Charles Marohn

Strong Towns Podcast

A weekly conversation on the Strong Towns movement hosted by Charles Marohn. The podcast blends fiscal prudence with good urban design to highlight how America can financially strengthen its cities, towns and neighborhoods and, in the process, make them
Strong Towns Podcast


A weekly conversation on the Strong Towns movement hosted by Charles Marohn. The podcast blends fiscal prudence with good urban design to highlight how America can financially strengthen its cities, towns and neighborhoods and, in the process, make them better places to live.You can support the podcast and become a member of Strong Towns



Society & Culture


Program Update

Sep 4, 2018 0:12:00


A brief update from Chuck Marohn on the podcast feed, future program changes and the North Texas Regional Gathering.

Young People And CNU

Aug 23, 2018 0:50:06


This is our eighth dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

In this episode, Chuck interviews four attendees of CNU who are under 30 about their motivations for being a part of the gathering, their aspirations for their communities and for their own work, and the challenges of making a difference and being taken seriously as ambitious younger people in their respective fields. The guests for this conversation are:

Dan Baisden, the Executive Director of Main Street Van Wert in Van Wert, Ohio. (Baisden has since taken a city planning position in nearby Fort Wayne, Indiana.)Sophie Hicks, an architecture student at St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario.Andrew Rodriguez, a city councilman in Walnut, CA.Mason Wallace, a small-scale developer in Charlotte, NC. 

Plenty of luminaries in architecture, planning, and related fields attend CNU, and there's a certain star-struck attitude that would be easy for a younger attendee beginning their career to adopt. Chuck turns that mindset on its head for the panelists, asking each of them, "Suppose I'm star-struck to meet youhere. What's fresh, exciting thing you're working on that you think it's important to share with the world?"

For Baisden, this thing is Rust Belt revitalization—reimagining and repurposing places that have the excess infrastructure and capacity to take in new residents and new ideas. For Wallace, it's spreading the message of incremental change in a booming city where that approach has not been the norm. Hicks is passionate about community engagement: changing the public's perception of an area like her hometown of Windsor and what might be possible there. Rodriguez has worked to correct mistaken ideas about renters and apartment housing in his Los Angeles suburb, in order to help the city chart a more sustainable future.

When Chuck was 25, he tells the panelists, he struggled to have people take him seriously in professional settings. "You don't have grey hair," he'd be told. How do you deal with the challenge of working professionally with people a generation or two older than you?

The answer, says Rodriguez, is to work extra hard to make sure he knows what he's talking about. If you're clearly well-informed and thoughtful, people will respect that. Engaging with people on a very personal level is also important for bridging generational and other divides, says Baisden—in dealing with members of the public who are of a different generation, frame your work in terms of stories they can relate to.

Moving up in your field means being willing to be thrown into doing things that are beyond your pay grade, but not beyond your competence. You build upon what you know bit by bit, says Wallace. Over time, you form a coherent personal idea of what can and can't be done, and the ability to communicate it to others and sell them on your vision.

One thing uniting this group of young urbanists is their recognition of the importance of place. All four are deeply interested in giving back to the places that made them who they are. The conversation turns to millennial activism and how it's often misunderstood—this generation works hard to change the world, but in different ways than their predecessors may have. 

Is it natural for each generation to be frustrated by the one preceding them, and baffled by the one that follows them? Chuck poses the question. Belying the stereotype that millennials tweet about events but don't vote or get involved, Baisden says he works with many volunteers and most of them are in their 20s and 30s. Millennials are entering adulthood with a different set of challenges—student loan debt and a housing affordability crisis—but also with a set of strengths. Those who have come of age with social media are natural storytellers and brand experts, flexible and accustomed to teamwork.

How do we get this generation involved in dramatic, even revolutionary change in the way things are done in our cities and towns? How will the millennial generation push the future of the suburbs in different directions than their parents did? Listen to the podcast for these and more thoughts on the generational divide at CNU.

How Relevant Is Localism In An Age of Urgency?

Aug 16, 2018 0:59:37


This is our seventh dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

In this episode, recorded in front of a smaller-than-usual crowd (it turns out that’s what happens when you’re competing with Jan Gehl), Chuck and his three guests discuss the question, “How Relevant is Localism in an Age of Urgency?” The guests for this conversation were Scott Doyon and Ben Brown, both of Placemakers, and Susana Dancy, partner with Rockwood Development in Chapel Hill, NC, and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Incremental Development Alliance.

“We are constantly told how the world is become a flaming dumpster fire,” says Chuck, introducing the day’s topic, “and that amid all these disasters, the only rational response is to do something really big. In fact, if we’re not doing that, we’re really not serious about things.” But is this “Go big or go home?” mindset the right one?

The paradox of our era is that large-scale action to tackle national and global problems can feel simultaneously more imperative and less achievable than it did in the past. Doyon suggests that localism is what’s left to us, because any attempt to unite many people behind an ambitious, huge project will end up riddled with distractions and divisions. The community solidarity that we once might have called on to “do great things together,” in the words of Thomas Friedman, has broken down.

One reason is that our communities are less homogenous than they used to be, and we have to adjust to having people at the table who don’t think like us and haven’t had the same experiences we have had. Another factor is a shift that has occurred in how we think about citizenship. Says Dancy, “We’ve trained our public that they are consumers of community, as opposed to members, or builders, of community.” This gets to why there is often intense local opposition to any sort of change at all in a place’s built form or zoning code or community culture: “Because this is what they bought.” Community, says Doyon, used to be a survival mechanism. Now, it’s a “purchased amenity.”

In that context, how do you build momentum to address even local problems, let alone national or global problems that manifest themselves locally in place after place after place? Our panelists’ answers suggest that local relationship building is crucial—there is no way around working at that level. Then, once you have local success stories and models under your belt, you gain the ability to scale up and replicate what you’ve achieved.

The Incremental Development Alliance is reaching the point in its growth where it can work directly with cities on changing regulations that are in the way of small-scale infill development. The credibility required to do this starts within communities, not with a national organization. In Columbus, Georgia, for example, a local property owner went person by person through the city council to persuade them of the value of adding on-street parking as part of a traffic calming exercise.

“That happened because of that trust that existed within that community,” says Dancy, but once it had happened, it became a model. Dancy was able to go back to Chapel Hill, where she lives, and say, to people with whom she had local credibility, “They’re doing it in Georgia. Can we do it here?”

Localism may be a necessary response to the paralysis of national and global institutions and levers of change. But that doesn’t mean that we should reject the goal of having a large, scalable impact on the world through our actions, says Brown. Instead, localism needs to be a means to produce solutions that can be replicated and that are informed by an awareness of global problems. “See if you can find the biggest little thing you can do,” he advises. It must be small enough to succeed, but big enough to have an influence. In an age of polarization and tribalism, “The only way you can get big done is to demonstrate how the little works. Then scale up.”

Listen to the podcast for these and many more thoughts on the value, urgency, and limitations of localism in an age of big, desperate problems.

Ask Strong Towns #5

Aug 9, 2018 1:05:10


Today's Strong Towns Podcast is the audio from a recent Ask Strong Towns webcast conversation featuring President and Founder Chuck Marohn and Communications Director Kea Wilson.

Once a month, we host Ask Strong Towns 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 are the questions discussed on this episode:

1. Long ago, Rockford, Illinois decided to not allow highway I-90 through the middle of downtown. The result was 8 miles of stroad headed to that highway, lined with big-box stores. Was Rockford really better off by not letting the highway into town?

2. If you have a town committee whose members look upon new ideas as something to dismiss or ignore or as a threat, and you want to introduce new ideas such as those of Strong Towns, how do you disrupt the status quo and get people to be open-minded?

3. You talk a lot about running local government using business principles—how cities need to actually take in more money than they spend. Why did we decide to calculate property taxes using the value of a property, instead of the cost incurred by that property?

