Local Conversation FAQs

John Pattison
John Pattison
  • Updated

Does Strong Towns found or maintain these local groups? Are these your official “chapters”?

No. The groups and conversations on our map are completely initiated and managed by people who want to talk Strong Towns in their community. The Strong Towns organization is committed to helping people connect, but we're too busy sharing our message with as many people as we can reach to have official "chapters." If you'd like to learn more about our organization, you can read this piece on why we don't have local chapters. 

If there's already a group in my town, can I start another one?

Sure, but we'd recommend you connect with members of the existing group first to see whether working together might be possible. There's strength in numbers!

My book club/city council/chamber of commerce/other group I belong to really likes Strong Towns, and sometimes we talk about you guys, but not always. Can we be on the map?

No. Groups on this map are primarily defined by and focused on their shared passion for the Strong Towns movement. We’re grateful for your interest, though, and if you'd like to share about how Strong Towns has inspired your group, we'd love to hear about it. (And if you're a business, nonprofit, government body or other formal organization, check out our sponsorship opportunities.)

When is a Local Conversation considered officially up-and-running?

Here is an overview of how the Local Conversation process works:

What we ask of a new Local Conversation leader is that they meet at least one time with at least two other people, to talk about Strong Towns and how the Strong Towns approach can be used to make their town or city better. It's not even important that the other people have heard of Strong Towns, so long as they are a kindred spirit who shares your hopes for a stronger, more resilient community.

When that first meeting happens, let us know by emailing our community builder John Pattison at john@strongtowns.org. Because at that point we can help promote the new group in two ways:

  1. We will add your group to the Local Conversations map.
  2. We will send an email to everyone on our email list in your area to let them know a new group has started and how to get in touch with the organizers.

How do I know if I'm the right person to start a Local Conversation?

Local Conversations leaders come from all walks of life. This includes everyone from students to retirees, from built environment professionals to passionate laypeople, entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents, city staff and elected officials, and what we call Strong Citizens. You don't have to be have a a black belt in urbanism to be a Local Conversation leader. You don't even have to be an expert in Strong Towns. What you need more than anything is a passion for making your town safer, more livable, and more inviting using the Strong Towns approach -- and a commitment to working across differences with others to get stuff done.

Just because you are the one to initiate a Local Conversation doesn't mean all the responsibility will be on your shoulders. As you begin to connect with others in your area, your group will benefit from a growing variety of skills, experiences, interests, and personalities. In fact, most of our especially effective Local Conversations have not one leader but a whole leadership team.

What kind of information do you need to put our new Local Conversation on the map?

We need to know two things:

1. The name of your group. Most folks do Strong Towns [City], Strong [City], or Stronger [City], but others come up with names that don't include "Strong Towns" at all. You can see examples on the Local Conversations map.

2. How you want people to connect with you. For example: an email address, Facebook group, website, a combination of those, or something else altogether. I do recommend that you include an email address (or a website) no matter what, just because there are going to be people who want to connect but who aren't on Facebook, Instagram, Discord, etc. Many folks set up a dedicated address using Gmail -- for example "strongtowns[cityname]@gmail.com" -- but that's not a requirement.

I'm not ready to start a group in my city, but I’d love to join one if someone else does. How can I receive notifications about new groups in my area?

Join our email list and we'll make sure to update you as soon as a group forms.

My question isn't answered here.

Please contact our community builder, John Pattison, john@strongtowns.org with any further questions.


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