It's the Little Things

By Strong Towns

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Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a Strong Towns podcast that gives you the wisdom and encouragement you need to take the small yet powerful actions that can make your city or town stronger.

Episode Date
Fostering Micro-Neighborliness

Steve MacDouell—Professor at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and frequent contributor at Strong Towns—shares how micro-neighborliness has transformed his neighborhood and how you can foster micro-neighborliness in your own neighborhood, as well, including how small, low-lift acts inspire neighborliness, how micro-neighborliness inspires neighbors to invest in their neighborhoods, and which low-lift acts you can make today to foster micro-neighborliness in your own neighborhood. 

Oct 09, 2019
Building Productive Places (and Showering them with Love)

This is a special mash-up edition of the It’s the Little Things podcast and Strong Towns podcast! 

In this episode, Jacob Moses, host of It’s the Little Things, and Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn discuss a couple of Jacob’s favorite chapters from Chuck’s brand new book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity, which just released yesterday. 

Jacob and Chuck reflect on the moments throughout Chuck’s life that inspired the Strong Towns movement, including the fist bump that began Chuck’s long friendship and collaboration with Joe Minicozzi of Urban3. Jacob and Chuck also discuss what we can learn from our forebears about productivity (as opposed to merely “growth”) and why communities need to make maintenance an obsession.

They go on to talk about the importance of observation, a practice given too little attention among professional engineers and planners, but which seems to be a common characteristic of people who really love their places. As Chuck puts it: “The merging of places that are healthy and strong financially, and places that are healthy and strong from a human standpoint, is the exact nexus that the Strong Towns approach is designed to get us to.”

Oct 02, 2019
Combating Food Deserts (and more) Through Corner Stores

Visit the Hyde Park neighborhood in South Los Angeles and you’ll find the usual culprits of a food desert, such as fast-food chains and gas stations. But enter Kelli Jackson’s corner store—Hank’s Mini Market—and you’ll discover how cities can address food deserts without forgoing future tax revenue.

Sep 25, 2019
Inspiring Grassroot Community Revitalization

Salvador “Sal” Galdamez—founder and President of York nonprofit York XL—shares how you can lead a revolution in your own community, including, how to share your vision with the neighborhoods in which you work, how to build trust with neighbors, and how to ensure your investment includes everyone in the neighborhood.

Sep 18, 2019
Creating People-Oriented Places

Cary Westerbeck—Strong Towns member and founder of Bothellites for People-Oriented Places (Bo-POP)—shares how you can create people-oriented places in your own community, including, how to educate people about people-oriented places, how these places create more financially resilient places, and how you can demonstrate your vision. 

Sep 11, 2019
Using Tactical Urbanism to Create Safer Streets

Strong Towns member Austin Taylor—Parking and Sustainability Coordinator for Provo City, Utah—shares how you can use tactical urbanism to create safer streets, including how to plan your intervention, how to get local government involved, and how to use your intervention to create lasting change.

Aug 28, 2019
Fostering Creative (and Financially Resilient) Communities

Greg Wright—Executive Director at CREATE Portage County—shares the story behind CREATE Portage County and how you can foster creative (and financially resilient) communities where you live, including how to inspire creative residents, how to demonstrate the economic impact of creativity, and why you should root all initiatives in a “small and smart” way.

Aug 21, 2019
Serving on a Citizen Advisory Committee

Ben Harrison—Strong Towns member and citizen of Lloydminster in Alberta, Canada—shares his experience serving on Lloydminster's citizen advisory committee for the City's Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan and why you should run for something in your community, including how to pitch your vision to city staff, how to introduce Strong Towns principles, and, how serving on a citizen advisory committee can help you feel closer to your community. 


Aug 14, 2019
Partnering with Local Government to Create and Foster Ideas

Regina Portillo—Executive Director at City Makery in Laredo, Texas—shares how you can partner with local government to create and foster ideas for your community, including how to encourage people to share their ideas, how to encourage people to act on those ideas, and how to get local government involved in the process.