4. Macon-Bibb County has had the highest pedestrian death rate in Georgia for 6 of the last 7 years. A review board was created to address the problem, but its focus has been entirely on blaming the victim—teaching people walking how not to get run over. We have two interstates and numerous stroads, and lots of financial challenges. How do I educate our leaders about the role of street design in pedestrian safety?

5. How do I convince my town’s director of public works and town engineer to plant street trees between the sidewalk and the street, rather than only on private property?

6. What cities are leaders in urban forestry?

7. I would like to increase the tourist industry in my town of about 100,000. It’s not an industry that’s well respected where I am. Do you have any insights into how to communicate the benefits of adding another industry to the economic base of this area?

8. I hear two views on how to address a housing shortage in Denver: 1) Add density, where you need it, but incrementally and with fewer zoning restrictions, vs. 2) Add density, but only in the form of large developments, so your city can make deals and require below-market-rate housing. What would you say to Person 2 to bring them closer to Person 1’s position?

9. How does Chuck feel about Duany Plater-Zyberk’s Smart Code and other form-based codes? Is form-based coding consistent with a Strong Towns approach?

E-Scooters and Who Takes up Space in Cities

Aug 2, 2018 0:40:58


A long-time volunteer and contributor to Strong Towns, Andrew Burleson is a software engineer and project manager in San Francisco, California. He currently serves on the Board of Strong Towns. Andrew has been a key advocate for the transition of the group from an engineering-centric blog to a broader movement-building organization.

Today, Andrew joins Chuck Marohn on the podcast to discuss the 2018 trend sweeping many of America's major and somewhat-less-major cities: electric scooters.

Listen to an excerpt

E-Scooters and Who Takes Up Space in Cities


Andrew tells Chuck about his experience with the rollout of a fleet of rentable, dockless, drop-off-anywhere scooters in San Francisco—before the city instituted a moratorium on the fledgling transportation revolution—and his conversion from skeptic ("It's not for me. I'm a grown-up; I bicycle. Scooters are a kid's thing.") to fan ("The low learning curve really is real. Just about anyone can do it.").

San Francisco is in an unusual place among North American cities: it has "hit the parking ceiling." The city has a highly compact, walkable development pattern, but mobility issues for its residents center around limited space: space on packed trains, and space on the city's streets. Virtually "every inch of San Francisco that's not a building is a parking space," says Burleson.

And yet, a dramatic expansion of the city and region's rapid transit offerings, to create a truly universal alternative to driving, is not in the cards. The Bay Area lacks the resources or the political will to build out subway lines that have been proposed over the years. What it can do is think differently about how urban space is allocated, and maybe teach other cities a lesson or two in the process.

Cars take up a tremendous amount of space. Cars parked, or looking for parking, or waiting to drop someone off, are a major cause of urban congestion. The result, in a city like SF, is that the fastest way to get across town, for those able-bodied enough to do it, has long been bicycling. Bicycles can "fit through the gaps" while cars sit at congested intersections.

Scooters, were they to become widespread, could dramatically expand a constituency that now consists mostly of cyclists: those interested in reconsidering how much space on our public streets should be dedicated to car drivers versus other users.

Listen to the whole thing to hear Chuck and Andrew discuss these issues as well as:

Are scooters a form of "clutter" in the cities where they've been rolled out?What cultural norms govern the way we perceive scooters versus parked cars, and will those evolve?Are people comfortable with the hierarchy of urban street space now, or is there tension?How profitable is the e-scooter industry?Why are cities seeking to ban or restrict the proliferation of e-scooters?What is the future of scooters in our cities, given the current regulatory backlash?How could scooters affect other aspects of our development pattern, including the political acceptability of Missing Middle housing?

From Vision to Policy: Making New Urbanism Work

Jul 26, 2018 0:58:11


This is our sixth dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

In this episode, Susan Henderson (principal and director of design at Placemakers), Hazel Borys (principal and managing director at Placemakers), and Marina Khoury (architect and a partner at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company) discuss the challenges of engaging with client communities for the successful implementation of New Urbanist innovations such as form-based zoning codes.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

How do you go about engaging with communities around a vision, so that when you get to the stage of implementing policy, you’re confident that you’ve got the vision right?Are we doing visioning well when it comes to New Urbanist ideas, and getting the communities we work in on board with those ideas?How do you get a more representative cross-section of the community engaged in the planning process?How is public engagement different in affluent communities versus those facing more socioeconomic challenges?What are the cues, when you walk in the door, that tell you whether a place is going to be receptive to change?How do you deal with local staff that have limited capacity or interest in working with you?How do you overcome an internal roadblock, when your proposal gets to that one person in the bureaucracy who can derail it?How do you start the conversation with elected officials who aren’t receptive to your ideas?How do you deal with things that are outside the scope of what you can solve?Zoning has come in for a lot of criticism lately from multiple corners of society. How can zoning be a tool for constructive change?Why is the change from a use-based code to a form-based code such a dramatic shift?What are the highest priority changes you urge client communities to implement?Do you prefer to do full citywide code rewrites, or improve a city’s zoning code through more incremental steps?How do you deal with the backlash to a policy that has been too successful and resulted in changes that spur community opposition?How would you respond to the critique that you can’t legislate quality development or architecture?How is capacity building part of what you do, beyond a normal consultant relationship?What do you do to share the lessons you’ve learned?

The Week Ahead: This is Goodbye

Jul 23, 2018 0:08:10


In the last Week Ahead Podcast episode, Rachel talks with Aubrey Byron, Strong Towns' new Membership Coordinator and Staff Writer. Aubrey shares what she's been working on to further the goals of the movement, and Rachel and Aubrey discuss their recent staff retreat. They close with a look at the exciting future of the Strong Towns Podcast.

Apologies for the sound quality issues on this one.

Mentioned in this episode:

War on Peace by Ronan FarrowSharp Objects by Gillian FlynnTelegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

Suburban Poverty Meets Sprawl Retrofit

Jul 19, 2018 0:55:34


This is our fourth dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

In this episode, June Williamson (associate professor of architecture at the City College of New York), Dan Reed (urban planner and writer) and Galina Tachieva (managing partner at DPZ), discuss the clashes and overlaps between sprawl retrofit and suburban poverty.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

What's the latest research on sprawl retrofit?What are some successful examples of sprawl retrofit?Can retrofit happen using a basic, repeatable template, or do local leaders need to be equipped to decide what's best for their community?In smaller communities without deep pockets, where is the capital going to come from to make these sorts of changes?Where should we invest the money and time to do retrofit, and where does it make more sense to "re-green," i.e. return failing suburban developments back to nature? How do we, culturally, make these decisions when they impact real towns and real (often low-income) people?How do communities handle the increasing pressure on their suburban areas to maintain a certain lifestyle while many of the residents who live in these places simply can't afford the immense costs of suburban infrastructure?In communities dominated by failing suburban developments and utterly lacking investment, is there any strategy to save them?Many lower income Americans who reach a level of financial comfort want to make their homes in the suburbs. Should people (like New Urbanists) who feel they see the writing on the wall in terms of the declining future of suburbs tell these folks to give up on their dream of owning a home in the suburbs?What mental models and assumptions are enabling and underlying the decisions that have gone into the suburban development pattern?What will America look like 20 years from now if suburban retrofit succeeds? What percent of America can actually be retrofitted?

What does it mean to build a vibrant community?

Jul 12, 2018 0:51:22


Quint Studer is the founder of Pensacola, Florida's Studer Community Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on improving the community's quality of life and moving Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties forward. He is a businessman, visionary, entrepreneur and Strong Towns member. His new book is Building A Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America.

