Is your community ready to represent Michigan in the Strongest Town competition?  Nominations are open now through February 20 in this international competition hosted by our friends at Strong TownsLogo for the Strongest Town competition, from Strong Towns websiteThe competition highlights “towns and cities who are doing the hard work of becoming stronger, putting in place the processes, systems, and commitments that build enduring resilience and longterm prosperity.”

You can tell from that description that Strong Towns was one of the inspirations the League has drawn from in our work on community wealth building. Their focus on engaging community members broadly in a culture of continuous incremental improvement – whether on infrastructure, housing development, placemaking, or municipal finance (as if those are different things) – touches on several of our community wealth building pillars, and on the fabric of trust and belonging that holds them together.

In true Strong Towns form, the competition is incremental.  The initial nomination requires that you pull together a small team to answer a questionnaire about your town’s efforts.  The Strong Towns staff selects a group of 16 entries to highlight in head-to-head match-ups over the course of a month – because, like all good competitions happening in March, the Strongest Town is a bracket – with Strong Towns members voting on each match-up during a photo competition, podcast interviews, and a head-to-head webinar.

A street full of people in front of lightweight retail sheds.

Muskegon’s Western Market is one example of the Strong Towns approach of starting small and building momentum instead of trying to jump straight to the end.

Michigan has the distinction of holding two of the past six Strongest Town titles, with Muskegon winning in 2018 and Traverse City winning in 2017. And in the 2016 competition, Holland placed in the Final Four.  Let’s continue to show off our great places!

Take a look at the competition page and Q/A webinar recording, pull together your team to nominate your place – and let us know if you enter so that we can cheer you on!