Strong Towns Langley is a community group that advocates for a more resilient, fiscally sound, and people-oriented Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
who are we?
Strong Towns Langley is made up of ordinary citizens who volunteer their time, energy and ideas to promote the insights of Strong Towns with local advocacy projects in Langley, BC.
what is strong towns?
Strong Towns is a non-profit organization which began in Brainerd, Minnesota in the United States, founded by Charles Marohn. Strong Towns pushes back against the weaknesses, flaws and costs of suburban development.
A Strong Town is a place that is characterized by more traditional urban-style development practices - Strong Towns are people-oriented, with a focus on walkable neighbourhood design and buildings with a mixture of uses and a friendly-face to the street. Additionally Strong Towns have sound financial management, ensuring that property taxes received from new and existing developments can pay for upkeep and maintenance in the long term.
Strong Towns ensure that land is used most effectively and efficiently for homes and wealth-creating businesses, and not oversized parking lots, and also encourage more local businesses within neighbourhoods. By prioritizing these things, Strong Towns are financially self-sustaining and more livable communities.
langley city or langley township?
Politically, Langley is divided into two areas, the City of Langley, a 10.18 km2 area in the centre, and the Township of Langley, which is the area surrounding the City, with Surrey to the west, and Abbotsford to the east. The City's smaller size means it is not able to depend on sprawl to sustain itself financially, and is increasingly densifying over time. In contrast, the Township continues to build new neighbourhoods to subsidize existing areas, and often fails to allow density and meaningfully invest in older neighbourhoods. As such, the City is in a better position and moving in the right direction, and while we will continue to support the City in it's efforts, including attending public hearings and giving feedback, our primary focus is encouraging Strong Towns practises in the Township of Langley.
We also wish to acknowledge that Langley is situated on the traditional lands of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui, and Semiahmoo First Nations peoples.
whats happening right now?Fall Sessions (Sep 23 - Nov 3 2023)
If you live in Walnut Grove, you may have seen one of these posters! We are collecting data from 8 intersections along and near 88 Avenue that feature slip lanes and pedestrian islands.
Want to participate? We are only collecting data from local residents, so just scan the code with your phone's camera app whenever you see a poster to get the link to the survey for that intersection.
Not able to scan the code? Follow this guide for iPhone and Android phones. You can also type out the URL located under the QR code on the poster that includes the unique code for that intersection.
Intersections included in the Survey:
88 AVE & 200 ST
88 AVE & 208 ST
88 AVE & WALNUT GROVE DR
88 AVE & 212 ST
88 AVE & 216 ST
WALNUT GROVE DR & 212 ST
87 AVE & 208 ST
88 AVE & GLOVER RD
what do we do?
We hold meetings to exchange ideas, strategize ways to promote financially resilient and sustainable development practices, advocate for supportive policies, and educate the community.
Interviews and Videos
We produce videos and interview key members in our local community to discuss Strong Towns and urbanism topics such as co-housing and safer streets, all available on our YouTube Channel.
Advocate for policies that promote financially resilient and sustainable development practices.
Engage with Local Government
Work with local government and policymakers to influence planning and development decisions.
what are the issues?While at Strong Towns Langley we try to take a balanced approach and evaluate current projects and plans through the lens of Strong Towns, as well as considering our members input, we frequently raise concerns about the following issues:
The Growth Ponzi Scheme: New developments are paying for improvements and maintenance in old and existing neighbourhoods through fees charged to developers and the initial surge of new property tax revenue. Instead of applying pressure to strengthen, densify and allow more homes and business in existing neighbourhoods, we are dependant on new development in new neighbourhoods. (What is the Growth Ponzi Scheme?)
Property Tax Inequality: Built-up denser neighbourhoods are subdizing the services and maintenance in more sprawling areas. This is unfair to residents in these areas who may not receive all the amenities or services they need, and unduly relieves the pressure on the subsidized areas to become financially self-sustaining with more urban infill, growth and development.
Car-Dependency: Many residents can only get where they need to go by car, even for short distances, which contributes to traffic congestion, a lack of walkability, and oversized parking lots. Langley should strive to become more people-oriented, not car-oriented. This means more transit, safer sidewalks, well maintained accessible greenways and protected cyclepaths so residents have other options to get around.
Single-Use Zoning: Most of our zoning bylaws and community plans seperate residential neighbourhoods and commercial buildings asides from a few exceptions. Langley should strive to allow more small businesses and local employment in residential neighbourhoods and more housing in commercial areas. This reduces car dependency and supports a stronger local economy and community.
Exclusionary Neighbourhoods: Most new homes have been built in new neighbourhoods, with existing neighbourhoods having very limited new housing and business development. This locks future residents out of older neighbourhoods, stifles growth and limits the ability to attract new businesses. It also puts more pressure on rural areas to be developed, potentially leading to the loss of farmland and natural habitat. Langley should strive to open up existing neighbourhoods to new housing and businesses with policies that encourage urban infill.
Environment and Agriculture: Development pressure continues to encroach on natural habitats and rural areas. Langley should strive to contain sprawl and encourage more efficient land use in existing areas instead. The protection of wildlife and habitats also contributes to a healthier, more diverse environment, which is essential for the well-being of residents and the long-term sustainability of the community. In addition, supporting sustainable agriculture and farming helps to maintain the unique character and identity of the Langley, while promoting local food systems and contributing to the local economy.
Join us in our mission to make Langley a Strong Town. Whether you're a long-time resident, a newcomer, or just someone who cares about the future, we invite you to get involved and help us create a resilient community that we can all be proud of.