We started this blog late last year for a handful of specific reasons. First, Community Growth Institute is an idea-machine, and we had a lot of thoughts that we wanted to organize, present, debate and discuss that we couldn't find a way to do in the normal course of business. There is nothing that disciplines a thought process more than writing, especially when one knows that writing is going to be released for public consumption. We wanted to impose that discipline on our thought process and see if it bore fruit.

We also wanted to expose our ideas to the world and see how they stood up to scrutiny. Ben and I, along with the other planners at CGI, believe strongly that the current approach to zoning and land use in small towns is counterproductive, at best. There has been only marginal innovation over the past two generations of planners, and those have been variations on the same theme. We believe our current approach is bankrupting us, destroying our communities in the process. With this blog we want to sharpen our analysis and proscribed solutions by exposing them to wide public scrutiny. While we don't generate a lot of comments on the blog itself, our readership has grown and I get a lot of people who email me privately about posts. We really value the feedback.

Finally, we want to start a movement pointing the way to a more prosperous approach for our small towns and rural areas. It is not enough for us to simply work in a few communities - noble as that may be - but we are driven to create a demand for change on a broad scale. So there is a touch of evangelism in what we are doing. We're not simply critics, but critical practitioners leading people to a better way of building our communities.

Building Strong Towns.

The Strong Town concept is one we have had for a while, but it is this blog that has given it life and greater definition (see objective number one, above). In recognition of how this concept has taken center stage in our thought process, we have been retooling the blog to capture that energy. The Planner Blog was a catchy idea, but the Strong Towns Blog projects what we are doing and will tie in more closely with other things we have in the works here at CGI. 

So, for our readers on this off day (we typically post Monday, Wednesday and Friday), that is the explanation for the face lift. It is a work in progress, so as with everything we do, your feedback is appreciated. Do us a favor and tell a friend or two about what we are doing here. That is how revolutions really happen.