Strong Towns advocates are stepping up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As an article in Concentrate Ann Arbor explains:

Controversies around new developments often follow a predictable pattern, with residents getting involved late in the approval process, typically when the development already seems like a done deal. Residents then make passionate pleas to preserve their city's character and to fend off outsiders coming in to build something ugly and outsized.

But what if citizens could be involved earlier in the process and could work with developers, instead of against them, to create development that would enhance the city?

Enter the Ann Arbor YIMBY group. YIMBY stands for Yes In My BackYard and it represents a movement of people who are encouraging new housing and development in their downtowns and urban areas (as opposed to NIMBYs — Not In My BackYard — who generally oppose new developments). The Ann Arbor YIMBY group organized via Facebook and has been discussing issues like filling in parking lots with productive buildings and building more housing in the city center. 

Strong Towns member Jarod Malestein is part of the group:

Jarod Malestein works in information technology and has no urban planning or architecture background, but the Ann Arbor YIMBY group is a fit for his interest in the built environment.

About four years ago, he learned about a nonprofit organization called Strong Towns that emphasizes a model of development creating resilience and financial strength.

 "At some point, I got tired of reading stuff and wanted to change my thoughts into action," he says. "The Ann Arbor YIMBY group seemed to be full of people interested in helping to make Ann Arbor a better place."

We're floored to hear about Strong Towns members taking what they read on our site and putting it into action. If you'd like to connect with Strong Towns members in your area, head to the Local Conversations page.

(Top photo source: Ann Arboy YIMBY Facebook page)