67 episodes

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.

The Bottom Up Revolution Strong Towns

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 36 Ratings

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.

    Sam Nabi: Working Together to Make a Street for People

    Sam Nabi: Working Together to Make a Street for People

    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 undertook to make this happen. He highlights the importance of building coalitions and meeting everyone on their terms, understanding their values and concerns in order to work together to strengthen their city. Sam also discusses the need to choose your battles carefully, to test things out before making permanent change, and to ask for feedback from neighbors at every step along the way.
    This should be a very educational conversation for anyone who’s looking to make streets more welcoming to people on foot and improve public spaces in their cities. We know that these sorts of steps create more economically productive communities—where local businesses thrive, where people develop civic pride, and where public resources are put to their best use. 
    Additional Show Notes

    Sam Nabi’s website, featuring his writing, music, croissant reviews and lots more interesting projects


    Gaukel.ca website, all about this pedestrian street


    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.


    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.


    Support this show and our many other resources for helping your town grow stronger by becoming a member today.

    • 40 min
    Krista Fancher: Teaching Young People to Think Resiliently

    Krista Fancher: Teaching Young People to Think Resiliently

    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 themselves! And nearly all of our members have shared Strong Towns articles and ideas with their neighbors.
    If you’re a member, thank you! We’re floored by all that you do and honored to get to play a small part in moving you to action. 
    If you’re not a member and you’re looking at that list thinking, “Well, I volunteer in my community, I share Strong Towns articles, I work with my neighbors to improve my city…” Then it’s time you make your commitment official and join this movement. Visit strongtowns.org/membership to join today.
    ----
    Today’s guest is Krista Fancher, a Strong Towns member who teaches at a unique high school program called the Innovation Diploma at the Mount Vernon School in Atlanta, Georgia. Their approach to learning is very hands-on and encourages entrepreneurship and innovation—exactly the sorts of skills young people need these days to grow into dedicated citizens who make their communities strong.
    Bottom-Up Revolution host and Program Director, Rachel Quednau, had the honor of working with some of her students this semester on a project where they explored housing issues and how to adapt existing buildings to create more housing opportunities.  Krista is devoted to helping young people learn, grow and thrive.  Whether you’ve got kids of your own or have the chance to work with young people as a coach, mentor, or just a doting aunt or uncle—we know you’ll learn from Krista’s perspective and see how important our young people are as we think about building strong towns for the future.
    At the end of the episode, we also take a moment to shout-out some of those 16% of Strong Towns members who recently ran for office and many who currently hold elected office.
    Additional Show Notes

    Mount Vernon School - Innovation Diploma program


    Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond


    Innovation Diploma Students’ Getting into Good Trouble Podcast


    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.


    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.


    Support this show and our many other resources for helping your town grow stronger by becoming a member today.

    • 23 min
    Chris Harris-Wimsatt: Creating a Community Gathering Space

    Chris Harris-Wimsatt: Creating a Community Gathering Space

    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. For example, as a young person, he was part of the Boys and Girls Club which was a guiding force in his life, and as an adult, he wanted to give back so he joined the board of the Boys and Girls Club where he lived and later became its CEO.  
    In this interview, Chris talks about the ways that community supported him during hard times, which is what led him to his current project, creating an indoor market and food hall in his neighborhood in Milwaukee, WI—a space where he hopes neighbors can connect, find community and spend time together.
    Chris typifies a strong community-builder who looks at the skills he has and asks how he can put them to work to strengthen his neighborhood from the bottom-up—empowering residents and business owners, transforming an underutilized space into a community gathering place, and all in a manner that is focused at the neighborhood-level.
    Additional Show Notes

    North Ave Market website


    “Community and inclusion behind vision for North Avenue Market” from On Milwaukee


    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.


    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.


    Support this show and our many other resources for helping your town grow stronger by becoming a member today.

    • 31 min
    Chelsea Lawson: Doing the Math

    Chelsea Lawson: Doing the Math

    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 about Chelsea is the way that she’s taken her passion for data analysis and found a ton of creative ways to make her town stronger using those skills. Whether she’s working on a professional project or just walking through her neighborhood, she’s doing the math on what’s going to create the best return on investment and steward local resource well.
    In this interview, you’ll learn about how even the trash in your garbage can plays an important role in shaping the future of your city, and how you can tie personal goals with community betterment. Chelsea shows us that doing the math is an essential part of building a strong town.
    Additional Show Notes

    Social Impact Calculator for public investment and policy decisions


    Optimal Self (life game) dashboard and instructions


    Clean Streets Santa Monica Community Organizing


    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.


    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.


    Support this show and our many other resources for helping your town grow stronger by becoming a member today.

    • 21 min
    These Erie, PA Residents are Fighting Back Against a Highway Project

    These Erie, PA Residents are Fighting Back Against a Highway Project

    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 Slade is a newer Erie resident with media chops and neighborhood know-how—who has no less dedication to seeing his city be a place where everyone can thrive, regardless of which neighborhood they live in.  
    Together, Adam and Roland are part of a community group called Connect Urban Erie, which is fighting a multimillion dollar road expansion project that would run a massive volume of cars along Erie’s waterfront—an area already dominated by a large highway.  Adam, Roland and their neighbors have been tirelessly advocating to instead transform this waterfront roadway into a space where people can safely walk and bike, and enjoy the beautiful asset of Lake Erie.
    We know you’ll learn a lot from this conversation about Adam and Roland’s work in Erie. Make sure to stay tuned to the end where they share a ton of fantastic pieces of advice for all of you out there who might be working through similar challenges in your city. 
    Additional Show Notes

    Connect Urban Erie website


    Connect Urban Erie instagram (lots of great videos here)


    “PennDOT Trying to Solve the Wrong Problem” by Michael Fuhrman (GoErie.com)


    “Skip the Highway; Build a Boulevard,” by Lisa Austin and Adam Trott (Erie Reader)


    “PennDOT’s bayfront plan fails to prioritize people,” by Maxwell J. Hentosh (GoErie.com)


    “Protesting Erie’s Bayfront Expansion,” by Natalee Stinebiser (The Gannon Knight)


    Send us your own voicemail about the small (or big) thing you’re doing to make your town stronger. Just record a voice memo on your phone and email it to rachel@strongtowns.org.


    Subscribe to The Bottom-Up Revolution on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Podbean, or via RSS.


    Support this show and our many other resources for helping your town grow stronger by becoming a member today.

    • 41 min
    Alexander Hagler: An Entrepreneur Creating Opportunities for Other Entrepreneurs

    Alexander Hagler: An Entrepreneur Creating Opportunities for Other Entrepreneurs

    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 sells products for mental and physical wellbeing, mostly from local makers. The shop gives him a chance to craft a business around something he cares deeply about, as well as a chance for local, small-scale entrepreneurs to sell their wares in a storefront—something most do not otherwise get to do.
    Make sure to stay tuned til the end of the episode, where we also feature a listener voicemail from a Strong Towns advocate sharing his short story of taking action. Send your own voicemail to rachel@strongtowns.org.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

bkl5432 ,

Actionable step in each episode

Aside from always knowing that the host is “doing good, doing good” and hearing about the weather near the guest, this podcast always has really interesting interviews with a nice range of guests from elected officials, authors, or just citizens making their town better rather than running for greener pastures.

CTR6541 ,

Run For Something

Listened to the first episode and already love this. We all think nationally - but we live locally. That could mean serving on a town commission (sidewalk review panel or whatever) or serve as a town commissioner. Great podcast. Lively atmosphere.

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