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This podcast features stories of the Strong Towns movement in action. Hosted by Rachel Quednau, it's all about how regular people have stepped up to make their communities more economically resilient, and how others can implement these ideas in their own places. We’ll talk about taking concrete action steps, connecting with fellow advocates to build power, and surviving the bumps along the way—all in the pursuit of creating stronger towns.
 
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show series
 
“Incremental development” is a term you might’ve heard if you’ve been following Strong Towns for a little while. This concept refers to small-scale projects like updating downtown commercial spaces or renovating duplexes; the main thing is that these projects are led by individuals or teams of local residents, not huge companies. So, encouraging an…
 
Lauren Fisher grew up in Alaska—both in the city and in a very remote, fly-in only region. Today she lives in rural Wisconsin on a burgeoning homestead with her husband. She has a dog, a cat, several rabbits and chickens, and will hopefully have goats or a cow very soon. Lauren is dedicated to building up household resilience, which, for her family…
 
When you’ve got a friend or family member visiting you from out of town, where do you take that person? After you’ve said your hellos and they’ve dropped off their bags, where is the fun place you head to show them what your community is all about? Is it, by chance, a brewery, or the farmers market stand with the homemade cheese and sausage, or may…
 
Michael Kelley is the Director of Policy at BikeWalkKC, an advocacy organization based in Kansas City, Missouri. Their mission is to “redefine our streets as places for people to build a culture of active living.” Michael sees biking and walking as tools that enable people to get where they need to go in a safe, affordable, independent manner. Thes…
 
Nick Meyer started Volume One magazine when he was fresh out of college as a way to help show his fellow citizens of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the life and vitality happening all around them. Now, 20 years later, the publication has grown tremendously, and expanded into a retail space, cohost, and creator of many local events, and an all-around suppor…
 
Strong Towns member Haile McCollum is a successful small business owner, creative, and leader in her town of Thomasville, Georgia. In this episode of The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, host Rachel Quednau talks with Haile about her ongoing dedication to her town through a number of activities and positions, especially local boards. We hear about Hai…
 
Strong Towns member John Simmerman cares deeply about community health and wellbeing, and founded the organization Active Towns to help cities think about and create more opportunities for physical activity within neighborhoods. But he wasn’t always an activist. For much of his career, John was in charge of developing wellness programs and fitness …
 
It’s a special week for us at Strong Towns. It’s our Member Week, where we honor and celebrate the incredible people who are members of this movement all across the country. You’ve heard several of their stories on this podcast in the past, and there will be many more to come. If this movement for bottom-up change and financial resilience has got y…
 
In today’s episode of The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, we’re talking with Sophia Hosain, who’s helping to lead a community composting initiative headed up by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a long-time friend and partner of the Strong Towns movement. Right about now, some of you are probably very excited to hear more, while others are think…
 
If you heard that a new coffee shop was opening in a lower-income neighborhood, what would be your reaction? In most bigger cities and plenty of smaller ones, the coffee shop is a universal symbol for gentrification. It means that this neighborhood has been designated as the new trendy hotspot and rents are about to go up. At Strong Towns, we’ve be…
 
A few months ago, we came across an article about a fascinating and unique program where lower-income kids in Birmingham, Alabama, were learning home renovation and building skills as part of their high school education. This wasn’t just about learning construction skills, though, it was also about lifting up and revitalizing the neighborhood where…
 
You might be familiar with food co-ops or housing co-ops. But how about a laundry co-op? A group of community members in the Woodhill neighborhood of Cleveland are starting just that. Marilyn Burns and Leah Ross are part of a group of residents who, through surveys and outreach, learned that a majority of their neighbors do not have access to a nea…
 
Strong Towns members Charles and Whitney Coats are a husband and wife duo doing important work to increase housing opportunities in their home state of Texas. After spending two years in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia (where they saw firsthand what it was like to live in a walkable, traditionally-designed neighborhood) to working for Ha…
 
This week’s Bottom-Up Revolution podcast features Mayor Chris Frye, who’s been leading the city of New Castle, Pennsylvania, since January 2020. Before running for mayor, his background wasn’t in politics but in social work and community service. He’s a husband and father of three—and he’s utterly dedicated to helping his city grow stronger. He’s a…
 
