A Bet That Paid Off

The Strongest Town Bracket

We're always brainstorming and testing out new ideas at Strong Towns. It's folded into our approach to everything we do — adapting to feedback, making small investments, aiming to be chaotic but smart. One of our new ideas this year was the Strongest Town Contest -- a March Madness bracket-style competition where towns across the country competed to find out which was the strongest. There's never been anything like it before.

It was an experiment. We were prepared to adapt to feedback and scratch the plan if it failed, or to modify the contest for a smaller applicant pool if only a few people participated.

But what happened was something more successful than we could've possibly imagined. Over the course of March 2016, thousands of new people were exposed to the Strong Towns message of financial resilience. Tens of thousands of votes were cast. Dozens of newspapers, television stations and blogs covered the story. And at the end of it all, we crowned one incredible strong town—Carlisle, PA—the winner. 

While the challenges that American communities face are important and a big focus of the work we do at Strong Towns, so too are the positive examples. The Strongest Town contest was all about injecting some positivity into our discourse and showcasing fantastic examples of towns that are making it work, with everything from tiny parklets to big budget overhauls. This contest introduced you to everyday people who are working together to improve their neighborhoods and towns, with results to show for it.

We're planning to bring the contest back in 2017, better than ever, adapting to the feedback we received from participants and members. It's only June but I'm already looking forward to that.

If you enjoy the interactive activities that Strong Towns hosts and want us to be able to continue to put on events like the Strongest Town contest, we ask that you support us with your membership. It's the last day in our membership drive, so take a minute to do that. 

Thank you for your support!