52 episodes

Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a weekly 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.

It's the Little Things Strong Towns

    • Non-Profit

Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a weekly 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.

    Using Local Entrepreneurs to Revive Your Main Street

    Using Local Entrepreneurs to Revive Your Main Street

    Jake Hamann—Founder and Executive Director at the Peoria Innovation Alliance—shares how his organization uses education, storytelling, and pop-ups to inspire local entrepreneurs to take action—in main street and beyond.

    • 40 min
    Planting Street Trees to Slow the Cars

    Planting Street Trees to Slow the Cars

    As drivers continued to pop the curb on her block, Strong Towns Genevieve Barber knew she and her neighbors needed to intervene. Their plan: plant fifteen street trees—Trident Maples, to be exact—to discourage speeding while boosting the safety of people walking, biking, and driving. In this episode, Genevieve shares the story behind the street trees and how you can lead a similar project in your own neighborhood, including why you should trust your observations regarding the state of your neighborhood, how to pitch the vision of street trees to your neighbors, and how small bets make communities stronger.

    • 32 min
    Supporting Rural Entrepreneurs

    Supporting Rural Entrepreneurs

    Consider how your community builds wealth. Well, as a Strong Town advocate, you may think of your local entrepreneurs, creating homegrown products and services to serve the community; or you may think of your downtown, where residents gather and use these products and services.  
    Brandon Schielak—Strong Towns member and this episode’s guest on It’s the Little Things—has witnessed the value of entrepreneurship in his rural community of La Grange, Texas. They’ve built thriving businesses in downtown and contribute to La Grange’s economic ecosystem. 
    But as Brandon further investigated how to support rural entrepreneurs, he discovered an opportunity that he’d later transform into a product for rural communities across North America: institutions, such as schools or nonprofit organization, still sold product produced outside the community for their local fundraisers. 
    Think the magazine subscriptions or the tins of flavored popcorn that you’d pitch to your neighbors in exchange for a low payment of $50 for your elementary school. 
    That’s why Brandon and his wife created The PlatForum: an online marketplace where organizations can view a catalog of local products and services, which they can use for their local fundraisers. 
    Today, The PlatForum has partnered with dozens of communities across North America—with a focus on rural communities—who’ve made a small bet to reimagine how they can support local entrepreneurs, keeping their dollars in the community in the process. 
    In this episode, Brandon reflects on his experiences at The PlatForum and shares how you can support rural entrepreneurs in your community, including how rural communities traditionally think of economic development, how to find and cultivate rural entrepreneurs, and—most important—how to plug them into your local, economic ecosystem.

    • 27 min
    Fall Member Drive 2019: Strong Towns Member Andy Diaz Discusses Building Strong Neighborhoods

    Fall Member Drive 2019: Strong Towns Member Andy Diaz Discusses Building Strong Neighborhoods

    This week at Strong Towns is of our fall member drive—where the Strong Towns staff has all hands on deck to encourage readers and listeners just like you to become members of the Strong Towns movement. Therefore, we’re changing the game up a bit on It’s the Little Things and sharing a story of how a Strong Towns member—Andy Diaz out of Peoria, Illinois—has used the Strong Towns message to make his community stronger. 
    If you’ve followed It’s the Little Things for a bit, you may remember our past episode with Andy Diaz, where he shared the story of his organization Urban Acres and how he made small yet effective bets to provide healthy food in his community. 
    Well, in usual Strong Towns fashion, since that conversation, Andy has made several more small bets in his community that have inspired his neighbors to reimagine what economic development means for a community striving to become a strong town. 
    Today, Andy—along with the help of his father and wife—run market slash entrepreneur incubator that gives residents in the neighborhood an opportunity to sell their product and, over time, contribute to the financial resiliency of the community. (Oh, yeah, and all without any tax subsidies from the city.) 
    I have a lot of love for Andy and the way he’s demonstrated the Strong Towns movement in Peoria, Illinois time and time—and am so excited to share this episode with you. And if you like what you hear, please—from the bottom of my heart—consider becoming a member of the Strong Towns movement. 5 dollars, 10 dollars, however much you’re compelled to give however often helps us grow this movement that we all love and support. And, with your heart, we’re certain we can truly lead a bottom-up revolution to build strong cities, towns, and neighborhoods across North America.
    Join the movement today at strongtowns.org/membership.

    • 52 min
    Serving the Youth in High-Risk Neighborhoods

    Serving the Youth in High-Risk Neighborhoods

    Benjy Wax and Ric Miranda—staff members at BUILD Chicago, one of Chicago’s leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations—share how you can serve the youth in high-risk neighborhoods in your community, including why mutual respect must precede interventions, why city leaders must understand their constituents daily life on the neighborhood-level, and what steps you can take today to serve the youth in your community. 

    • 29 min
    Finding Home Wherever You Are with Melody Warnick

    Finding Home Wherever You Are with Melody Warnick

    Melody Warnick—author of This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are—joins Community Builder Jacob Moses for an episode of Celebrity Ask Strong Towns to discuss how everyone, whether they're rooted in place or dream of greener pastures, can learn to love where they live.

    • 51 min

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