This week’s Bottom-Up Revolution podcast guest is De’Amon Harges. Based in Indianapolis, Harges’ work focuses on deep listening and asset-based community development. He’s the executive director of a nonprofit called The Learning Tree, a board member of the Grassroots Grantmakers Association, recent recipient of Wesleyan Investive’s Tom Locke Innov…
 
This week’s Bottom-Up Revolution podcast guest is Lisa Leslie, who helped lead an effort to create a cohousing community with 11 families in Silverton, Oregon. Lisa and her husband went from living with two other families (including Strong Towns Content Manager, John Pattison’s family) in a cooperative house, to dreaming of building a full-fledged …
 
In this episode, we talk with Jason Hyman, an urban planner, real estate professional and business owner based in Houston, Texas. His firm, Jason T. Hyman, aims to “bridge the generational wealth gap found in minority communities through creative applications of urban planning, community engagement, and responsible development.” Jason and his colle…
 
Welcome to a special Strongest Town contest episode, featuring a competitor in the Final Four round of our competition: Oxford, MS. Guests include Robyn Tannehill (mayor), Jon Maynard (President and CEO for the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, and President and CEO of the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce) and Ben …
 
Welcome to a special Strongest Town contest episode, featuring a competitor in the Final Four round of our competition: Bismarck, ND. Guests include: Daniel Nairn (Senior Planner for the City of Bismarck) and Dawn Kopp (CEO of Bismarck's Downtowners Association). You can learn more about the contest and vote in this match-up by visiting strongtowns…
 
Welcome to a special Strongest Town contest episode, featuring a competitor in the Final Four round of our competition: Bentonville, AR. Guests include: Tyler Overstreet (Planning Services Manager for the City of Bentonville) and Shelli Kerr (Comprehensive Planning Manager for the City of Bentonville). You can learn more about the contest and vote …
 
Michael Smith is a long-time Strong Towns member who joins this episode of The Bottom-Up Revolution podcast along with his colleague, architect Aaron Holverson. Together they work at Studio GWA, a planning and architecture firm based in Rockford. In this conversation, we discuss a historic revitalization project in a core neighborhood of Rockford, …
 
Welcome to another episode of the Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, featuring two inspiring women who serve at the West Virginia Community Development Hub. Amanda Workman Scott is the Director of Community Engagement and Jenny Totten is Community Development Coordinator. Both grew up in West Virginia, left, and then felt a pull to come back home and se…
 
In this episode of the Bottom-Up Revolution podcast, we’ve got another fantastic, inspiring duo: Strong Towns members Alex Rodriguez and Danny Lapin. Together, they’re part of a historic preservation, revitalization, community building, business incubating project in the town of Lexington, NY, called Lexington Arts and Science. It all starts with A…
 
In this episode, we’re joined by two Strong Towns advocates, architect Dennis Strait and planner Abby Kinney. Both work at the firm Gould Evans, based in Kansas City, MO. You may know Abby because she hosts one of our other podcasts: Upzoned, where she and Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn, discuss a topic from the week’s news with a Strong Towns…
 
Today’s guest is Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick— a Strong Towns reader and advocate based in Rochester, MN who owns her own local business, has been very active in food access issues and was recently elected to the Rochester City Council. She had actually been sworn in just a couple days before we recorded (which is why this conversation was pretty short—sh…
 
Today’s episode features Alfred Melbourne, who runs a farm called Three Sisters Gardens in Broderick, California. Melbourne hasn’t always been a farmer. In fact, he spent several years of his adult life in prison. But when he got out in 2016, he connected with an elder who pointed him towards a vacant piece of land in his city. With hard work and d…
 
This episode of The Bottom-Up Revolution Podcast features Dan Sally, a guy with his own podcast called You Don’t Have to Yell. Sally isn’t someone who fits neatly into a Democrat or Republican box and he’s found himself really frustrated with those boxes in the first place. His show brings on guests to talk about electoral reform—how we break out o…
 
