Hello everyone. We've really struggled with what to do for a discussion forum since it became apparent that the Ning site wasn't going to work. We knew that this space would suffice temporarily but that a permanent, long term solution was needed.
Today we launched our updated website at www.StrongTowns.org. There we have embedded a permanent, robust discussion board. This is a priority for us -- and you -- so we are paying for a really good service that will serve us for a long, long time.
You can also get there in a native (non-embedded) format directly at www.StrongTowns.net.
A couple of things to note:
- We opted to go with a separate (not affiliated with our web provider) service. This means you will have a separate non-Strong Towns login and password. That was the downside to having a very robust platform that had 24:7 support and an interface that would be up to what we wanted to see. While some will have an additional login, it will also allow people who aren't signed up with Strong Towns to participate, which won't be a bad thing.
- We have backed up all of the conversations from Ning and are trying to find a way to import them into this system. Ditto with the conversations here. There is a lot of good work there.
- As we get going, we are going to need a handful of forum editors, people to help us keep out the trolls and the spam and make the Strong Towns Network a worthy destination. Let us know if you are interested.
- This is the last move. We promise. The Ning site (the old Strong Towns Network) was a worthy experiment that didn't pan out. This site was a temporary fix. We have every expectation that this is a permanent move; that is our intention.
On a recent trip over to Burlington, VT, I discovered a whole new urban residential area recently constructed in Winooski, VT, just two miles over the hill from downtown Burlington. There are seven new multi story buildings in one compact area with perhaps 400 to 600 new apartments or condos, and they are exactly what the New Urbanists would want to see. The locaion is 44.4903,-73.1842 on any of the internet maps, but you will find that the Google and Yahoo maps are more up to date than Bing maps, plus Google maps have the advantage of their streetview.
The population of Winooski increased from 6,561 in 2000 to a reported 7,267in 2010, for an increase of roughly 12%, and has probably increased another 3 or 4 percent since then, due to the amount of new housing recently completed. The city has a land area of only 1.5 square miles so the total length of streets and other utilities is relatively low compared to the growing tax base. Winooski is therefore unlikely to suffer the same financial squeeze as most suburban areas. In other words, Winooski may be one of the first good examples of a Strong Town.
Furthermore, it should be easy for a family to live there with only one car. Downtown Winooski is on a CCTA bus line into the city of Burlington, with about 47 trips per day on weekdays, and about half that number on Saturdays and Sundays. And it is only about two miles to the airport, easily done by bicycle in good weather.
Are there any other nominations for the title of first Strong Town in the US?
"It’s a methodology question. There are highly successful companies out there—brand names that we all know—that changed their methodology from large design, development, acceptance criteria, and provisioning. They moved to an agile methodology: fail early, fail fast. Deliver a minimally viable product and then iterate, and iterate, and iterate. If you’re able to get something out that the people can start working with, you can start getting consumer feedback rapidly. Your customers—the residents, visitors, and businesses in the City of LA—can actually work with you to develop your product...
"Traditional city development methodology says we procure it, we design it, we develop it, we deliver it, and then we don’t think about it ever again. More modern development methodologies say we develop something really early, it’s basic but functional, and then we iterate upon the service continuously."