Ashley Salvador: Building Gentle Density and a Grassroots Campaign for City Council

All week, we’ve been celebrating the thousands of amazing Strong Towns members who make up this movement. They are safe streets advocates in Hawaii and mayors in Pennsylvania and small business owners in Georgia. And if those references sound familiar, it’s because every one of those stories was featured on the podcast this year. If you’ve ever listened to the show and thought, “Wow I wish I could do what Mary or Chris or Haile is doing in my city,” you can! It just takes stepping up and committing to this movement by becoming a member of Strong Towns.

This movement is made up of all sorts of people and there’s a place for you here. Become a member today.

This week’s guest is Edmonton, Alberta-based city councilor, Ashley Salvador. Before her recent election, Ashley ran an organization called YEGarden Suites. (YEG is the abbreviation for Edmonton, and a garden suite is another term for an accessory dwelling unit.) Ashley has been a huge proponent of making this sort of housing more legally and practically easy to build. She and her cofounder teach classes, provide resources, and advocate to decisionmakers, all in pursuit of increased housing options and affordability through what she calls “gentle density.”

Her leadership on this and other local issues eventually led her to step up and run for local office. Ashley’s campaign brought together over 100 volunteers in a very grassroots effort, and now she’s a brand new city councilor.

In this interview, Ashley talks about the positive, Strong Towns changes happening in Edmonton, how she got where she is today, and her advice for others who hope to be local leaders, too. 

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