In this engaging conversation, Chuck Marohn and Quint Studer discuss:

What does it mean to be a vibrant community?How do leaders help communities get unstuck from a negative trajectory?Should we stop wasting time trying to appeal to and listen to the naysayers in our towns?How do you balance the need to take small, incremental steps with community desires to execute big visions and address big problems?How can we learn from other communities' successes without trying to copy exactly what they've done in our town?Why is downtown the best place to begin your community's revitalization efforts?What is the role of local government in guiding the future of a successful town?How important are wealthy community benefactors today?How can revitalization efforts benefit all residents, especially those in poorer neighborhoods?

The Week Ahead: Checklists adapt better to change than commandments.

Jul 9, 2018 0:32:13


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's recent article on why sometimes you just need to pick up and move if your city isn't working for you. They also discuss an upcoming webcast and some favorite new books and TV shows.

Mentioned in this article:

"Sometimes You Need to Move" by Chuck Marohn"Stuck: Why rent- and mortgage-burdened Americans don't always move" by Kea WilsonExpand Your Impact with Social Media webcast, July 25 at 11am CTLocal Conversations in the Strong Towns MovementOn Grand Strategy by Lewis GaddisWestworld (TV show)Arrested Development (TV show)

Ask Strong Towns #4 (June 2018)

Jul 5, 2018 1:08:11


Every month, we host Ask Strong Towns 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.

The live Ask Strong Towns webcast is open to all Strong Towns members, but afterward, we share the audio on our podcast.

Below you'll find that audio, with a conversation led by Strong Towns staff members, Chuck Marohn and Kea Wilson. In this episode, Chuck and Kea discuss several audience-submitted questions on topics ranging from from parking minimums to density to how young people can help build Strong Towns

Here are the questions discussed in this episode:

What are some of the arguments you’ve heard over the years “for” parking minimums (i.e. leaving it the way we’ve always done it), rather than moving towards a parking maximum model? If I'm going in front of elected officials to lobby for a change, what arguments should I anticipate and how should I answer them?If a city has large green- or gray-field lots, what can it do to promote fine-grained development in these places, especially in climates where developers are hungry to build the biggest project they can?When talking to policymakers, how can you shift the conversation away from the overly simple "all density is good density" and towards adding value through a broader set of solutions, like mixed use development, multi-story buildings, limited parking, infill development, etc.?I go to college a few hours from my home, and my home is immediately outside of the principal city in my region. What can I do during my college years to stay involved in a city I don't live in at all during the year, but that I intend to move into after my career?What do you think of special “District” initiatives, the "Cultural Innovation District" in New Orleans?As a young(ish) engineer who subscribes to Strong Towns ideas and wants to make a difference in his home town, would you recommend that I pursue a planning degree in addition to my civil engineering degree, especially if I have a chance to work in city government?People in our small town tend to be very engaged and hold strong opinions. Big community issues can turn nasty, especially now with social media. Any suggestions on how to engage civil discourse without personal attacks?Our town is embarking on a large development project in the core of downtown financed via a Tax Increment Financing. The short version of the explanation we got from our Town Council is that the tax revenue generated from the new project will be set aside to fund the project. Doesn't TIF = debt? What questions would help enlighten our taxpayers?

The Week Ahead: From Technical Writer to Grocery Store Owner to Community Builder

Jul 2, 2018 0:13:04


On this episode, Rachel introduces her colleague, Jacob Moses, who is Strong Towns' new Community Builder. Jacob discusses his unique background in technical writing and grocery store management, and how he ended up at Strong Towns.


Expand Your Impact with Social Media (webcast), 11am CT on July 25This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are by Melody WarnickThe Future of Public Space by Michelle Nijhuis, Jaron Lanier, Rachel Monroe, China Mieville & more

Autonomous Vehicles: Separating the Hype from Reality

Jun 28, 2018 1:01:25


This is our fourth dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

In this episode, Jeffrey Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy at Nelson Nygaard, and Corey Ershow, Transportation Policy Manager at Lyft, discuss the hype around autonomous vehicles and what the AV future might actually look like.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

How will autonomous vehicles fit into our existing taxi and ride-hailing network?How far are we in the technological progression toward autonomous vehicles?Autonomous vehicles seem to work okay on a closed course, but what about in a complex urban space?If we don't criminalize "jaywalking," how can humans and autonomous vehicles interact in a way that allows both to move freely and safely in an urban environment?Will autonomous vehicles take over our cities and marginalize pedestrians, or might the opposite happen as a result of automation?Will autonomous vehicles encourage longer suburban commuting?What are governments doing right, in anticipation of autonomous vehicles?

The Week Ahead: Get to know our new summer intern

Jun 25, 2018 0:13:00


This week, Rachel's guest is Connor Nielsen, our summer intern who is working with both Strong Towns and our friends at the geoanalytics firm, Urban3, to share data-related stories throughout the next few months. Connor talks about what led him to this internship and what he hopes to work on this summer.


Urban3Connor's writing on Strong TownsAsk Strong Towns webcast, Thursday at 12pm CTGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Liturgists (podcast)The Good Place (TV show)

Absolution and the Changing American City

Jun 21, 2018 0:42:46


This is our third dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

In this episode, David Rau, a New York-city based architect and Steve Mouzon, an architect and author of The Original Green, discuss the past, present and future of American architecture. They contemplate what it means for a new generation to reject or forgive the design choices of previous generations, particularly in light of recent conversations about the removal of Confederate monuments in American cities.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

What are the key differences between traditional architecture and modern architecture?Is a willingness to accept or reject changes as humans wired into our DNA? Are liberals more interested in moving forward and conservatives more interested in keeping this as they are?How does the concept of absolution apply to current conversations about new urbanism? What does the process of absolution look like?How can we be fair judges of city builders in the past while still maintaining a critical eye toward their failings? As city builders today, how would we want to be judged by future generations?Is our ability to absolve people and places of the past correlated with the level of power we have or have not gained today?What makes a place "lovable?"

The Week Ahead: Bee Season

Jun 18, 2018 0:20:05


Rachel's guest this week is Michelle Erfurt, Strong Towns' Pathfinder. She shares an update on Strong Towns' events for the year and the amazing reach that the Strong Towns message has been having. Michelle and Rachel also dish about their latest favorite books and tv shows. If you want to book a Strong Towns event, head to this page to get in touch with Michelle.

Mentioned in this podcast

Chuck speaks at the International City/County Management Association's Annual Conference in BaltimoreStrong Towns events in:Erie, PAFort Worth, TXCedar Creek, TX8 Lessons Learned from Starting my First Garden by Michelle ErfurtQueer Eye for the Straight GuyRed Sparrow by Jason MatthewsHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Even Historic Cities Face Auto-Oriented Design Problems

Jun 14, 2018 0:52:49


This is our second dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

One month after the Congress, today's podcast guests are Andres Duany and Kevin Klinkenberg, who discuss the host city of Savannah. Andres is one of the founders of CNU and Kevin is a long-time Savannah resident. Both are architects and planners, and both were deeply involved with producing the Congress this year.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

What makes Savannah such a unique place?Why didn't the rest of Savannah develop in the same traditional, walkable manner as the city center?How has auto-oriented design impacted the historic core of the city?How do you balance historic preservation concerns and the need to allow cities to move forward?What's the impact of large developments like convention centers and arenas?Engineers and planners often have a compulsion to fix things, but how do we know when to let a place go? What is the opportunity cost of spending too much time fixing things that are really beyond repair

Why is it so hard to get things built?

Jun 7, 2018 0:36:32


This is our first dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

Today's podcast guest is Monte Anderson, a developer based in Texas and a leader of the Incremental Development Alliance

Monte encourages people to pick a place they love and stay there. That's how you really learn what communities need and how to make them better. And that's what he did by choosing to incrementally improve his hometown.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

What if your town seems past the point of getting better? Should you stay anyway?What needs to happen in order to encourage development in our towns? How do you respond to people who worry that the removal of parking minimums will be harmful to local businesses?What's the best sort of business to kickstart a commercial street?How do we reconcile the desire to be flexible and encourage new business start-ups, especially in poor neighborhoods, while still ensuring that buildings are safe and basic health codes are met?What are the first steps someone should take if they want to become an incremental developer? What if you don't have much money?How do you find a balance between investing in a neighborhood and not pricing people out of it?What's the difference between a developer and an investor?

