STRONG TOWNS SHREVEPORT EVENT
October 7-8, 2016
The first event hosted by ReForm Shreveport featured Strong Towns, an organization specializes in teaching cities how to pursue development practices and land use choices that are financially sustainable. This message applies very well to Shreveport given our infrastructure debts, among other development challenges.
This event came together with the help of several entities that helped to fund, provide resources, and publicize the event. Community Foundation, Caddo Parish Commission, Shreveport Downtown Development Authority, SporTran, Heliopolis, Fusiform Design, and private citizens provided either funding or in-kind services for the event.
Held downtown in the West Edge Arts District/Shreveport Common, the Strong Towns visit included two main events which were open to the public. First was a keynote presentation called a Curbside Chat. During the chat (embedded below) Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn shared his experiences as a municipal planner and highlighted the common mistakes communities make on investment in land use and development which can create debt in infrastructure and unproductive space which contribute to sprawl. The following day, Chuck hosted a Walking Tour which featured key spots in downtown and the immediately surrounding neighborhoods which were prime for redevelopment to strengthen our foundations as a community. This tour showed how the concepts presented in the keynote could be applied directly to Shreveport. Finally, several one-on-one meetings were hosted with different community leaders in order to give some guidance on how to further lead the city in the right direction.
What Was Accomplished
To continue the conversation that was started at the Strong Towns event, the ReForm team has identified several steps we want to take. First, we want to empower local citizens to undertake small projects throughout Shreveport that improve our neighborhoods. Such an example is seen through the subsequent ReForm Highland Park Cleanup in which local citizens used an innovative solution to invest in a park that currently gets little attention from the city. Second, we would like to analyze different development decisions in the City of Shreveport according to how they impact the city financially. Thirdly, we would like to find examples of action that citizens are taking to improve Shreveport, and give them a voice in order to further their work
Watch the full "curbside chat" as presented by Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Watch this clip from the walking tour of downtown Shreveport where Chuck makes notes about what makes a strong, walkable and connected community.