Here at Strong Towns, we often profile fantastic places that embody our core principles, featuring actively engaged citizens, collaborative planning, incremental development, and a personal scale.

We value these features in all of our communities, and our online community is no different. I’m talking, of course, about the Strong Towns Discussion Forum on Slack, which I will cheekily refer to as Slack Town.

For those unfamiliar, Slack is an online collaboration tool that groups and organizations can use to discuss projects, ideas and shared interests. Here at Strong Towns, we have our own thriving community on our Slack, and we’d love to have you come visit. In a nutshell, our Slack is made up of 90+ “channels” (each with their own hashtag name), created by our members. Each channel is a standalone space to discuss a specific topic, ask for advice on that issue, share links to related stories, and more. If you’d like to jump in, you can sign up for Slack Town right here.

What makes Slack Town such a wonderful place? For starters, you’ll find some of the strongest citizens around, with hundreds of Strong Towns readers discussing everything from local development projects to national current events to the latest books.

Just as different types of streets and roads ought to have different objectives, our Slack features different types of channels for different discussions:

  • The “topic” channels focus on one specific area of planning and development, and each begins with “#topic_”. Examples include #topic_architecture and #topic_bike.
  • The “place” channels” are regionally specific, such as #place_northcarolina, #place_norcal and place_cincinnati.
  • Our biggest, broadest channels each start with “_”, which allows them to show up at the top of each user’s channel list. These include #_introductions, #_general, and #_random.

One thing that makes our Slack so powerful is the diversity of interests and expertise among members. Want to find some good resources on learning how to use mapping software? Hop on over to our #topic_GIS channel. Need feedback on your town’s new transportation plan? #topic_transit has got you covered. Just want to share an article about criminally overpriced high-tech juicers? #_random is where you want to be.

And Slack Town isn’t just about abstract ideas - we’ve seen crowdsourced conversations lead to tangible changes on a local level, and we can thank a Slack discussion for the creation of NIMBYNGO.

Like so many other strong places, our Slack isn’t organized from the top-down, but is grown through incremental, citizen-scale development. Any of our users can create new Slack channels based on the needs of the community. Want to create a space to discuss issues or arrange meetups for your area? Go ahead and create a region-specific channel.

So why not join us in this virtual community? Why not meet me in Slack Town?

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