This past November was the ten-year anniversary of when I started writing the blog that would eventually grow into the Strong Towns movement. I started writing out of frustration with the status quo approach to growth and development, a dysfunctional system that, as a working urban planner and engineer, I was deeply involved in. I felt very alone.
A decade later, and the Strong Towns message has reached over 1.3 million people in just the past year. With a tiny staff and budget, we’re outperforming long established media organizations with our reach and level of engagement. Our events are bigger and more enthusiastic than ever. And we’re connecting people to each other, locally and nationally, so they can effectively advocate for a Strong Towns approach in their place.
When I started writing, I never imagined how many people from all walks of life would connect to the Strong Towns message. Last year I was invited to speak in Old Goucher, a struggling inner-city neighborhood in Baltimore. I was blown away by the local council member, Leon Pinkett, who introduced me to a diverse audience with a powerful synopsis of why the Strong Towns approach was needed in his neighborhood.
Over the past year, we’ve had governors, members of Congress, and mayors of major cities and small towns alike sharing our work, citing Strong Towns, and contacting us for assistance. This is powerful. Yet it’s the home-grown groups of average citizens working together in places like Indianapolis, Sioux Falls, and Shreveport that inspire me most. They are an ongoing testament to the substance of our movement.
In 2018 we began to see Strong Towns transition from a set of key ideas and insights about the struggles our communities face to an organization capable of creating revolutionary change in communities across the country. In 2019, we’ll be launching some major initiatives to do just that. It’s going to be an epic year for the Strong Towns movement.
Thank you to all our members and supporters. Keep doing what you can to build a strong town.
Charles L. Marohn, Jr. PE AICP
President | Founder