Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a weekly Strong Towns podcast that gives you the wisdom and encouragement you need to take the small yet powerful actions that can make your city or town stronger.
It’s the Little Things features Strong Towns Community Builder Jacob Moses in conversation with various guests who have taken action in their own places and in their own ways.
At Strong Towns, we encourage our Strong Citizens—readers and members who care about their place and want to do what they can to make it more financially strong and resilient—to jump in and get involved in making change. And one of the best ways to do that is to run for something.
Run for city council. Run for a board seat. Heck, run for mayor.
Local government is a platform through which—no matter your interests or expertise—you can share your vision and do your part to build a resilient place.
We’ve heard success stories from countless Strong Citizens about the things they’ve been able to achieve in their communities. We’ve covered members who’ve used their spot on council to end parking minimums or create a new community park. Equally important, we’ve celebrated our members for taking that brave first step of choosing to run at all.
Strong Citizens create stronger places when they run for something—but, for those of us who’ve never done it before—the process can be intimidating and ambiguous.
One way to get your toes wet? Your city likely has a variety of citizen boards or advisory committees that are a great chance to influence policy and get a front row view of the workings of government—without jumping straight into a citywide election campaign.
That’s why, in this episode, we have Strong Towns member Ben Harrison on the podcast, who’s finishing his time serving on Lloydminster’s citizen advisory committee for the City’s Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan.
If you’re unfamiliar with citizen advisory committees, these are groups of citizen stakeholders—think community leaders, business owners, etc.—who help elected officials and city staff create formal plans for the city. These committees could help cities, for example, select bond items or create comprehensive plans.
Ben encountered many of the joys and trials of serving on a citizen advisory committee, and, in this episode, shares why this is a great way you should consider getting involved in your community as well, including how to pitch your vision to city staff, how to introduce Strong Towns principles, and how serving on a citizen advisory committee can help you feel closer to your community.