The Week Ahead: The Trip That Didn't Happen

Jun 4, 2018 0:24:37


In this episode, Rachel hosts Chuck Marohn, who recaps an international trip that was supposed to happen... but didn't. Yet the trip still inspired him to get thinking about the debt crisis in Italy and why its impact in Europe is different than the impact a similar crisis might have (and has had) on American towns.

Sorry about Rachel's audio in this episode. We're working on some back-end issues so had to do the recording over the phone.


Could your city weather a debt crisis? by Chuck MarohnA Good Investment: The Benefits of Walkable Communities - a webcast hosted by America Walks, 2pm ET on June 13Strong Towns event in Huntsville, AlabamaCadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Marc ReisnerMy Life with the Saints by James Martin, SJ

How a Productivity- and Efficiency-Obsessed Culture Harms Parents

May 31, 2018 0:52:42


A few decades ago, Beth Berry lived in Austin, Texas with her four children. The pace of life in that big city eventually caught up with them and they decided to move south to Mexico to find something different.

Beth started writing, cooking, walking and observing the family-centric life around her. "I was learning to not have an agenda and let curiosity lead me," she says. "The culture shifted my perspective on what I needed to do to be okay, to be worthy, to be successful by some measure."

Since then, she has moved back to the United States and begun working as a life coach with mothers who share similar concerns about the unceasing pace of American life, and the burdens and impossible ideals it lays on women.

In this engaging conversation with Chuck Marohn, Beth discusses the pressures of modern parenthood, the loss of "the village" when it comes to raising children, and the way the design of our communities furthers disconnection and isolation.

Mentioned in this podcast:

In the absence of ‘the village,’ mothers struggle most (on Motherly)Revolution from Home (Beth's website)

The Week Ahead: Thank you!

May 29, 2018 0:15:12


On this episode, Kea and Rachel recap the recent member drive and chat about some recent favorite books and shows. A huge thank you to the 150 new members who joined us last week. If you didn't get a chance to become a member yet, you can still do so right here, right now:


The Winners of our State vs. State New Member ContestIn Defense of Housing by Peter Marcuse and David MaddenWild, Wild Country (Netflix show)Is it better to build a Strong Town from scratch? by Kea Wilson

Let's Talk

May 25, 2018 0:10:56


Strong Towns needs your support! It's the final day of our member drive and can't accomplish our mission of changing the national conversation on growth and development without you. Become a member today:

If you've been waiting — been putting this off all week — we're here to help you get past the finish line. Here's the number: 844-218-1681. Ask for Chuck. Ask for Kea. Ask for Rachel or Max or Bo or Michelle. We're all sitting here waiting for you to call. We'll chat a little and then get you signed up to be a member of Strong Towns. It's that easy.

Or, just sign up on your own. That's easy too. Just click here to join a movement that is making important change happen.

Today's the day. Before you head out for a long weekend, take a quick minute to make a huge difference.

Here's what gives me hope.

May 24, 2018 0:24:19


Strong Towns needs your support! We can't accomplish our mission of changing the national conversation on growth and development without you. Become a member today:

On Day 4 of the Spring member drive, Chuck recaps a typical day in the life as president of Strong Towns. Then he discusses a question he received on a recent Ask Strong Towns webcast (here: about the negative nature of so much of what Strong Towns discusses, and whether there is any way to find hope.

Renewing Past Promises

May 21, 2018 0:15:03


Strong Towns needs your support! We can't accomplish our mission of changing the national conversation on growth and development without you. Become a member today:

In this first episode of our Spring member drive, Chuck reflects on a promise he made to Strong Towns three years ago, and how that decision changed the trajectory of this movement forever.

Ask Strong Towns #3

May 17, 2018 1:16:12


Every month, we host Ask Strong Towns 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.

The live Ask Strong Towns webcast is open to all Strong Towns members, but afterward, we share the audio on our podcast. In today’s episode, Chuck and Kea discuss several audience-submitted questions on topics ranging from TIF and bonds to historic preservation to how to campaign on a Strong Towns platform. 

Here are the questions discussed in this episode:

Down-zonings are a common tool around here for the local aldermen to get what they want. I’m a believer that they make the development process longer, more expensive and, subsequently, lead to gentrification. What’s the Strong Towns take on down-zonings?What are appropriate things that a city should issue bonds for?What resources are available for a small town without a big planning department or budget to review their zoning code and best practices?Many are excited about the new Strong Towns initiative in Akron, Ohio. What happens if it’s a resounding success and demand skyrockets?Is there ever a good TIF project proposal?Is incrementalism diametrically opposed to historic preservation or do these two movements in fact share common goals?Local elections are coming up this fall and some candidates are wondering about how to introduce Strong Towns concepts without scaring voters off. Do you have thoughts on how to campaign on Strong Towns? If you could get a candidate to read ONLY two articles to get the essence of the Strong Towns thought process, which would they be? (Kea’s and Chuck’s answers reference: The Real Reason Your City has No Money, So You Want to Build a Strong Town and 9 Ways to Change an Elected Official’s Mind)My city leadership has been slow to confront our housing issues. What would you say to a local leader to make them see that housing is a problem that deserves their attention and priority, particularly when those impacted are underrepresented among the (small town) political elite?A lot of your articles are depressing. What gives you the most hope for America's towns and cities?

Visit the Ask Strong Towns page to learn more about this webcast, submit a question and get info about the next episode (happening June 28th):

The Week Ahead: The 26th Congress for the New Urbanism

May 14, 2018 0:28:54


Chuck and Rachel discuss Strong Towns' role in CNU26 in Savannah, GA, including live podcast recordings, an interactive debate, a Strong Towns 101 presentation and a meet-up. Get all the details here:


Overview of Strong Towns activities at CNUHow to Join in on Strong Towns Events at CNU (whether you're attending or not)"The Little Law Office That Could" by Rachel QuednauThomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian KilmeadeThe Death of Democracy: Hitler's Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic by Benjamin Carter HettCadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition by Marc ReisnerSkin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas TalebFlint Town (Netflix series)

What's it like to get started as a small scale developer?

May 10, 2018 0:47:02


Kea Wilson is Strong Towns' Director of Community Engagement and, as of a couple days ago, the proud owner of a new four-family building in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. This is the second property that she and her partner have purchased and managed as landlord and developers and today we brought her on the Strong Towns podcast to talk all about that experience. (She's also been detailing her journey toward purchasing this property in a series of articles on the website this week.)

In this in-depth and honest podcast conversation, Kea and Rachel discuss:

What does being a developer look like and why do it in the first place?How do you weight the costs and benefits of a given property (both monetary and non-monetary), and make the choice to pull the trigger on a purchase?Is it possible to provide quality affordable housing and still break even or make a profit as a small scale developer without deep pockets?What are the challenges and benefits of being a landlord?How can we incentivize more landlords to care about their tenants and neighborhoods? What financial, social or political systems would need to change to make this the norm?


In Defense of Housing: The Politics of Crisis by Peter Marcuse and David MaddenMr. Money Mustache (blog)Bigger Pockets (real estate investing resource)Incremental Development Alliance"Who can afford to invest in a poor neighborhood?" (series) by Kea WilsonPodcast: Why a Simple, Frugal Life Will Make you a Happier Person (with Kea Wilson)"Find a Place You Love that Needs You" by Sarah Kobos"Stuck: Why rent- and mortgage-burdened Americans don't always move to cheaper pastures" by Kea WilsonThe Greenlining Institute

The Week Ahead: Don't be scared of dockless bikeshare

May 7, 2018 0:27:42


Rachel's guest this week is Strong Towns member and occasional writer, Alex Baca. Alex just published an article on Strong Towns called "Homeownership for whom?" about the flawed model of homeownership as a platform for building household wealth — and who is excluded by that model. Alex and Rachel discuss the position of homeownership in American culture and the economy. They also chat about Alex's thoughts on bikeshare and recent updates in the bikeshare world like dockless bikes and scooters.


