Once you’ve picked your platform, it’s time to let your neighbors know.
It's easy to overthink this. It's also understandable if you're a bit nervous. If either of these are true about you, we recommend checking out these two recent articles. Hopefully they will give you a sense of simple and painless it can be to start connecting with kindred spirits in your town.
- "5 Places to Meet New People to Join the Strong Towns Conversation"
- "7 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Start a Strong Towns Conversation Where You Live"
There are several ways to spread the word about your new Local Conversation. Some of these are covered in more detail in the articles above, so we'll just summarize here:
- Personal invitations: Getting a Local Conversation going can be as simple as meeting in person with a couple friends or colleagues who are interested in Strong Towns topics: financial resilience, walkability and biking, transportation, housing and so on. You might also find new collaborators at a neighborhood association meeting, city council or planning commission meeting, at school or church, while out for a walk, etc.
- Online: We hear from people who are using existing local platforms to invite people to a new Local Conversation. Examples include Facebook groups, Nextdoor, and neighborhood listservs. Others use email (you can see an example below).
- Old School: You could also advertise your group using old-fashioned posters at coffee shops and parks, or on community bulletin boards.
When you reach out to your neighbors, we encourage you to be thoughtful about the language you use to promote your group. We find that group organizers who have the most success keep things open, at least in the early stages. They emphasize that while your group is guided by a core mission, what you’ll do together will be shaped by the unique talents and prerogatives of the people who show up.
Here’s how you might consider marketing a general audience who might not have heard of Strong Towns, in the form of an email:
[your platform/details about your first meeting].
If you’re not familiar with Strong Towns, they’re a really cool organization that’s trying to show North American cities why our dominant model of development is making too many of our towns go broke, and supports a radically different vision for how to build our world. You can learn more about them at www.StrongTowns.org.
This group will discuss the ins and outs of the Strong Towns vision, what that approach might mean specifically for [your city name], and identify what we can accomplish together to make it real. No prior experience reading Strong Towns is necessary; all that’s required is an open mind and a readiness to talk about what you’re most passionate about in our community. You can join our group by visiting [Link] or contacting [email].
The Local Conversations Map and Strong Towns Email List
You've started meeting (online or in-person) with at least a couple of others in your area. You've identified one or more challenges in your community and you're talking about how the Strong Towns approach can be applied to address those challenges. Now is the time to:
- Add your group to the Strong Towns Local Conversation map
- Send an email to other advocates on the Strong Towns email list, to let them know a Local Conversation group has been started in their area.
Strong Towns community builder John Pattison can help you with both these tasks. You're likely already in touch with him, but just in case, his email is email@example.com.