Over on the Strong Towns Slack (which will be accessible to members soon), Matthias Leyrer asked a question. What do we call ourselves? Strong Townies? Towners?
So far, the official term has been Strong Citizen. That's what I use on this blog. But I have to say, it does feel a bit restrictive. There's no verb for being a Strong Citizen and it's a bit... cult-y for casual use.
So here's a secret: I've been calling y'all other nicknames in my head.
#1 The Counts
There's a sizeable chunk of the Strong Towns following that I call, The Counts.
What do The Counts do? They #dothemath.
These are citizens who are all like, "Hold up. Something doesn't seem right here. Can we pull some numbers on this? Just as I thought. This development will never break even. We should rectify this."
Their passion in this movement is to prevent their cities and towns from going bankrupt. They do so by revealing the underlying arithmetic behind poor development decisions like excessive infrastructure. They also reveal the parts of their cities that actually create more value than they suck up so we can know where to point the compass.
The Counts are on a mission to get more people to #dothemath, so they write op-eds and analyze data, and spread the message in many other ways.
Then, there are homebuddies. These are not limited to the Strong Towns community or any other urbanist sect. They are simply people who are tight with the place they live. There's a hint of homebody in there because they get a lot out of the simple pleasures of home, but they take it one step further and make the relationship reciprocal.
What do homebuddies do? Homebudding: growing homeyness. Creating opportunities for more life where they live. (Or in Strong Towns terminology, they create productive places with incremental investments over a broad area, over a long period of time.)
Homebudding can take the form of many things we already recognize: guerrilla gardening, yarn-bombing, chair-bombing, street theatre, DIY crosswalks, pop-up shops, porch parties, intersection repair, etc. It's kind of like tactical urbanism, placemaking, and incremental development wrapped into one infinitely more charming and usable term.
#3 Le Comte d'Amie-de-chez-moi (Or the more boring version: Count Homebuddy)
^Because why not be both :)
I made you a little video. I'm sure we'd all be tickled by your own #haikuforhomebuddies. Tweet 'em my way if you've got a good one.
All photos and video by Gracen Johnson.