Welcome to our second round of our Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to view the photographs that representatives from these two towns have submitted to showcase their strength and resilience, and judge them based on Strong Towns principles. Please scroll down to the bottom to vote for the strongest!
Entry submitted by: Carlee Alm-LaBar, Mayor Joel Robideaux, and Kate Durio
With one of the largest buildings in Lafayette in the background, Lafayette residents enjoy the new library plaza on Congress Street. Congress Street, formerly a five-lane arterial bordering downtown Lafayette, was recently restriped to slow traffic, add parking, provide a new public space, and create safer access to Downtown.
Downtown Lafayette’s most beloved urban park, Parc Sans Souci, is the home of countless community events and the now-famous “Be the ‘Y’” in Lafayette letters. The letters were installed after a successful crowdfunding campaign and quickly became one of most photographed places in Lafayette. The letters are regularly painted to match community events—in this picture they are recognizing Lafayette’s hometown team, the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Culture infuses every part of living in Lafayette, and Festival International is one of the best celebrations of Lafayette’s culture. Held every April, Festival International de Louisiane is the largest (free!) international music and arts festival in the United States with a special emphasis on the connection between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Hosting more than 300,000 festival goers every year, the 5-day annual event features musical performances by artists from more than 20 countries along with workshops, exhibits, visual art, theater and other forms of performance arts.
St. John’s Cathedral is one of the iconic buildings in the city of Lafayette and a place treasured by more than the Catholic population of Lafayette. The azaleas bloom in March and are celebrated in the recently-revived Azalea Trail which tours the older parts of the city when the bushes are in bloom.
Communities are nothing without engaged community members. Pictured here are members of a neighborhood “coterie” (from the French, "circle of acquaintances”) alongside University representatives planning a Better Block in one of the historic neighborhoods near downtown. “Better Block McKinley” held last October resulted in a restripe of a one-way street back to two-way traffic and the installation of permanent string lights on the street.
Entry submitted by: Brian Meade
Mill City Grows fosters food justice by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education. Abandoned trash filled lots are now beautiful gardens where community members meet to share gardening tips and learn about each other's cultures. They also partner with Lowell public schools to teach kids about gardening and eating healthy.
After decades of neglect and demolition Lowell decided to preserve and embrace its industrial past. Since the 1980's 5.2 million square feet of mill space has been redeveloped in the downtown and is now home to the Lowell National Historic Park. Lowell is now a national model for preservation and continues to evolve by reusing the mills for housing, office, education, museum, and cultural purposes.
Lowell Makes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, shared community workshop and laboratory. They are an organized group of local artists, engineers, makers, and thinkers who work together to provide tools and learning resources to the public. Members can take classes to learn knew skills or hone their craft. They are focused on providing a space for education, entrepreneurship, and engagement with the community of Lowell.
Lowell Walks is a series of free guided walking tours of Lowell on Saturday mornings throughout the spring and summer. Each tour has a different topic led by a different tour guide. These walks help people experience Lowell's rich history, architecture, culture, and ethnic neighborhoods on foot and frequently draw more than 100 attendees.
For years an alley in the Acre section of Lowell was full of trash and a haven for illegal activity. UMass Lowell, the Acre Coalition to Improve Our Neighborhood, and countless volunteers partnered to transform this blighted strip into a 1,200 foot public space filled with art. The Decatur Way alley is now a safe place for residents to walk, play, and gather. It's one of the many community driven assets that makes Lowell a Strong Town.
Voting is closed.