The Strong Towns Approach - Core Insights

John Pattison
John Pattison
  • Updated

We use this phrase a lot on the Strong Towns site: “the Strong Towns approach.”

The reason we use that language so often is because we can’t use phrases like The Strong Towns Plan and The Strong Towns Method. We just don’t believe in one-size-fits-all techniques that can be applied everywhere and all the time without deference to local context. 

Instead, we advocate for a particular way of thinking about how we build North American cities. A mere plan simply isn’t comprehensive enough to help communities effectively navigate the never-ending stream of tough decisions they must make every day. But a way of thinking—a philosophy, framework, approach—can do just that.

In our Top Content section, you’ll find articles that unpack the Strong Towns approach and apply it to public investment, housing, transportation, development, and more. But here’s how we summarize the Strong Towns approach:

The Strong Towns approach is a radically new way of thinking about how we build our world. We believe that in order to truly thrive, our cities and towns must:

  • Stop valuing efficiency and start valuing resilience.
  • Stop betting our futures on huge, irreversible projects, and start taking small, incremental steps and iterating based on what we learn.
  • Stop fearing change and start embracing a process of continuous adaptation.
  • Stop building our world based on abstract theories, and start building it based on how our places actually work and what our neighbors actually need today.
  • Stop obsessing about future growth and start obsessing about our current finances.

But most importantly, we believe that Strong Citizens from all walks of life can and must participate in a Strong Towns approach—from citizens to leaders, professionals to neighbors, and everyone between. And that means we need you.


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