Community Change: The Strong America Tour is Heading to Denton

At its foundation, the international tour is a book showcase. But through audience participation, Strong America hopes to ignite a "strong town revolution" of community strength and stability across America.

The nationwide Strong America tour promoting Chuck Marohn’s book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity, will be in Denton on Nov. 21. While the book release is the reason for the tour, Marohn, an engineer and land use planner from Minnesota, also hopes he will be able galvanize citizen and government leaders to create what he calls a “strong town revolution.”

“All across North America, cities and towns are realizing they need a new approach to growth,” Marohn said in a statement. “It’s more than a trend; it’s an international movement.”

The premise for Marohn’s movement is that, since World War II, communities have been built in a fundamentally flawed way. According to a statement, infrastructure such as roads and buildings have been added to cities and towns with no thought to future costs or whether that infrastructure makes communities better or worse today. 

“Only when we embrace the lessons our ancestors learned over thousands of years of trial and error can we restore strength and stability to our communities and stop the long, slow decline we’re experiencing,” Marohn said.

There are five main tenets of Marohn’s movement including:

  • 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.

 

Part of the Strong America Tour is an audience participation element through a “choose your own adventure” during which Marohn offers a range of presented tracks. At each stop on the tour, the audience can identify an area where that community can make a change right now, which is tailored to each host city or town.

Another element of the tour is that a Strong Towns staffer is expected to write an essay about the stories uncovered at Denton and the other stops. Those essays will be compiled into an e-book including photos, profiles of local advocates, tour diary updates, and writing from Strong Towns advocates.

“It’s clear that cities and towns of every size are hungry for a new approach that can help them grow financially strong and resilient,” said Marohn. “Every time I visit a different town, I am gratified to see how passionate and smart and creative people can be. Meeting people, hearing their stories, and exchanging ideas is my favorite part of the job.”

The free Strong America event will be held at Stoke from noon to 1 p.m. Along with Denton, the tour also includes dozens of other cities and towns across North America. 

Strong Towns began in 2008 as a blog created by Marohn and is now a national media organization and nonprofit publishing daily content from multiple contributors, sharing weekly podcasts, and giving presentations in the U.S. and Canada. It has an audience of more than 1.5 million yearly readers and has over 2,900 members.

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