At Strong Towns, our mission is to spread our radically new approach to growth and development to as many people as possible. That's why we aren't available to consult with individuals or organizations—but that doesn't mean we can't help.
Once a month, we host Ask Strong Towns, a live Q&A webcast open only to Strong Towns members and select invitees, to give you a chance to ask your burning questions about our vision for change, and how the Strong Towns approach might apply in your unique place—and give us a chance to share our answer with the world, so it might help other Strong Citizens.
Here’s the video (and audio, if the podcast is more your style) from our June 2019 installment of Ask Strong Towns with founder and president Chuck Marohn and communications director Kea Wilson.
Stuck at work during Ask Strong Towns? No problem! We bet if you love us, your coworkers would to, so get a group together and organize a watch party—as the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership did this time around! (Thanks, guys!)
This Month’s Questions Answered
3:10 — How can a strong town create the right balance between maintenance and safety, yet still allow for character and uniqueness? I.e. does every weed need to be pulled—or by obsessing over maintenance, do we risk creating an environment that becomes too sterile?
9:50 — Have you found that areas with conservative voters are more likely to buy into Strong Towns than an area with liberal voters, or vice versa?
16:05 — I live in New York City: our development pattern is as financially productive as anywhere, with fewer pipes, power lines, and roads per capita. Yet I have a tax bill that’s much higher than it would be in Texas or even Boston. Why? Shouldn’t the efficiency of our infrastructure lead to savings?
24:45 — Please discuss the challenges of advocating for Strong Towns principles in places heavily dependent on Local Government Aid for funding (money transferred from states to cities, or otherwise money from external government sources)?
30:50 — How should a small city, which is economically strong in many ways, deal with the issue of renter-occupied properties that are falling apart? Condemnation is a serious issue for the renter as well as the landlord. What other tools do we have to address this neglect?
39:30 — I live in a small town whose debt is astronomical, and whose pipes are crumbling. The city is seeking to build more housing to entice a new company to move here. What’s a good formula to help our city council know when to say yes to a project?
44:55 — My city has a historic downtown theater and community center that is heavily damaged and owned by the city. Some city council members see it as a money pit. But it’s also a pillar of the community. What would a Strong Towns approach be toward cultural landmarks like these?
51:15 — My town is having a debate concerning Accessory Dwelling Units—some vocal residents don’t want to start allowing them. Strong Towns has been vocal on the pros of ADUs—are there any cons? Why would people oppose them?
Paul Stewart: You Are the Help You've Been Waiting For
More than Math: Living with Intention in Our Stronger Towns
Minimum Viable Development? How We Let the "Perfect" Be the Enemy of the Good
Building Productive Places (and Showering them with Love)
Breaking Free of the Infrastructure Cult
Spooky Wisdom: What Lessons Should We Be Learning from How Our Ancestors Built Cities?
James Howard Kunstler: It's All Going to Have to Get Smaller
Tomas Sedlacek: A More Humane Economics
Patrick Deneen on Rediscovering Community and Rootedness
Ben Westhoff: Ferguson, Five Years Later
Ask Strong Towns #10: August 2019
Steve Mouzon: Living Traditions and the Original Green
The Dignity of Local Community: Chris Arnade
What Happens When Housing Becomes a Cash Crop?
Building Cities For Our Unconscious Brains: Ann Sussman on the Failings of Modern Architecture
Start Small, and Make a Lot of Noise: John Yung on Suburban Revitalization
What Does it Take to Bring a City Back from the Brink?
Autonomous Vehicles Are Coming. Do We Have a Say in Who Benefits?
Ask Strong Towns: Celebrity Edition with Community-Conscious Developer Derek Avery
Good Law | Bad Law
Migration Policy Institute Podcasts
Turning the Tide, Saving the Chesapeake Bay
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