Homeownership for whom? by Alex BacaGerontopoly: Homeownership, Wealth and Age by Joe CortrightStrong Towns events in Peoria, ILWhat Cities Need to Understand About Bikeshare Now by Alex Baca (on CityLab)Here’s What You Can Read If You’d Like to Think About Cities In Exactly The Way That I Do — an extended book list by Alex BacaCan't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop GenerationFollow Alex on Twitter @alexbaca.

Ask Strong Towns #2 with Joe Minicozzi

May 4, 2018 1:06:22


Today we've got the audio from a recent Ask Strong Towns webcast conversation featuring friend of Strong Towns and Principal at Urban3, Joe Minicozzi, and hosted by Chuck Marohn. 

You can watch the video from this webcast as well as see a list of questions covered here:

Visit the Ask Strong Towns page to learn more about this webcast, submit a question and get info about the next episode:

The Week Ahead: A Chat with Strong Towns' Resident Nomad

Apr 30, 2018 0:16:10


Rachel's guest this week is Strong Towns Growth Manager, Max Azzarello. He discusses his nomadic lifestyle and the reason he might be settling down somewhere permanently soon. He also talks about why he drives a scooter and a recent book he's been digging.


Public Murals for Positive Change - An Interview with Pasqualina AzzarelloAsk Strong Towns Celebrity Edition feat. Joe Minicozzi (today at 10:30 am CT)May 1 event in Wichita, KSMay 3 event in Chattanooga, TNMay 9-10 events in Peoria, ILA Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca SolnitHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieWild, Wild Country (TV series)

No Excuses

Apr 26, 2018 0:40:23


Chuck has been meeting with local leaders across the country for the last several months in closed door conversations. One question he often asks these elected officials and city staff is "What do you wish people understood better about your job?" He consistently receives a very similar set of answers: "We wish the public understood how difficult this job is." "We wish people grasped how limited our resources are." "We wish people appreciated how much we do and had a little more patience." ...and on and on. The truth is that wishing these things will never make them happen, he argues. City leaders have to do their jobs despite the lack of resources and appreciation. If you want to work for a city government and make decisions on behalf of your town, you will receive critiques and high expectations, says Chuck.

Here's the real question: How do you do the job despite these things? Hear Chuck's answers on this latest episode of our podcast.

The Week Ahead: Bon-Ton Gone

Apr 23, 2018 0:24:03


Rachel's guest this week is Chuck Marohn, and he recaps a recent series of events in Akron, Ohio as well as his article for today, The Real Reason Your Local Mall is Failing.

Mentioned in this podcast:

The Real Reason Your Local Mall is FailingJoin us for upcoming public events in West Grove, PA, Wichita, KS, and Chattanooga, TN.Strong Towns members are invited to attend our April 30 Q&A Webcast with special guest Joe Minicozzi of Urban3.Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

The Week Ahead: Announcing a Year-Long Initiative with Akron, Ohio

Apr 16, 2018 0:14:02


This week's guest is Strong Towns Development Director, Bo Wright, who discusses the organization's new partnership in Akron, Ohio, which will spur a yearlong conversation on how to make the city a strong town, supported by the Knight Foundation. Bo talks about what we hope to accomplish this year in Akron and why it matters to everyone — not just Akron residents.

Contact if you have a request for a future guest on this podcast.


Learn more about our work in Akron here: us for a Curbside Chat and meet-up in Akron on Tuesday, April 17If you're in the Akron area, please join our Strong Akron Facebook group to follow this conversation.The Long Game podcast by Jon WardThe Achievement of Wendell Berry by Fritz OehlschlaegerThe Party Faithful: How and Why Democrats Are Closing the God Gap by Amy SullivanDepolarize! Podcast

Visit for the show notes.

The Spooky Wisdom of Incremental

Apr 13, 2018 1:07:56


Who is against you? That's a question Chuck Marohn is often asked when he presents Strong Towns ideas at events and in conversations. One group in particular is a growing voice in opposition to Strong Towns. These are the folks who say: "We really like Strong Towns. We like your ideas... But don't you see that the problems you're discussing are so big and intertwined with so many other challenges that we can't afford to act incrementally? We have to take major steps to solve major problems. Small-scale actions are not going to cut it here."

Today on the podcast, Chuck responds.

The Week Ahead: Rust Belt Towns on the Road to Revitalization

Apr 9, 2018 0:27:19


Rachel's guest this week is Strong Towns member and contributor, Arian Horbovetz, who blogs at The Urban Phoenix and lives in Rochester, New York. He discusses the universal challenges that Rust Belt towns deal with, his optimistic yet pragmatic view on urban revitalization, and his sociologist's perspective on these trends.


TheUrbanPhoenix.comThe Big Urban Mistake: Building for Tourism vs. Livability by Arian HorbovetzJoin us tomorrow for a Strong Towns presentation and Meet-up in Thompsonville, MIThe New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak (also check out our January 2018 podcast interview with Bruce Katz about this book)The Impolite Company podcast

Ask Strong Towns 1

Apr 5, 2018 1:07:57


Every month, we host Ask Strong Towns 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 answers with the world, so it might help other Strong Citizens. The live Ask Strong Towns webcast is open to all Strong Towns members, but afterward, we share the audio on our podcast.

Here are the questions Chuck and Kea discussed today:

What makes for a good urban road?What are the key metrics which we can use to judge whether a town is strong? I know it's not the municipal bond rating...I live in a city where the economy and population are growing. How can we build momentum for a Strong Towns approach in a place like this?What are your thoughts on home-sharing systems like AirBnB and short-term hotels?You present a simple and compelling argument for why our development pattern is causing our cities to go bankrupt. What factors are not being considered when we look at tax value per acre maps?What needs to happen so that more people can be engaged in local decision making and planning processes?My town has a walkable main street with some vacant land surrounding it. Should we prioritize strengthening our main street or developing the vacant land into something more productive?What's the low-hanging fruit? Where do you start building Strong Towns if you're a regular person, not an elected official or leader? Just riding a bike to work doesn't seem like it will make a big difference...

Visit the Ask Strong Towns page to learn more about this webcast, submit a question and get info about the next episode:

The Week Ahead: Chuck's Thoughts on Autonomous Vehicles

Apr 2, 2018 0:39:10


Rachel's guest this week is Chuck Marohn who recaps a recent trip to Massachusetts and discusses his article today on autonomous vehicles.

Mentioned in this podcast:

April 3 event in Colorado Springs, COAutomated vehicles will makes our streets worse by Chuck MarohnThe Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko & Tucker Carrington

If you have a recommendation for a podcast guest, hit up Rachel at

Suburban Redevelopment Requires Patience, Engagement and a Positive Attitude

Mar 30, 2018 0:38:47


A couple weeks ago, Chuck Marohn shared an image on Facebook that sparked a contentious conversation. It was an illustration of a potential retrofit project, turning a suburban big box site into a slightly denser — but still quite auto-oriented — development. Comments rained in from other Strong Towns advocates, many in agreement, others pushing back. Then the developer who originally posted the image called us and asked to talk. So we invited him onto our podcast.

Bob Barber is a founder partner at Orion Planning+Design, a Mississippi native and the former planning director for the City of Hernando, MS. In this conversation with Chuck Marohn, Barber discusses the challenges and different approaches to pushing for change in smaller, more suburban communities. In his experience, the people who approach change from a positive angle in the communities where he works have a much better chance of building a strong town than the people who begin by putting the community down and pointing out where it has gone wrong.