Aug 07, 2019
Using Nonprofits to Build Strong Neighborhoods

Thor Erickson—longtime leader in the neighborhood and civic nonprofit sector—shares how you can use nonprofits to build strong neighborhoods in your own community, including how to find your unique perspective to neighborhood investment, how to partner with your local government, and how to get your community behind your mission.

Jul 31, 2019
Building Neighborhood-Boosting Community Groups

Jordan Deffenbaugh and Jim Hodapp—primary organizers of Strong Towns' most impactful Local Conversations—share how you can use your observations and passions to build neighborhood-boosting community groups, including how to inspire advocates in your community, how to effectively gather people around your mission, and how to generate neighborhood investments that include everyone in the process.

Jul 24, 2019
Using Local Food to Build Community

Andy Diaz—founder at Urban Acres in Peoria, Illinois—shares how you can use local food to build community in your neighborhood, including how to find the right investment for your neighborhood, how to embrace incremental development as you grow your investment, and why cities like Peoria and beyond need more $1,000 heroes to create strong towns. 

Jul 17, 2019
Building Community Through Public Art

Greta McLain—Artistic Director at GoodSpace Murals, a Minneapolis-based organization that promotes community development through public art—shares how you can use public art to build community in your own city or town, including how to create a tribe of public art advocates in your community, how to humble yourself as you share your partner with different neighborhoods, and how to turn stakeholders leery of public art into advocates.

Jul 10, 2019
Investing in Your Neighborhood

Rafa Wright—Detroit native, community leader, and soon-to-be owner of a new, Detroit-based neighborhood grocery—shares how you can make neighborhood-led investments in your community, including how to observe where people struggle, how to find the right investments for your neighborhood, and how to get your neighbors involved in the process.

Jul 03, 2019
Fostering Collaboration on a Local Level

Ed Morrison—author of Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership—shares how city leaders can grow their economies by fostering collaboration on a local level, including how to find existing assets in your community, how to encourage existing organizations to focus on a shared goal, and how to incrementally pursue that goal.

Jun 12, 2019
Reviving Forgotten Alleyways

Paul Fast—Principal Architect at HCMA, a Canadian architecture and design firm—discusses its More Awesome Now project and how listeners can revive neglected alleyways in their own neighborhoods, including how to assess the needs of the neighborhood, how to measure the success of the revitalization, and how to consider all members of the community in its design.

Jun 05, 2019
Taking the Strong Towns Movement to School

In this special member drive episode of It's the Little Things, Community Builder Jacob Moses converses with Kevin Leier—social studies teacher at Rugby High School—plus three of his students about how the Strong Towns movement inspired them to create a community building class. You'll learn how the classmates used Strong Towns principles to educate their peers and make Rugby a strong town, how Kevin introduced incrementalism to the students, how the students used Strong Towns concepts to strengthen their town.

May 23, 2019
Creating Healthy Communities

Dan Burden—Director of Innovation and Inspiration at Blue Zones—shares how yow you can start building a healthier place in your community, including how to decide what to do first, how to partner with local leaders to create a shared vision, and how Blue Zones can help throughout the process.

May 15, 2019
Adding Elements of Play to Your Neighborhood

Morgan Leichter-Saxby—co-founder at Pop-Up Adventure Play—shares how you can create low cost, low risk places to play in your neighborhood, including how to pitch the idea to your neighbors, how to commit to an incremental approach, and how Pop-Up Adventure Play can help throughout the process.


May 08, 2019
Depaving Your Neighborhood

Alix Taylor—Manager of Water Programs at Green Communities Canada— shares how to depave neglected concrete in your own neighborhood, including how to get your neighbors involved in the process, how to pitch the idea to city leaders, and how to find sites in your neighborhood optimal for depaving.

