What Strong Towns is Doing for Your Town

A couple of weeks ago, we sent an email to Strong Towns readers who have engaged with our content for a long time but haven't yet decided to become members. In our email, we asked them to take that step. We're thankful that many answered our call and initiated memberships that day.

But we also received this email in response:

Guilty! If Strong Towns were engaged in saving Florida from itself, membership would make sense. As it is, I fight the battle alone (well, almost).

Change my mind. Show me what you have done, can do, or will be doing for Florida, and I am all in.

So, dear email writer, I would like to show you exactly what you asked for.

Photo from the Strong Towns National Gathering, 2014. We've grown a lot since then.

Photo from the Strong Towns National Gathering, 2014. We've grown a lot since then.

You're Not Alone

Let me start by responding to the initial part of your email "I fight the battle alone (well, almost.)" The truth is, you're far from alone. Florida is actually the fifth most represented state in Strong Towns membership with a whopping 59 Floridians who are members of Strong Towns. If you join them, as I'm sure others will this week, that number will grow further.

Every Strong Towns member in Florida and across the country is fighting the battle to make their towns and states into better, more financially healthy and strong place to lives. It sounds like you are too. 

If you became a member of Strong Towns, you'd have many opportunities to connect with your fellow Florida members, including through our Slack discussion forum, our events (we've been to numerous Florida cities and towns over the last several years) and our member webcasts. After becoming a member, I promise you won't feel nearly so alone. Rather, you'll feel you're part of a community of likeminded, yet diverse people who want to build Strong Towns too. I know that's what happened when I joined Strong Towns, and it's what our members have been sharing all week on our site.

We are fighting for Florida, and we're also fighting for this nation.

Although it might not, at first glance, seem like Strong Towns is "engaged in saving Florida itself," I'd contend that we very much are. 

Let me take you back a couple years to explain why: Strong Towns began in a small town in northern Minnesota. There was a point not too long ago as our organization grew, when we entertained the idea of being a Minnesota-focused nonprofit—doing consulting and hosting events and writing content about issues in Minnesota. Maybe we would've made some good things happen in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as a result.

But we did not choose that direction for our organization, because we are not just an organization. We are a movement. We want to build strong towns across America, not just in one state or another. And we believe that our goals can only be achieved if a critical mass of people in this country (we're aiming for a million) are tuned into the Strong Towns message and working to implement it where they live. Instead of just seeing some Minnesota towns reevaluate their development pattern, we are seeing governments, organizations and citizens across the continent begin to build more prosperous and economically sustainable communities.

We think that we are stronger together—that someone in a small town in Iowa can learn things from someone in a small town in Maine; that even people in a suburb in California can learn things from people in a big city in Texas or, yes, a town in Florida. We're proud to share articles and interviews from contributors around the continent.

And we've actually written a lot about Florida over the years. Here are some of our articles on Florida recently. One of our regular contributors and long-time members, Daniel Herriges, is from Florida and has written extensively about the state. In many ways, it's a poster child for the suburban experiment and our work at Strong Towns is especially applicable and needed there.

When you become a member of Strong Towns, you are declaring that you will work to build strong towns in your community.

Why We Need You

But here's the thing, we can't make Florida or any state a stronger place without you. I don't just mean your financial support. I mean you—reading our content, attending our events, discussing important issues, and bringing everything you learn back to your town. 

When you become a member of Strong Towns, you are not just making a financial contribution to our movement or even just making a statement of support for what we're doing. When you become a member of Strong Towns, you are declaring that you will work to build strong towns in your community.

This relationship is symbiotic: We are working to make towns in Florida and towns across the country safer, healthier, stronger and more resilient for future generations by sharing tools and ideas and discussions. And we need you to work to make your town stronger by putting those tools, ideas and discussions into action. 

So, in closing, when you become a member of Strong Towns, you are helping us to build Strong Towns across America and you are helping your community to become strong at the same time. It goes both ways. We care deeply about the fate of Florida, just like you. That's why we need you as a member of Strong Towns.

Related stories

Top photo by Johnny Sanphillippo