2018 Strongest Town Contest Championship

Mar 26, 2018 0:40:38


Today we're sharing the audio from the Championship Webcast in our Strongest Town Contest, hosted by Rachel Quednau and Kea Wilson. We're down to the final two communities: Muskegon, MI and Kent, OH. Visit this page to vote for whichever you think is the strongest after listening to the podcast:

Strongest Town Contest Round 3: Annapolis, Maryland

Mar 21, 2018 0:15:36


Welcome to the third round of our annual Strongest Town Competition! 4 towns are facing off right now and 2 will advance to the championship based on your votes. We invite you to listen to the podcast interviews that representatives from each conducted with Strong Towns staff to discuss their economic strength and resilience. Visit this page to vote: 

Rachel Quednau, Communications Director for Strong Towns, hosts this conversation with Mayor Gavin Buckley and Sally Nash, Chief of Comprehensive Planning for Planning and Zoning in Annapolis. They discuss the ways that the city's waterfront is integrated into the life of the community, unique small business and placemaking efforts in historic neighborhoods, how Annapolis is handling the challenges ahead and more. 

Listen to the Muskegon, MI podcast, then vote for the strongest town in this match-up: Voting closes at 12pm CT on Friday, March 23.

Strongest Town Contest Round 3: Kent, Ohio

Mar 21, 2018 0:31:40


Welcome to the third round of our annual Strongest Town Competition! 4 towns are facing off right now and 2 will advance to the championship based on your votes. We invite you to listen to the podcast interviews that representatives from each conducted with Strong Towns staff to discuss their economic strength and resilience. Visit this page to vote:

In this conversation, president of Strong Towns, Chuck Marohn, chats with Kent City Manager Dave Ruller. They discuss unique planning processes in the city, the energy that college towns offer, and how the community approached a recent controversial issue.

Listen to the Pensacola, FL podcast, then vote for the strongest town in this match-up: Voting closes at 12pm CT on Friday, March 23.

Strongest Town Contest Round 3: Muskegon, Michigan

Mar 21, 2018 0:24:42


Welcome to the third round of our annual Strongest Town Competition! 4 towns are facing off right now and 2 will advance to the championship based on your votes. We invite you to listen to the podcast interviews that representatives from each conducted with Strong Towns staff to discuss their economic strength and resilience. Visit this page to vote: 

In this conversation, president of Strong Towns, Chuck Marohn, discusses Muskegon, Michigan with Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President, Cindy Larson. They chat about Muskegon's unique farmer's market, challenging developments in the city's past, the advantages of being a lakefront community, and more. 

Listen to the Annapolis, MD podcast, then vote for the strongest town in this match-up: Voting closes at 12pm CT on Friday, March 23.

Strongest Town Contest Round 3: Pensacola, FL

Mar 20, 2018 0:20:02


Welcome to the third round of our annual Strongest Town Competition! 4 towns are facing off right now and 2 will advance to the championship based on your votes. We invite you to listen to the podcast interviews that representatives from each conducted with Strong Towns staff to discuss their economic strength and resilience. Visit this page to vote:

In this episode, Rachel Quednau, Communications Director of Strong Towns, talks with Christian Wagley of Pensacola, Florida about a unique citizen engagement and education effort, a transformative road diet on the city's Main Street, how the community is prudently utilizing settlement money from the BP oil spill, and more.

Listen to the Kent, OH podcast, then vote for the strongest town in this match-up: Voting closes at 12pm CT on Friday, March 23.

"They're walking away from it and tearing it down."

Mar 16, 2018 0:39:26


In this episode, Chuck Marohn discusses the dynamics of school funding and facilities in his community. While some schools are well cared for and receive regular improvements, a historic neighborhood school has been slated for demolition. One of the reasons? Because the school next door wants an additional parking lot.

Why do our communities make these decisions? How do we fight back while balancing the financial needs of so many other services (and other schools) that our cities have to provide for?

The Week Ahead: Strong Citizens and Safe Streets

Mar 12, 2018 0:23:11


Rachel's guest on this week's episode is Strong Towns Director of Community Engagement, Kea Wilson. She talks about some recent articles she's written on safe streets issues in her city of St. Louis, MO. Kea and Rachel also discuss the current standings in the Strongest Town Contest. Round 2 kicks off tomorrow so don't forget to tune in and vote.

Mentioned in this Episode

When your city hates your traffic calming measures by Kea WilsonWhat if you and your neighbors redesigned your town's worst intersection? by Kea WilsonAnnouncing the Winners of Round 1 in our Strongest Town ContestJoin us on Wednesday at 11am CT to discuss the contest on Slack.The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel WilkersonThe Honestly Adoption Podcast

The Week Ahead: Welcome to the Strongest Town Contest

Mar 6, 2018 0:28:42


Chuck Marohn returns to the Week Ahead podcast to report on recent events in Bismarck, North Dakota; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Thomasville, Georgia. Then he and Rachel dish about the 16 towns selected for the 2018 Strongest Town Contest. See the final bracket, read each town's submission and cast your votes here.


Sioux Falls, SD presentation on March 5Fishers, IN presentation on March 8Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas TalebResurrecting Easter: How the West Lost and the East Kept the Original Easter Vision by John Dominic CrossanGod Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World by Stephen Prothero

The Week Ahead: Becoming an Accidental Urbanist

Feb 26, 2018 0:20:22


This week's guest is Sarah Kobos, a Strong Towns member and contributor who lives in Tulsa, OK. She talks about how she became an "accidental urbanist" and started getting involved with city planning in her community. She also discusses the slow but rewarding process of rehabbing a rental property.


"Is zoning overlay the magic wand you've been looking for?" by Sarah Kobos"You care about the subdivision regulations. You just don't know it (yet)." by Sarah Kobos"Find a place you love that needs you" by Sarah KobosJoin us on February 27 in Thomasville, GAJoin us on March 5 in Sioux Falls, SDThe Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

A Conversation with Walkability Expert, Jeff Speck

Feb 23, 2018 1:05:36


Jeff Speck is a nationally-recognized expert on building walk-friendly, people-oriented places. His book, Walkable City: How Downtown can Save America, One Step at a Time, is beloved by planners, leaders and residents of cities big and small; and his planning firm, Speck & Associates, works in communities across the country.

We recently invited Jeff onto our webcast to chat with Chuck Marohn about how to build slower, safer streets and why this goal is so important if we want to live in prosperous, successful cities. This is the audio from that webcast. To watch the video and see a list of questions, visit this page.

And don't forget to nominate your community for our Strongest Town Contest! Nominations are due by February 26.

The Week Ahead: Gentrification and the Bias Toward Bigness

Feb 20, 2018 0:11:58


Rachel invites Strong Towns member and contributor Daniel Herriges onto the podcast to discuss his ongoing series about gentrification and why this issue has so firmly divided two groups of people who could actually gain a lot from working together. Rachel also shares an important reminder: Nominations for the Strongest Town Contest are due February 25. Apply today!


By Any Other Name: Gentrification or Economic Exclusion by Daniel Herriges (Part 1)Who benefits from neighborhood improvements? by Daniel Herriges (Part 2)Rough Waters: Gentrification and Cataclysmic Money by Daniel Herriges (Part 3)Strongest Town Contest info and applicationJoin us February 20 in West Palm Beach, FL for a public event led by Charles Marohn.

Our streets should be safe for everyone — yes, even those who are under the influence.

Feb 16, 2018 0:55:11


One year ago, a woman in suburban Oregon crossed the street while under the influence of alcohol and was struck by a driver and killed. Her husband's lawyer couldn't find an engineer in his state who was willing to stand up to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and speak out about the dangerously designed street that played a part in this woman's death. So the lawyer called Chuck Marohn, President of Strong Towns, and he recently traveled to Oregon to testify as part of the case again the DOT.

