Final 2016 bracket. Click to view larger.

What's this competition all about?

Join us for the 2017 Second Annual Strongest Town Contest— a bracket-based competition to find the strongest town. We're inviting our members, listeners and readers to nominate towns based on the Strong Towns strength test and Strong Towns principles. We know that no one's town is perfect. This contest is about showcasing towns that are doing their best to be strong, that have the building blocks in place to be strong towns today and in the future.  

You are invited to nominate your town for this contest. The initial submissions will be judged by a panel of Strong Towns staff, board and contributors. Together, they'll determine the initial Sweet Sixteen. Throughout the month of March, we'll invite our readers and listeners to vote on match-ups between these towns based on a variety of assessment tools including podcast interviews, photos and essays. By March 24, we'll find the winner of our contest. The winner will get a free Curbside Chat in their town later in 2017. (Note: While the contest is open to anyone in the world, we can only offer the Curbside Chat in the continental United States due to the small budget of our organization.)

Contest Rules

  • To enter the contest, please fill out this form. It asks a series of short-answer questions related to the strength of your town’s transportation system, finance situation, community health and more.
  • Anyone can create a submission for his or her town (meaning you don't have to be an elected official or some other official town representative). We encourage you to work with other residents in your town to put together your application. There is no limit on the number of collaborators.
  • The deadline for submissions is February 17 at 11pm CT.
  • If you are invited on to the next round, you will be asked to participate in another step of the application process. See Schedule below for details.
  • The first round will be judged by Strong Towns staff and board in order to determine the Sweet Sixteen. After that, it'll be up to our readers to vote for their favorites each week, and take us down to the championship round at the end of March.
  • Winners will get a free Curbside Chat in their town, plus signed copies of our books, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volumes I and II, and a certificate proclaiming their town: The Strongest.
  • Strong Towns staffregular contributorsboard members and last year's winner (Carlisle, PA) are excluded from participating in this competition. 


Feb. 17: Town nominations due by 11pm CT.
Feb 27-Mar 2: Sweet Sixteen is notified, their answers are published and Strong Towns readers vote for the strongest.
Mar 3: Elite Eight are notified and 3-5 photos are requested of them, illustrating the strength of their town.
Mar 6-7: Elite Eight photos are published and Strong Towns readers vote for the strongest.
Mar 9-10: Final Four are notified and interviewed for the Strong Towns podcast to talk about their town.
Mar 13-16: Final Four podcasts are published and Strong Towns readers vote for the strongest.
Mar 20: The Championship Round is announced and a live webinar takes place with the final two. Strong Towns readers vote for the strongest.
Mar 24: The winner is announced!

Questions about the contest? Please contact

Contest Phases

Once our staff, board and contributors select the strongest 16 entries, we'll publish their answers to our initial questionnaire on our website and invite everyone to vote between each of eight town match-ups.

Based on your votes, we'll invite eight towns to move on to the next round and send us some photos to illustrate the strength of their town. Again, you'll all have a chance to vote between town match-ups.

In the Final Four round, we'll invite the winners of each match-up to come onto the Strong Towns podcast to make their case for why theirs is the strongest town. We'll publish these podcasts and invite our audience to listen and vote in two final match-ups.

As the culmination of our Strongest Town contest, we'll invite the top two towns onto a live webcast to debate and discuss the strength of their towns. Our audience will vote between these two, and then we'll declare the winner.