What is Strong Towns?
Strong SacTown is a local chapter of Strong Towns, a national organization whose mission is to replace America’s post-war pattern of development, the Suburban Experiment, with a pattern of development that is financially strong and resilient. Strong Towns advocate for cities of all sizes to be safe, livable, and inviting. They work to elevate local government to be the highest level of collaboration for people working together in a place, not merely the lowest level in a hierarchy of governments.
Many people have heard of Strong Towns through the massively popular YouTube channel Not Just Bikes.
Strong Towns has over 150 local groups (including Sacramento)! Strong Towns also produces daily articles and podcasts, offers an online academy, curates an online Action Lab with downloadable resources and case studies, and gives presentations to cities all over.
Who is Strong SacTown?
Strong SacTown is a group of Sacramento residents that began meeting in February 2023. We have members from South Sac, Tahoe Park, Southside Park, Midtown, West Sac, East Sac, and even El Dorado County. Our members include youth, parents, retirees, renters, homeowners, architects, nonprofit workers, planners, and more. No matter your age, neighborhood, class, job – if you believe in our mission, we welcome you to join!
What does Strong SacTown do?
We have 3 local goals and priorities:
How we work to achieve these goals:
- Research and learning: Whether at our monthly meetings, group hangouts, or on Discord, we work together to figure out answers to questions like — Who do we contact to get a bike lane on a street? How much of Sacramento is covered in parking lots? How much money does the city spend on repaving roads? How do we advocate for more housing types in our neighborhood?
- Local conversations: We talk to our neighbors, attend lots of local events, and ask questions to listen to what our communities believe would make Sacramento stronger and a more diverse, safe, resilient, and accessible place for all Sacramentans.
- Local advocacy: We reach out to our local decision-makers and share our experiences and desires for Sacramento. In the end, decision-makers will only do what they hear most loudly, so we encourage each other to be loud!
- Bottom-up change: We do these 4 steps:
- 1. Humbly observe where people in our community are struggling.
- 2. Ask “what’s the next smallest thing we can do to address that struggle RIGHT NOW?”
- 3. Do that thing RIGHT NOW!
- 4. Repeat!
We work with each other to think creatively about how we can solve problems RIGHT NOW without waiting on sweeping change from above. This can look like building a bench at a bus stop that needs one, painting a traffic-calming mural, or doing a neighborhood native plant tour – and of course, doing all of these in community!
What are Strong Towns’ national campaign goals?
- End highway expansion: We seek to curtail the primary mechanism of local wealth destruction and municipal insolvency: the continued expansion of America’s highways and related auto-based transportation systems.
Learn more about ending highway expansion here →
- Transparent local accounting: We seek to reveal the financial implications of the Suburban Experiment by increasing the transparency of local government accounting practices.
Learn more about transparent local accounting here →
- Incremental housing: We seek to have the next increment of development intensity allowed, by right, in every neighborhood in America.
Learn more about incremental housing here →
- Safe and productive streets: We seek to shift the priority of local streets from automobile throughput to human safety and wealth creation.
Learn more about safe and productive streets here →
- End parking mandates and subsidies: We seek an end to the mandates and subsidies that cause productive land to be used for motor vehicle storage.
Learn more about ending parking mandates and subsidies here →
Why Strong SacTown?
- We want to make it easier to walk, bike, and take transit in Sacramento so that we can all breathe clean air, have cooler summers, and end traffic violence.
- We want to make sure valuable land can be used productively for the things we all need, rather than free storage for private vehicles.
- We want to reinvest in our neighborhoods that have long been destroyed, separated, polluted, bankrupted, or isolated because of car-centric development.
- We want housing policy that serves the universal human need for shelter, not investor returns.
- We want to allow more housing to be built that feels safe, pleasant, and fun, in the places where people play, shop, and work.
- We want people to be able to meet their basic needs without relying on cars and without being forced to create more congestion and pollution.
- We want Sacramento to stop rewarding and investing in sprawl, highways, and car-centric infrastructure that drain our budget and make our city unsafe, polluted, and less affordable.
- We want Sacramento to invest in what makes the city better for the people who live here now and in the future.