Local Conversations are groups of Strong Towns advocates in a particular place who come together to talk about the Strong Towns approach and how it can be implemented where they live. Since 2018, more than 100 of these local groups have formed around the U.S. and Canada. In many ways, they are the front lines of the Strong Towns movement. In communities large and small, they are helping to make their streets safer and more productive, doing the math on proposed infrastructure projects, using tactical urbanism to activate underutilized spaces, supporting entrepreneurs and incremental developers, and much, much more.
In addition to the 100+ existing Local Conversations, there are about 80 additional communities where leaders have started the process of forming neighborhood groups. Strong Towns staff come alongside and help where we can, providing a number of resources for groups just getting off the ground. And later this week, I’ll be inviting all our Local Conversation leaders to join a Discord server where organizers from new and experienced groups alike can learn from each other, support one another, and share stories.
Once a few advocates have started to meet together, we add the group to our Local Conversations map. (Finding allies isn’t as intimidating or complicated as it might sound, as we’ve written about before.) Then we send an email to everyone on our email list in that area to let them know a group has formed.
Last week, I added five new Local Conversations to our map. New groups have officially formed in Chicago; Baltimore; and Portland, Oregon; and two groups have formed in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Those cities have a combined population of 4.4 million. All told, I emailed nearly 800 Strong Towns advocates to let them know a group had just started near them. That’s 800 advocates who know they’re not alone as they challenge the status quo, the Suburban Experiment that is making our cities financially weaker, less safe, less inviting, and less livable.
As I mentioned above, there are now about 110 Local Conversations around North America, with many others in the process of formation. Our goal is to help 1,000 such groups form, grow, and start taking action together in the next five years. We’re laying the groundwork for that now. It may seem like a lot, but consider that it’s only about 17 groups per state and province. We envision a constellation of villages, towns, and cities across the U.S. and Canada that are lighting the way for other communities who want to make a difference in their places.
Are you ready to find or create a group near you? Click here to get started.