Sarah Kobos, writing at Strong Towns, quotes one mayor’s perspective:

There is no excuse for anything to ever be built that does not add to the beauty of a city. Every investment in beauty yields an economic payoff. If you build beautiful places — whether they are parks, parking garages, or public housing — the land next to these places becomes more successful. They become catalytic agents to generate economic activity.

Since discovering Strong Towns I’ve been following them. Their mission matters, and is very much simpatico with what we believe at The Nittany Valley Society and about the idea of where nostalgia lives. Here’s what they’re about:

The mission of Strong Towns is to support a model of development that allows America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient.

We are a media advocacy organization that is growing a national movement for change. We seek to make the Strong Towns approach the default for every city, every state and nationally.

We believe that the change we seek will occur when a million Americans care enough to share our message with others. Our efforts are to create those million people.

A Strong Towns approach:

  • Relies on small, incremental investments (little bets) instead of large, transformative projects,
  • Emphasizes resiliency of result over efficiency of execution,
  • Is designed to adapt to feedback,
  • Is inspired by bottom/up action (chaotic but smart) and not top/down systems (orderly but dumb),
  • Seeks to conduct as much of life as possible at a personal scale, and
  • Is obsessive about accounting for its revenues, expenses, assets and long term liabilities (do the math).