Here at Strong Towns, we believe that we need a million people who care about our vision for growth and development in America before we can change the conversation about what our cities need. But we also need people that care about one another—and who work together to make the places they love extraordinary.
In the spirit of Valentines Day, we want to hear from you: Pick one person in your life who inspires you to be a stronger citizen, who builds Strong Towns by your side, or who changes the way you think about what our cities need.
And we're not just talking to those of you who happen to be married to badass urban planners and engineers. (You can play too, though.)
Are you and a friend starting a community garden together? Are you and your boyfriend buying a duplex and actively planning ways to keep the tax value of the property high? Do you ride bikes with your kids and talk about ways that streets could be designed better? Do you just have a really big crush on a community leader who's using Strong Towns principles to shape your city (we're looking at you, Josef Bray-Ali)?
Let us know about your Strong Towns Valentine! Post a picture, a story, or both in the comments--and if you'd like to shout your love from the rooftops, post it on social media, too. Don't forget to tag us and use the hashtag #MyStrongTownsValentine.
We'll start with a couple examples from Strong Towns staff:
#MyStrongTownsValentine is my fiancé, Jack. He encourages me to walk or bike or bus (and avoid clown car driving) and is often the person walking/biking/busing beside me. He also works with me in my efforts to help strengthen my neighborhood through involvement in community groups, like the Riverwest and Harambee Credit Union. Most of all, he inspires me to get to know my neighbors better and to see everyone in my neighborhood as a potential friend and fellow #StrongCitizen.
#MyStrongTownsValentine is the late Italian writer Italo Calvino for his book Invisible Cities, the best love letter I have ever read about the wonder of the places we call home. Rather than using rights-of-way or zoning codes, Calvino measures cities through memories, connections, language and tradition to explore what is possible. From the mess of strings that tangle the city of Ersilia – one for every relationship between its inhabitants – to cranes lifting other cranes in the never-ending construction of Thekla, there is no book that inspires me more.
My Strong Towns Valentine is my husband, Edward Erfurt. I admire the way he works to build strong towns using a successful mix of intelligence and humor... even when I do something like lose all of his blog posts, and he has to start over from the beginning.
Now tell us about your Strong Towns Valentine!
Want more ways to share the love today?
How about sending a planning-themed valentine like the ones below?
Today is also a great day to read one of our most popular articles of all time: "A Suburban Engagement Photoshoot,"in which contributor Nate Hood decides to take his engagement photos at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Strong Towns.
(Top photo by Katsuhito Nojiri)