A couple months ago, we came across an article—probably the result of a Google alert—in which a woman running for city council in Menlo Park, CA mentioned Strong Towns in a discussion about the need for incremental housing development. We followed her story and were excited to learn that she won her election. Now we’re pleased to feature her on our…
 
Jacob Titus is a photographer, filmmaker, and designer and creator, living in South Bend, Indiana. In this conversation, we talk about the publication he started, West.SB, and how he uses photography and writing to tell the stories of his city—its people, its places. We talk about what happens when you open your eyes to the stories around you. We t…
 
Today’s guest was on an episode of It’s the Little Things, this show’s former iteration, but we brought her back because she’s working on some cool new initiatives. Her name is Latoya Wilson and she’s based in New Jersey. A Strong Towns member, her efforts are focused on workforce development, particularly in helping young people find vocations in …
 
Welcome to the first episode of the Bottom-Up Revolution Podcast in 2021—our Strong Towns Year of Action! All year long, we’re going to be sharing resources, ideas and opportunities for you to take action to make your community stronger and more resilient. We’re kicking off the 2021 season of the podcast with an interview with a long-time Strong To…
 
Sheleita Miller is an accountant and citizen activist based in Gary, Indiana. It’s a community that’s been through some serious economic challenges, but it’s also Sheleita’s hometown, and she’s dedicated to making it stronger. In this conversation, she talks about what drew her to the Strong Towns movement, particularly with her background in econo…
 
In this episode, we talk with Sara Joy Proppe, an accomplished and interdisciplinary woman with a passion for cities, stories, and the Church. She’s an experienced real estate developer, educator, writer, podcaster, urban planner and the founder of a unique organization called Proximity Project, which empowers churches to connect their mission and …
 
In this episode of the Bottom-Up Revolution Podcast, we talk with Sam Nabi, a business owner, urban advocate, and more who lives in Kitchener, Ontario. Sam talks about a process he worked on to transform a downtown street into a pedestrian-friendly public space. This conversation walks you step-by-step through the journey Sam and his neighbors unde…
 
It’s Member Week here at Strong Towns, and something our president, Chuck Marohn, shared on Monday is that Strong Towns members are some of the most civically engaged people we know. In a recent survey, over 50% said they’re volunteering in their communities. Nearly half said they had met with an elected official. 16% have actually run for office t…
 
Chris Harris-Wimsatt went through a lot of hardship in his childhood. He went on to become an Air Force officer, an ROTC educator and worked for several major companies. He’s also a foster and adoptive parent to 20 children. Through it all, he’s been dedicated to serving others, particularly in response to the ways that he himself has been served. …
 
Chelsea Lawson is a Strong Towns member who’s putting her data-oriented mind to work to make her city and other cities stronger. Lawson has worked in both local government and private consulting, helping cities like Los Angeles and Miami use data to understand how things are working and how to make them work better. What we especially appreciate ab…
 
In this week’s episode, we hear from two dedicated Strong Towns advocates who are working with their neighbors to fight a highway project in their city of Erie, Pennsylvania. Adam Trott is a Strong Towns member, an architect and a long-time Erie resident who’s passionate about seeing his city be financially prosperous for all residents. Roland Slad…
 
In this week’s episode, we hear from Alexander Hagler, an entrepreneur and urban gardener based in Milwaukee, WI. Recognizing that his community in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods of Milwaukee was not well served by things like fresh food access and other resources for healthy living, he founded a store called Center Street Wellness, which…
 
Welcome! Here's a little sample of what's in store for our new podcast, The Bottom-Up Revolution. We've taken the focus of our old podcast, It's the Little Things, and adjusted it based on your feedback. This podcast will feature the stories of the Strong Towns movement in action. Tune in next week for the first full episode and, in the meantime, p…
 
We'd be deeply grateful for your feedback on this podcast—what sort of episodes you like best, how you access the show, etc. Fill out our survey at strongtowns.org/survey and you can be entered in a drawing to win a free signed copy of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity. Thanks!…
 
Fernando Peralta Berrios—president at the Las Familias de Rosemont neighborhood association in Fort Worth, Texas—discusses how he and his neighbors have partnered with the City of Fort Worth to guide public investment in its historically disinvested neighborhood.저자 Strong Towns
 
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