Monday, November 30, 2015

Strong Towns

 We seek an America where our local communities are designed to grow stronger in the face of adversity, to be the solid foundation on which our shared prosperity is preserved.

I had not realized that Strong Towns was a membership organization until recently. Once I did so, I joined. I'm not generally a joiner, but the Strong Towns philosophy of sustainability and of putting things like planning, zoning, and transportation into a context of how these contribute to an economically and socially self sustaining community, absent frequent infusions of IOUs, makes perfect sense to me. Indeed, in the context of how Los Alamos has discussed things like the new Smith's Marketplace, economic diversification, a walkable community, and what to do with Trinity Drive, we need to ask how projects, programs, and planning ensure that Los Alamos will persevere, regardless of what the Feds do with the National Laboratory. Having grown up in the heart of the Rust Belt (Buffalo, NY), I know firsthand what happens when the golden goose stops laying eggs.

We need to put some critical thinking into this at a deep enough level. Indeed, Kevin Shepherd of Verdunity, a Dallas based consulting firm and key Strong Towns supporter, gave the keynote at the recent joint APA/ASCE conference in Las Cruces and stressed the Strong Towns approach to truly sustainable communities. So Strong Towns needs to be present as a non-partisan think tank. I suggest you join if you have not considered it. Click up top for the full mission statement and think about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The fiscal element of "sustainability" is critical for any enterprise, including a local government. A town or county needs to receive enough revenue to sustain itself and its infrastructure. We believe land development pays for new infrastructure, but that's only true if the town or county knows what the cost of growth really is - AND they ask for that payment up front. But then, the town is stuck with the long-term costs of ownership of that infrastructure. Too much low density sprawl doesn't generate enough property tax revenue to maintain the infrastructure needed. A walkable downtown is much more valuable per acre to a town than the big box and big parking lot on the edge of town.