At the start of 2021, we announced that it was going to be the Year of Action at Strong Towns. Following the hardships of 2020, we, like so many others, were wondering, “How do we put things back together? How do we strengthen places that were financially frayed even before [the pandemic]? How do our local businesses, neighborhoods, and communities recover in an economy that has disadvantaged them in almost every way?” The answer we arrived at was that we cannot wait for others to fix things on our behalf—we must instead take action with the people around us.
In that spirit, we strove to help advocates who were pushing to rebuild their struggling communities, taking the small steps and making the little bets that add up to lasting change. We were proud of and humbled by the number of people we saw organizing in their communities, taking on neighborhood projects, and even running for (and winning!) positions in their local governments. This movement is growing, and it’s thanks to the people who are out there doing the bottom-up work to strengthen their places.
To support that work, Strong Towns launched several new initiatives designed to help people take action. This included the Action Lab, a central, easy-to-search hub for all of our most actionable content; the Local-Motive Tour, a series of online workshops that spanned from February to March; and a new map that helps people track cities in America that have reformed their parking regulations. We also kicked off the Confessions Book Tour, and hosted a total of 75 events (both in person and virtually) and 125 Local Conversations! Getting to see Strong Towns advocates and members again after a year of isolation was amazing, and we were so grateful for the people we met and the connections we forged through our events in 2021.
At the end of the day, Strong Towns members drive this movement. We couldn’t do what we do without your support, and what we do would mean nothing if people weren’t out there taking real action in their communities. So as we share our 2021 Annual Report with you, we hope you read it knowing that it’s as much about you—the advocates and members of Strong Towns—as it is about us, the organization. Thank you for all your hard work, and keep doing what you can to build a strong town.