Chuck and Rachel recap recent events in Ashland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Northampton, Massachusetts. They also discuss upcoming events in Dallas, Texas and Monterey, California, plus a Strong Towns staff and board retreat. Finally, they check in about their holiday baking plans.
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(Top photo courtesy of The American Conservative)
A robust urban farming landscape can make your city stronger. But can it really, y’know…feed your citizens?
We conclude our podcast greatest-hits series by revisiting a 2013 conversation with Chris Gibbons, the originator of Economic Gardening. Helping home-grown companies expand—rather than importing jobs from elsewhere—Economic Gardening is the essence of a Strong Towns approach to economic development.
App developers are promising that any citizen with a smart phone can take part in planning their city like never before. But is there more to community engagement than what you can fit within the borders of a screen?
Jacqueline Hannah—assistant director at the Food Co-op Initiative—shares how you can start a neighborhood grocery co-op in your town, including how to pitch the vision to community members and elected officials, how to translate your enthusiasm into action, and how the Food Co-op initiative can help through every step of the process.
Jeff Eidson—founder of Explore Elkin—shares story behind the idea Explore Elkin and how listeners can successfully create similar groups in their own cities and towns, including how to find and pitch a shared vision to residents, how to motivate residents stuck in a psychology of decline towards their city or town, and how to use the funds generated towards small bets.
Joanna Jurgens, Head of Business Affairs at Sofar Sounds, shares how you can foster a local music scene in your community, including how to awaken that DIY spirit that’s so essential to kickstarting a local music scene, how to identify low risk strategies for creating a venue, and how to get local elected officials involved in the process.
It’s not just those who work in or with local government who have something to offer to the Strong Towns movement. Our work touches on deeper questions of how we live in community, and this is why we seek to learn from psychologists, philosophers, historians, and—in one classic 2013 podcast interview—even a religious scholar.
Four years ago, a fellow civil engineer in Minnesota tried (unsuccessfully) to challenge Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn’s license, in retaliation for Strong Towns’s criticism of infrastructure lobbying organizations. This incident still says a lot today about the need for reform in the profession.
Some cities just can’t seem to get on top of clearing snow out of the streets—even if it snows every. single. year. Why?
Is the engineering profession institutionally and intellectually prepared for a world in which we recognize that we need to slow down cars on urban streets? Revisiting one of our best podcast episodes of all time, in which Strong Towns President Chuck Marohn asks this question.