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."
Maybe I live in a particularly dysfunctional city, but I have seen cases where our scheduled water line repairs occur immediately after a different department paves the roads. I just talked to a friend who was telling me that the Swiss have long term road maintenance contracts where one company will be responsible and there payment is for both the initial cost and the quality of the road over 15+ years. This invites them to use better materials and to have better planning. Do any cities do that here? Are there other best practices that we could import?