May 01, 2019
Proposing No Parking Minimums to Council

John Reuter—board member at Strong Towns and former councilperson at the City of Sandpoint, Idaho—shares how you can propose no parking minimums to your council, including how to tell a compelling story, how to find data that enhances your story, and how to build community support for removing parking minimums.

Apr 24, 2019
Starting a Neighborhood Grocery Co-Op

Jacqueline Hannah—assistant director at the Food Co-Op Initiative—shares how you can start a neighborhood grocery co-op in your town, including how to pitch the vision to community members and elected officials, how to translate your enthusiasm into action, and how the Food Co-Op initiative can help through every step of the process.

Apr 10, 2019
Reinventing the Rural Economy

Jeff Eidson—founder of Explore Elkin—shares how listeners can encourage residents to "buy in" to make your town stronger, including how to find and pitch a shared vision to residents, how to motivate residents stuck in a psychology of decline towards their town, and how to use the funds generated towards small bets.

Apr 03, 2019
Fostering a Local Music Scene

Joanna Jurgens—Head of Business Affairs at Sofar Sounds—shares how you can foster a local music scene in your community, including how to awaken that DIY spirit that’s so essential to kickstarting a local music scene, how to identify low risk strategies for creating a venue, and how to get local elected officials involved in the process.

Mar 27, 2019
Adopting Strong Towns Principles for Your Neighborhood Planning Firm

Rik Adamski, Principal at Ash+Lime, a neighborhood planning firm, shares how you can adopt Strong Towns principles for your neighborhood planning firm, including how to identify low risk, high return projects for a city, how to encourage city leaders to embrace the next increment of development, and most important, how adopting Strong Town principles for your neighborhood planning firm makes our cities and towns stronger.  


Mar 20, 2019
Fostering Entrepreneurship in Your Community

Skyler Yost — Ecosystem Builder for the city of York, PA — shares how you can foster entrepreneurship in your community, including how to assess the existing resources in your community, how to create an ecosystem in which entrepreneurs are supporting one another, and most important, how fostering an entrepreneurship in your community makes our cities and towns stronger. 

Mar 06, 2019
Finding Your Community's True Essence

Ryan Short — CEO of CivicBrand — shares how you can find your community’s true essence, including how to engage with your community to ensure the creation of your brand is a grassroots effort, how to ensure your brand actually aligns with what your community offers, and how finding your community’s true essence makes your city or town stronger.

Feb 27, 2019
Making Your Local Business a Third Place

Kea Wilson — Communications Manager at Strong Towns — discusses what her time as a bookseller at Left Bank Books in the St. Louis taught her about making local businesses a third place, including what building a third place actually looks like, how third places are more economically resilient, and how you can make your local business a third place.


Feb 20, 2019
Connecting with Your Community on Foot

Dustin Ratcliff – founding member of Walk2Connect – shares how you can connect with your community on foot, including how to motivate your neighbors to form a walking group, how to use your walking group to influence how your city or town is develop, and how connecting with your community on foot makes our cities and towns stronger.

Feb 13, 2019
Breaking Down Silos in Rural Communities

Jordan Katcher – Community Development Specialist at the State of Utah with a focus on rural communities – shares how government employees can break down silos in rural communities, including how to choose who to get involved in the process, how to understand the needs of rural communities, and how breaking down silos can make our towns stronger. 

Feb 06, 2019
Using (and Understanding) Open Data

In this episode, Jacob chats with three local leaders in open data—Kyle Taylor, Jesse Hamner, and Habib—share how open data works, including how you can use open data to act on your ideas, how you can encourage your elected officials to adopt open data policies, and how open data can make your city or town stronger.

Jan 30, 2019
Investing in the Youth

Latoya Wilson — founder of the Rebuild Workforce Consultancy — shares how you can invest in the youth in your community, including how to understand the learning landscape for youth, how to create programs that are beneficial for students, and how to make your investments last throughout a student’s time in primary school and beyond.

