Strong Towns is a media-based organization for a reason: we're here to share a message and to promote an approach to development that makes our communities prosperous, not poor and indebted. When we share that message, our members, readers and listeners put it into action. So when that message is amplified beyond our website, or podcast, or Facebook page, it means more strong citizens can hear it and be changed by it.
2017 has been a banner year for growth in the Strong Towns movement's reach. In particular, we had the opportunity to help shape the ongoing national conversation on infrastructure spending.
In the lead up to the election, we interviewed several Strong Towns members and other experts in the fields of transportation, engineering and government to hear their thoughts on the proposed bump in infrastructure spending (touted by both presidential candidates in 2016). We asked them what they would spend that money on (hint: no new roads) and how they would go about disbursing it (think local).
Strong Towns' focus on the issue of infrastructure spending did not go unnoticed. Dozens of news outlets including several prominent national media organizations contacted Strong Towns for our take on infrastructure spending as they covered the issue in light of the new presidency.
In an article for CNBC entitled, "Why Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan is 'doomed'" Jake Novak wrote:
One of the nation's most outstanding urban planners and founder of the Strong Towns movement, Charles Marohn, has become the leading spokesman for explaining the dangers big federal infrastructure projects present for our infrastructure.
He was also included in a Marketplace report about President Trump's infrastructure plans:
Charles Marohn, an urban planner who formed the organization Strong Towns, thinks a $1 trillion federal infrastructure package is a bad idea. These are bad investments that are going to give our economy “a short sugar rush but will give us all kinds of bad after-effects,” he said.
Marohn said federal investment in major projects will only create further liabilities for cities and towns that are already strapped with the maintenance costs of their existing buildings.
If Trump insists on passing an infrastructure bill, Marohn says, it’s better to focus the money on city improvements like sewer pipe, sidewalks and other existing infrastructure. “You have all these problems. Where’s the money to do that?” he asked.
Oh, and we wrote a letter to the Trump administration laying out our vision for a financially prudent infrastructure bill.
This January, Chuck Marohn's series on the real reason your city has no money also catalyzed an important conversation about the financial implications of our development pattern and encouraged cities from Lancaster, PA to Dallas, TX to consider how their own developments might be the cause of their economic woes.
Strong Towns offers a perspective unlike any other media organization out there. We break down what's wrong with the American development model and we show you a better way forward that is not only empowering and economically prudent but also cheaper. And it's something you can get started on right now.
The growth of the Strong Towns message in media outlets across the nation is a testament to the power of our vision and its ability to change America. We want to see the Strong Towns model become the default for cities and towns across the continent. To do that, we need your help. You can help us in two big ways:
- Share this message with others whenever you can, be it on social media, via email, or in a conversation with a neighbor.
- Become a member of Strong Towns. Make a statement about your commitment to this movement while financially supporting our efforts to spread the message further by becoming a member of Strong Towns today.
(Top photo of participants in the 2014 Strong Towns National Gathering. We've grown a lot since then.)