Lancaster faces tough near-term financial challenges — but might the city be better positioned for long-term sustainability than the suburbs that surround it?

Such questions will be the focus of a forum at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8. Titled “Is Lancaster a Strong Town?” it features Bo Wright of Strong Towns, a nonprofit that opposes sprawl and advocates for compact, resilient development patterns.

Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn spoke at a Lancaster County Planning Commission forum in 2013 (and is on a book tour bringing him to York on Monday, Nov. 4). He characterizes post-World War II suburbanization as a “Ponzi scheme,” generating short-term growth but saddling governments with maintaining more infrastructure than their tax bases can support.

Wright has been Strong Town’s development director for two years. He grew up in Georgia and now lives in Downingtown.

The talk is at the Trust Performing Arts Center, 37 N. Market St. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

It’s presented by The Row House, a local nonprofit that promotes public discussion under the rubric “engaging current culture with ancient faith.” Row House members can attend and bring one guest for free.

Architect Gregory Scott is conducting a related walking tour the next day (Saturday, Nov. 9) starting at 9 a.m. The cost is $20 and space is limited. 

WATCH: Row House director Tom Becker on 'Is Lancaster a Strong Town?'