4 Stories of our Members Working to Build Strong Towns

Strong Towns members are changing their communities for the better every day. We share their stories frequently on our Success Stories page. Today, we're going to highlight just a few of the different ways that our members have been working to build strong towns this year. After you're read them, we invite you to join this group of incredible changemakers by becoming a member today.

Jen and Michael Smith

Jen and Michael Smith

Jen and Michael Smith, a Dynamic Duo Working to Make Rockford, IL a Strong Town

Strong Towns members, Michael and Jen Smith, moved to Rockford, IL in 2012 because they loved the historic homes, the neighborhood amenities and the community there. Soon after they arrived, they also found that there was work to be done to make Rockford a stronger town—streets that were unsafe to cross, local business owners that faced regulatory hurdles, a neighborhood school that was being closed... Earlier this year, they wrote about Strong Towns' impact on their work:

Strong Towns has allowed us to powerfully leverage one of greatest things about Rockford -- armed with data, clear and helpful examples, respect, kindness, and a whole lotta enthusiasm, you can get to people who make decisions about the future of our city, and actually make a BIG difference in how those decisions play out.

Read the rest of their story, including the Strong Towns event they planned and hosted in Rockford.

Mayor Steve Arnold gets his Region Talking about Road Funding

Steve Arnold is the mayor of Fitchburg, WI and once he began applying Strong Towns principles in his community, he quickly realized that they were not going to be able to pay for their long-term road maintenance costs. As he explained it, "We were deep into the Growth Ponzi Scheme." In his proposed 2017 Capital Improvement Plan, he included a note that privatization of roads was one possible way to address the expensive maintenance costs, and that set off a media frenzy across the state.

Read the rest of Steve's story here.

Marielle Brown Makes Streets Safer in St. Louis, MO

Marielle Brown is a Strong Towns member who recently undertook an impressive tactical urbanism project in the city of St. Louis to help make streets safer. She writes:

 Working with the City of St. Louis and several partners, we tried out traffic calming in four different neighborhoods and made this video (to the right) to show the impact of traffic calming. Since the traffic calming demonstrations last fall, we have had one intersection in front of a school completely overhauled. The City of St. Louis has also adopted an ordinance that will allow our engineers to use speed humps to slow traffic. 

Read the rest of Marielle's story.

Bruce Nesmith Brings Strong Towns into his College Classroom

Bruce Nesmith is a founding member of Strong Towns and professor of political science at Coe College. This semester, he’s teaching a freshman seminar called, "The Future of the City," and he chose to incorporate the Strong Towns Strength Test into his class.  

He gave his students a writing assignment based on the Strength Test because he feels that it’s a good entry point to a broader discussion about placemaking, urban planning, and walkability. His goal with the assignment is for students “to start thinking critically about where they are, and to be able to analyze why things in the town seem to be working or not working.”

Read the rest of Bruce's story.

Join Jen, Michael, Steve, and 1,500+ Strong Towns members who are making a difference across the nation by becoming a member today. 

You can read our growing collection of success stories here, and check back, because we're always adding to it.