Here is Your 2022 Strongest Town Contest Elite Eight


From sea to shining sea, Strong Towns readers voted by the thousands to pick our Elite Eight in the 2022 Strongest Town Contest.

The Sweet Sixteen round of the Strongest Town contest wrapped up yesterday, and there was a fantastic response. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who cast their votes, and, of course, to the towns and cities chosen as this year’s Sweet Sixteen. That so many people voted is testament not only to the contestants’ get-out-the-vote efforts, but also to how great those cities are in the first place.

There’s much to glean from every town’s effort to build a stronger, more financially resilient community. But, unfortunately, only eight of these cities can advance to the next round. For the first time we can remember, there was a straight-up tie: The Kentucky Bracket, featuring Frankfort and Middlesboro, featured excellent entries and enthusiastic voting. We used Strong Towns Member Votes as the tiebreaker. We’re so sorry one of those fine Kentucky entries couldn’t move through. They both deserved to win.

And so, after thousands of votes cast, here are the results of Round 1:

  • White Salmon, WA (52%) vs. University Place, WA (48%)

  • Champaign, IL (76%) vs. Jersey City, NJ (24%)

  • Taylor, TX (54%) vs. Navasota, TX (46%)

  • Yellow Springs, OH (66%) vs. Salem, MA (34%)

  • Norwood, OH (63%) vs. Chauncey, OH (37%)

  • Frankfort, KY (50%) vs. Middlesboro, KY (50%)

  • Jasper, IN (54%) vs. Brighton, MI (46%)

  • Durango, CO (87%) vs. Santa Clara, CA (13% )

The eight winning communities will return on Monday, March 14, with a new challenge: They will each share five photos from their communities and explain why they think the photos demonstrate their community’s strength and resilience. We’ll see who can pull out the win in the Elite Eight Brackets, featuring:

  • Durango, CO, vs. White Salmon, WA, in a Western Showdown.

  • Taylor, TX, vs. Norwood, OH, in a Small Town Smackdown.

  • Frankfort, KY, vs. Yellow Springs, OH, in the Heartland Rumble.

  • Jasper, IN, vs. Champaign, IL, in the Midwest Mashup.

Make sure to resume voting on March 14 to help choose this year’s Strongest Town!

Here is where the full bracket stands now:

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