical urbanism demonstration in my city.
Your daily actions might feel small and unimportant, but when they’re part of a movement, they add up to something much bigger.
After exhausting what seemed like every option in our quest to buy a rental property in a poor neighborhood, it was time to change course.
Kea Wilson shares the highs, the lows and everything in between about her new experiences as a small scale developer.
After finding an ideal property in a neighborhood we wanted to invest in, getting a bank to finance our purchase turned out to be a huge hurdle.