We are in our fifth month now at TPB.com and our readership is growing considerably. Thank you to those who make this site a regular stop. It is our goal to publish three times weekly - a Monday and Wednesday blog entry with a Friday collection of news links peppered with light commentary. We've only missed one day since last Thanksgiving, and that was due to needing sleep, not lack of material. We seemingly never run out of material.
The movement we are fomenting here needs more ideas, more minds, more heart and more innovation than we can bring to the table. In short, our country needs more people thinking and talking about these issues, especially now with people starting to rethink some of their assumptions about how the world should operate. So help us start a conversation. If not here in the comments section (I know it can be scary sometimes), then in your life with the people around you. Let's get people talking about building Strong Towns.
But first, the news:
- Apparently, bankers in the rural midwest are holding up amid the current economic downturn. I'm not sure what it says for us long-term however that areas with "significant mining and natural resources" are the ones doing best. If you have never read Jarod Diamond's Gun, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and his follow-up, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, you need to. They are essential reading for anyone who breathes and spends more than five minutes a day in thought. Lots in those books on mining, in particular.
- Depsite the banking cheer contained in the prior article, the only bank in one small, Georgia town is not faring so well. It reminded me of an NPR story I caught this week called The Anatomy of a Bank Takeover. It was twelve minutes of some of the most interesting radio I have ever heard.
- Here is another call to invest more in the nation's largest cities. Taken with others we have presented here, this chorus of thought is compelling in many ways. Even more important, it reflects the population shift (and power shift) from rural to urban/suburban areas. Something to keep in mind when budgeting for those state and federal subsidies post the 2010 census.
- In a well-presented article, Bill Bishop shows how rural areas have withstood the recession longer than their urban and suburban counterparts, but now are quickly catching up. I'm a big fan of any article with charts (it is the engineer in me).
- This article raises warnings about non-profits and the influence of the government bailout money.
Two institutions historically have provided a check on abuses of power by politicians and government: nonprofits and the news media. Both have been imperfect but essential critics and watchdogs of political abuses for one reason: they have remained independent from the government.
Well, thankfully we still have the news media.
- Well at least one non-profit was still able to find a unique solution to the housing foreclosure problem.
- Angel investors are a large part of what works in successful small-towns, which makes this news quite unfortunate.
- The web site Planetizen.com had a couple of yuck, yuck fake-news articles on April 1. One I somewhat dreamed was reality, while another seemed all too real. "Git 'er done."
- Finally, a friend forwarded me a chain email this week that I initially thought was a hoax. I did some research and discovered that apparently it was not. Check out these amazing photos of murals put together by artist Eric Grohe. You can see more on his website and imagine what some of those empty, ugly, character-robbing walls in your small town could be with a little creativity and talent.