In this episode, Chuck reviews the case and discusses the dangerous design of the road that led to an innocent mother's death.

In the Amazon HQ2 Contest, the Winner Might Actually be the Loser

Feb 9, 2018 0:14:29


Richard Florida, author, editor and Professor at the University of Toronto, is part of a growing chorus of prominent thinkers across the country who are speaking out against the race to the bottom that Amazon's search for a second headquarters has induced. Strong Towns is fully in agreement that cities should compete on their merits and strengths, not on the amount of local tax dollars they're willing to pony up.

So Florida wrote a letter and invited urban leaders, developers and economists to sign onto it — Chuck Marohn included. The letter asks elected officials in the HQ2 finalist cities to sign a mutual non-aggression pact that rejects egregious tax giveaways and direct monetary incentives for Amazon. So far, more than 1,100 people have signed it. You can join them.

In this short conversation wtih Chuck Marohn, Florida discusses the letter and what motivated him to get it going.

The Week Ahead: Kickin' it in Kansas City

Feb 5, 2018 0:20:35


In this episode with featured guest, Chuck Marohn, Chuck discusses his complicated relationship with Kansas City, MO culminating in a recent successful event there. Chuck also introduces the newest member of his family, Gryffindor the puppy! And Rachel introduces the 3rd annual Strongest Town Contest.


STROADing in Kansas City by Chuck MarohnNominate your city for the Strongest Town contest! Applications due February 25.Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward GlaeserThis week's Slackchat on #slowthecarsThe Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan by Rick PerlsteinHildegard of Bingen: The Woman of Her Age by Fiona Maddocks

Our Take on Trump's Leaked Infrastructure Plan

Feb 2, 2018 0:58:02


Chuck Marohn reviews the recently leaked White House infrastructure plan and discusses the ways in which it aligns with Strong Towns principles, as well as the places where it falls short.

Read more about it here and follow our ongoing infrastructure conversation here.

The Week Ahead: A Town Well Planned

Jan 30, 2018 0:14:26


Rachel's guest this week is Strong Towns member and contributor Alexander Dukes, who just concluded an ongoing series on our site called A Town Well Planned. He talks about the inspiration for and response to his series, plus what it's like to be a community planner in the US Air Force.


A Town Well Planned seriesCurbside Chat in Kansas City, MO (January 30)Presentation in St. Cloud, MN (February 2)Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

Design Speed is a Value Statement

Jan 26, 2018 0:07:49


In this short, bonus episode, Chuck reads one of his recent articles about the chasm between the values of the average person and the values of the engineer.

See the text of the article here.

The New Localism

Jan 26, 2018 0:28:57


Across the country, a movement of local doers is taking hold — one where problem solving happens from the bottom up instead of the top down. We're seeing this in everything from the way we educate ourselves to the tools we use to get places. The energy is coming not just from governments but also business leaders, teachers and scientists, and the solutions are interdisciplinary, too. This is what Bruce Katz, Centennial Scholar at the Brookings Institution, argues in new book, co-authored with Jeremy Nowak, The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism.

In this episode, Chuck interviews Bruce Katz about his book, this new localism movement and how it could shape a better future for all Americans.

The Week Ahead: The Difference Between a Street and a Road

Jan 22, 2018 0:20:59


In this episode, Rachel has Chuck Marohn on as her guest to discuss a special Strong Towns focus on the need to build safer, slower streets. They also talk about some upcoming webcasts, with a side of football.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Slow the Cars by Chuck MarohnDesign Speed is a Value Statement by Chuck MarohnGross Negligence Webcast - February 1 at 12pm CTCurbside Chat in Indianapolis - January 25A Webcast Conversation with Jeff Speck - February 15 at 12pm CTAbraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce Feiler

Car-Free and Kid-Friendly in Los Angeles

Jan 18, 2018 0:36:32


If you're from any part of America besides Los Angeles, you've probably dissed the California city at one point or another. It's full of smog, traffic and vain movie stars, right? But that narrative misses out on so much of what L.A. has to offer. Not only is the city an exciting and rewarding place to live for many people, it's also, surprisingly, a great place to raise a family and — believe it or not — a good place to walk and bike.

Alissa Walker is living proof of this. She's the Urbanism Editor for Curbed and a long-time resident of Los Angeles. She's made the city work for her and actually says that walking or biking is often easier than driving in her neighborhood. When she realized this a few years back, she ditched her car and has been enjoying bus rides, bike rides and walks with her family ever since. She's also watched the city around her change as investments in public space, walking, biking and transit grow. Alissa's hopeful that cities like hers will continue to figure out ways to welcome and accommodate families. 

This thoughtful and fun conversation with Alissa Walker will challenge your Los Angeles stereotypes and help you think about what it means to build a family- and woman-friendly city.


Mansplaining the City by Alissa WalkerFind Alissa on Twitter @awalkerinla or on Curbed

The Week Ahead: An Incremental Park Project in Shreveport

Jan 17, 2018 0:15:03


Rachel hosts Strong Towns member and guest writer Tim Wright as her featured guest on this Week Ahead podcast. Tim discusses an incremental park improvement project he's been leading in his town of Shreveport, Louisiana, plus a favorite new book that had surprising relevance with Strong Towns issues. (We encountered a couple sound quality issues in this recording so we apologize for that.)

Mentioned in this podcast:

Inspired Park Project Takes Root in Shreveport by Tim WrightVisit the Local Conversations page to find Strong Towns members taking action in your region.Learn more about the inner-city highway project that residents are fighting against in Shreveport.The Cost of Living by Arundhati RoyFauda (TV show on Netflix)

Investing for a Strong Town

Jan 12, 2018 1:03:42


This week Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn discusses risk, his own approach to investing and what it means for local governments to make investments that minimize risk and maximize potential gains.

Referenced in the podcast: Blowing Up by Malcolm Gladwell

The Week Ahead: Getting our Towns Back on the Wagon

Jan 8, 2018 0:17:59


In this episode, Rachel asks Chuck Marohn why our cities need a 12 step program to get them out of their financial struggles. Rachel and Chuck also discuss some upcoming online opportunities for readers and listeners to engage in the Strong Towns movement.

If you've got an idea for a Strong Towns staff member or contributor that you think would be a good guest for this podcast, email Rachel.


A 12-Step Program for Financially Insolvent Cities by Chuck MarohnThis week's open Slackchat with Chuck will take place at 12pm CT on Wednesday.Join us for a free webcast about the American Infrastructure Crisis, January 16 at 11am CT.Open Source with Christopher Lydon (podcast)The Longest Shortest Time (podcast)

Are bike lanes white lanes?

Jan 4, 2018 0:33:06


In this episode, Kea Wilson interviews Melody Hoffmann, author of Bike Lanes are White Lanes, which examines how the burgeoning popularity of urban bicycling is trailed by systemic issues of racism, classism, and displacement. Melody discusses the many factors that contribute to a person's comfort with biking beyond just the presence of protected bike lanes and why the "build it and they will come" mentality is flawed. She also shares examples of cities that are actively working within diverse communities to create safer transportation options for everyone.

The Week Ahead: Welcome to 2018

Jan 2, 2018 0:19:46


In the inaugural podcast of 2018, Rachel hosts a conversation with Chuck Marohn to discuss fresh content, recent favorite books and exciting announcements to kick off the new year.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

5 Community-Building Values for a Strong Town by Chuck MarohnVisit our new Local Conversations page.Milena - The Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Margaret Buber-NeumannAbraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce FeilerConquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy

The Final Week Ahead Podcast of 2017

Dec 14, 2017 0:42:07


Chuck and Rachel ask for help choosing new intro music for this podcast (vote here!). Then they recap recent events in Florida and share the best podcasts of 2017. Finally, they close with Chuck's favorite books from the year.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Vote for our new podcast music: Best Podcast Episodes from 2017Favorite Books from 2017Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters--and How to Talk About It by Krista Tippett

Two Perspectives on Small Town Southern Life

Dec 8, 2017 0:37:43


Strong Towns members Bo Wright and Haile McCollum wrote dueling essays this year, debating the merits and drawbacks of small town southern life. Bo's October essay "Why I'm Leaving My Small Southern Town," inspired Haile to write her own: "The Case for Small Southern Towns." So we brought them on the podcast to discuss further.