Jan 23, 2019
Deciding What to Do First

Jenna Jarvis – environmental engineer out of St. Louis, Strong Towns member, and winner of our Why I Joined Strong Towns fall member drive contest – discusses how to navigate your neighborhood-boosting ideas and decide what to do first, including how to start small, how to get your peers involved, and how to keep the momentum going as you plan new actions.


Jan 16, 2019
Starting a Successful Pop-up Shop

Caroline Dobbins Hurteau—staff member at the Albion Reinvestment Corporation—shares how you can start a successful pop-up shop, including how to pitch the idea to your downtown organizations, how to find merchants, and, most important, how to make it an incremental yet lasting success for your city or town. 

Jan 09, 2019
Spreading the Strong Towns Message Locally

Jordan Deffenbaugh — primary organizer of Local Conversation Strong Towns Sioux Falls — shares how you can spread the Strong Towns message locally, including how to spread the vision among your neighbors, how to give your neighbors a sense of ownership in the process, and, most important, how to get into the nitty-gritty of making your city or town stronger.

Jan 02, 2019
Getting Ideas for Making Your Neighborhood Stronger

Strong Towns's own Chuck Marohn shares how you can get ideas to make your neighborhood stronger, including how both the concerned citizen and the public official can act on ideas, how to share them with your tribe, and how to take the next incremental step in making your neighborhood stronger.

Dec 05, 2018
Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit

Caitlin Bigelow – founder of Maxable Space – discusses how you can build an accessory dwelling unit, including how to check the required zoning, encourage your peers that ADUs are strong way to strengthen your neighborhood, and how to discover the benefits—beyond passive rental income.

Nov 28, 2018
Boosting Historic Business Districts with Gamification

Darren Smith - co-founder, President, and CEO of Traipse, a gamification platform for historic business districts - shares how you can boost your historic business district with gamification, including how to use gamification to boost tourism, get more traffic for merchants, and make your historic business district the destination it deserves to be. 

Nov 07, 2018
Starting a Bike Advocacy Group

Aubrey Byron – Staff Writer at Strong Towns and President of the Monthly Cycle, a St.Louis-based bike advocacy group – shares how you can start your own bike advocacy group, including how to act on the idea, spread the message, and have an impact on bike policy in your town. 

Oct 31, 2018
Providing Healthy Food in Our Urban Neighborhoods

Breanna Hawkins – Policy Director at the Los Angeles Food Policy Council – discusses how you can provide healthy food in our urban neighborhoods, including how to recognize food deserts, encourage existing establishments to carry produce, and grow your own food. 

Oct 24, 2018
Crowdfunding Your Ideas

Bill Huston – co-founder of Our Crowd Rocks and top crowdfunding consultant according to Inc. Magazine – discusses how you can build a crowd to get funding for your big ideas, including how to find your crowd, share your message, and get people behind your big ideas. 

Oct 17, 2018
Documenting Your City

Alissa Walker – urbanism editor at Curbed – discusses how you can create change by documenting your city, including how to find your voice, choose your platform, and get people behind your ideas. 

Oct 10, 2018
Innovating in Local Government

Nick Kittle – author of the book Sustainovation: Building Sustainable Innovation in Government, One Wildy Creative Idea at a Time – shares how local governments can begin innovating to create meaninful change

Oct 03, 2018
Starting a Neighborhood Association

Get the wisdom and encouragement you need to start a successful neighborhood association – including how to motivate people to join and make real change in your neighborhood – from Denton Main Street Association President Glen Farris. 

Sep 26, 2018
Loving Where You Live

Melody Warnick – author of the book This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are – discusses why Americans move so much, how to take small yet powerful steps to feel attached to your community, and, most important, how to love where you live.

Sep 19, 2018
Running for City Council

Learn the essential information you need to run for city council – including how to run a successful campaign and get people behind your ideas – from former six-year Denton city councilperson Kevin Roden. 

Sep 12, 2018