Be part of the growing Strong Towns movement in Langley, British Columbia, Canada 🍁 !
who are we?
We are a Strong Towns Local Conversation group made up of local residents who support growing the Strong Towns movement and want to see Langley become less car-dependent and more people-oriented, more resilient, and more fiscally responsible.
New to Strong Towns? Check out our introduction videos!
We want to keep growing the movement locally, so that means we want you to join our conversation!
join a meeting
Our monthly online meetings are held on the last Friday of every month and our open the public, you can join with any web browser or the jitsi meet app. Check out the meeting calendar for more options on how to connect.
We welcome everyone who has an interest in these issues to come to our meetings and events, even if you have limited time for advocacy, we still want to hear from you and hear your thoughts and concerns in the community.
join our online discussion groups
Outside of monthly meetings we chat about news, ideas and more on our discussion groups. We recommend joining our new Discord server, but we also have a legacy Slack channel. Messages are relayed between.
join our mailing list
Provide your name and email below to join our mailing list to receive news and be notified about upcoming meetings.
88 avenue corridor slip lanes survey
Strong Towns Langley conducted a community survey on intersections with slip lanes along and near 88 Avenue from October 24th, 2023, to December 1st, 2023, to gather insights on safety and the impact of slip lanes on intersections.
View January 27th 2024 Letter Sent to Mayor and Council
View Part 2 / Conclusion Video
View Part 1 Video
View Original Questions
200 street corridor feedback
Feedback and proposals for the Township of Langley’s 200 Street 2040 plan.
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?
Langley is divided into two municipalities each with their own municipal council, staff and services:
• 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 of Langley's small size limits it's ability to sprawl, and as such is already pushed towards financial sustainability and allowing natural densification to accommodate growth within city limits.
In contrast, the surrounding Township of Langley's higher abundance of land (although still limited) and other policies encourage less efficient land use such as oversized roads and parking lots, and the development of brand new neighbourhoods to bring in surges of revenue to prop up municipal finances and subsidize existing low-performing areas. While the good news is that new neighbourhoods are denser and have more variety of housing types, older neighbourhoods in the Township of Langley often fail to allow or encourage natural densification and investment in new housing and new businesses.
Due to this, our priority is encouraging Strong Towns practices and principles in the Township of Langley, rather than the City of Langley, although we will continue to support the City in it's efforts, including attending public hearings and giving feedback, and also welcome members who live in the City or have an interest in City matters.
We also wish to acknowledge that Langley is situated on the traditional lands of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui, and Semiahmoo First Nations peoples.
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?Langley suffers from issues common with post-war suburbs across Canada and the US. We recommend reading Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity to understand this model and the problems therein. Below is a summary of the issues we face, particularly the Township of Langley:
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. Strong Towns calls this the Growth Ponzi Scheme. Instead of applying pressure to strengthen, densify and allow more homes and business in existing neighbourhoods to build property tax revenues and make better use of the existing infrastructure we have, we are dependant on new development in new neighbourhoods to avoid massive property tax hikes to cover existing liabilities and election promises. With each new development comes more roads, sewer, and water infrastructure to maintain and this increases our liabilities with more long-term infrastructure costs.
Car-Dependency: As a largely suburban community, most of Langley has been planned to accomodate high volumes of car traffic, in contrast to older denser areas that were designed around people. Even in newer more urban-style neighbourhoods, wide and expensive stroads divide neighbourhoods to accomodate vehicles at great cost to the taxpayer and detriment to pedestrian and road safety. Langley should strive to become more people-oriented, not car-oriented. This means narrower, more crossable roads, more transit, safer sidewalks, well maintained accessible greenways and protected cyclepaths so residents have other options to get around and expensive ongoing road maintanence costs are reduced.
Housing Unaffordability: A problem in Langley (which is shared with the wider Metro Vancouver region, province and even nationally) is housing unaffordability. While areas like Willoughby have produced the most housing supply in the region according to recent census data, it alone has not been able to keep up with regional demand to keep prices stable. Provincial and regional government policies such as the ALR and Urban containment boundaries, while important and well intentioned, have created developable and serviceable land scarcity. In Langley we could do more to take this land scarcity seriously, approving denser walkable neighbourhood plans more quickly, no new wide multi-lane roads, transforming parking lots into housing, allowing more density in existing areas, reducing setback requirements, and allowing accessory dwelling units. We could also take other measures such as more investment into social/public housing or encouraging the development of co-ops.
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.
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 density, growth and development.
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, increases housing unaffordability, 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 natural market-driven densification.
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.