What is a strong community? They are places where people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic levels want to live because a high quality of life can be achieved; and residents are engaged and in-the-know about their community assets and how they contribute to the whole. If you don’t actually understand why and how your town is strong, you probably don’t live in a strong town.
Since life is complex, the factors that enhance our quality of life are numerous. These factors include our health, safety, levels of social capital, psychological sense of belonging, and economic opportunity. Strong towns have forward-thinking leaders that measure success by these factors and strive to prevent our communities from falling behind when compared to competing second tier US cities. In strong communities, people and organizations are supported in creating growth and innovation, while avoiding initiatives and investments that are narrow-minded, inequitable, wasteful, and unsustainable.
Strong Towns helps communities reexamine how they approach resource management in order to become more financially resilient. On their website, you can find a wealth of resources, including articles, podcasts, and video courses to learn more about how you can take action in your own community.
Next City is a news site whose mission is to “inspire greater economic, environmental, and social justice in cities.” Their articles focus on solutions for creating more equitable and sustainable neighborhoods.
IncDev Alliance offers workshops and bootcamps for small developers, and works with local groups on pilot programs in their communities with a focus on small-scale, incremental development. You can view some of their presentations and learn more about their current initiatives on their website.
Social Capital Research offers training and consulting resources that focus on organizational culture and social capital.
The Regional Plan Association is a nonprofit that researches urban issues and advises policymakers in the New York Metropolitan area. Reports, campaigns, research briefs, and more are available on their website.
New Neighborhoods is a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in Fairfield County. The organization has been actively developing, preserving, and managing low, moderate, and middle-income ownership and rental housing for over 50 years.
Stamford’s Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) is a Business Improvement District with the mission of managing, enhancing, and promoting the Downtown Stamford experience.
Connecticut Main Street Center helps to revitalize downtown communities across the state by working with local stakeholders and advocating for programs and policies that support thriving downtown areas.
Articles of Note:
Stop Asking the Public What They Want (Strong Towns)
Is your state solvent? https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/01/21/is-your-state-solvent/
Two Perplexing Development Narratives
PBS News Segment on CT Housing Crisis, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-zoning-can-restrict-or-even-prevent-affordable-housing
Have You Meet This Guy?