Rachel Quednau hosts this friendly, spirited conversation about what Bo and Haile find valuable about life in the small town south, and what they'd like to see change. They talk about how small towns suit people differently at different phases of their life, and how small towns can be both ideal and challenging places in which to get involved with the life of the community. Finally, they discuss the particular need for the Strong Towns message in small southern towns.

The Week Ahead: Strong Towns in French

Dec 5, 2017 0:23:44


Chuck and Rachel discuss a recent trip to Montreal and the language differences present there. They also share several exciting announcements including new Strong Towns t-shirts, a new Strong Towns book, and the 2017 Annual Report. Plus they share a final update on the membership drive.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Event in Panama City, FloridaStrong Towns 2017 Annual ReportIntroducing our New BookThe Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard RothsteinEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew DesmondDon't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve KrugGet the new Strong Towns t-shirt and Strong Towns book in our Shop!

A Robert Moses Musical

Dec 1, 2017 0:35:46


The infamous "master builder" of New York City, Robert Moses, is the subject of a new rock musical, opening today (November 30) in New York.

In this podcast episode, Kea Wilson interviews Karen Carpenter, director of the musical, Bulldozer: The Ballad of Robert Moses, as well as the musical's writer, Peter Galperin. They discuss why they selected this controversial figure as the subject for their musical and how they went about depicting his vision and story within the show. They also talk about other characters — like Jane Jacobs — who are part of the musical and the actors they selected to fill these roles. Finally, Karen and Peter touch on the positive accomplishments of Robert Moses and how his influence shaped New York for good and for bad.

Bulldozer dramatizes Robert Moses’ evolution from a young idealist fervent with a desire to build the greatest city in the world to a power-insulated enemy of the people, corrupted, lost and alone. Performances run today (November 30) through January 7 at the Theatre at St. Clement's at 423 West 46th Street in the heart of Manhattan's theatre district. Get more information and tickets at

The Week Ahead: A Sneak Peak

Nov 28, 2017 0:27:17


In this podcast episode, Chuck and Rachel review the highlights (lowlights?) from Strong Towns' annual #BlackFridayParking event and share some exciting news...

They also provide an update on the 2017 member drive. We're so close to our goal of 2,000 members. Help us get to #2000Strong by joining today. Become a member of Strong Towns:


Mentioned in this podcast:

Highlights from Black Friday Parking 2017Event in MontrealBehave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert SapolskyThe Frozen Hours: A Novel of the Korean War by Jeff ShaaraThe new Strong Towns Shop

How Parking Minimums Hinder Small-Scale Developers

Nov 21, 2017 0:23:45


This Friday is our annual #BlackFridayParking event — a nationwide action drawing attention to the harmful nature of minimum parking requirements.  Each year on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, people across North America are invited to snap photos of the (hardly full) parking lots in their communities to demonstrate how unnecessary these massive lots are. Participants then upload those photos to social media with the hashtag #blackfridayparking.  Get more info about how to participate here:

In this podcast, Chuck Marohn interviews Monte Anderson, owner of Options Real Estate and founding member of the Incremental Development Alliance, based in the Dallas area. Monte discusses the challenges that parking minimum laws create for developers, and how these requirements especially exclude small-scale developers. He also discusses how to approach parking needs in a more auto-centric region of the country and how to find the right amount of parking that's truly necessary to serve a commercial or residential development. 

The movement is growing and we need you to be part of it.

Nov 17, 2017 0:45:07


Strong Towns staff members Chuck Marohn and Bo Wright check in on the final day of our 2017 Member Drive to talk about their hopes for the future of the Strong Towns movement. They discuss the intentional choices that the Strong Towns organization has made about how we disseminate our message and push for change, and they talk about our vision for reaching more communities to transform the cultural conversation in America.

Chuck and Bo also share some of the organization's plans for 2018, including creating some platforms and opportunities that our members have specifically requested. Take a listen to find out what's in store for next year.

If you've been procrastinating this week, now is the time when we really need you to step up. Take a minute to join this movement as a member of Strong Towns. We're doing big things together and we want you to be part of it! Visit to join today.

Here's the Strong Towns mission in action.

Nov 16, 2017 0:41:40


A year ago, Shreveport, Louisiana was on the brink of building a highway right through the poor inner-city neighborhood of Allendale. As residents came together and rallied against this project in order to protect their homes and their community, Strong Towns became an inspiration and a voice for their efforts. In addition to sharing stories about the people and the community that would be ripped apart as a result of this highway, Strong Towns also focused on the fundamentally flawed economic arguments propping up the project in the first place.

We proved just how financially harmful this highway would actually be, in opposition to local leaders claiming that the project would benefit their city. You can see all our work on Shreveport here. As a result of this national focus on the issue, lawyers from across the country including the Sierra Club's legal team have now stepped in to offer assistance and the fight against the highway is gaining momentum.

In our latest podcast episode, Chuck Marohn chats with John Perkins about how Strong Towns helped shift the conversation in his town of Shreveport, Louisiana in powerful ways.

We want to help other communities like the Allendale neighborhood fight back against harmful projects. We want to help more towns grow strong and resilient for all of their residents. If you care about this mission, join us:

America's economic problems demand a radical solution.

Nov 15, 2017 0:22:17


In this podcast episode, Chuck breaks down Strong Towns' core insight about the American growth model — what's wrong with it and why it's bankrupting our country — then talks about how this movement responds to that problem in a thoughtful, non-partisan manner. There are no simple answers.

Success for our country will not come from the federal government or the corporate sector and trickle down to our communities. Rather, when we focus on the struggles of real people and make small, incremental investments over a period of time to improve them, that's when we'll see broad prosperity in our nation. That's when we'll be building Strong Towns.

Together, we can revolutionize our approach to growth and development. We can make our places stronger than they've ever been. Join the movement that's changing the world. Become a member:

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Tomas Sedlacek — check out our series on his economic theoriesThe Curbside Chat

The Complex Problem We're Trying to Solve

Nov 14, 2017 0:32:45


In this podcast on the second day of the Strong Towns Winter Member Drive, Chuck shares a bit about the history of Strong Towns and the wake up call he had while working as an engineer — building the very roads and big box stores he now recognizes as harmful for our towns and cities.

To build stronger towns, we have to shift the cultural conversation in American. It's a big challenge but with your help, we know we can do it. Join the Strong Towns movement today.

We've still got a ways to go before we get to our goal of 2000 members. Don't procrastinate. Become a member now.

If you believe in our message, we need you to step up.

Nov 13, 2017 0:13:36


On this podcast episode, Chuck Marohn shares an update on the Strong Towns movement and invites listeners and readers to join us as members during this important week. Help us spread the Strong Towns message across the globe. Become a member today. Help us become #2000Strong.

How a First-Time Homeowner and Father is Building a Resilient Life

Nov 2, 2017 0:37:45


In this podcast, Rachel Quednau interviews long-time Strong Towns member Matthias Leyrer about how he has built a financially resilient household. They discuss topics ranging from a major home rehab project to how the birth of a child changes your perspective on what's important (with a few tangents in between). 

This article is part of an ongoing series about building personal and household resilience. Read more from the series here.

The Week Ahead: Strong Towns goes to Washington

Oct 30, 2017 0:30:41


Chuck and Rachel recap recent events in Ashland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Northampton, Massachusetts. They also discuss upcoming events in Dallas, Texas and Monterey, California, plus a Strong Towns staff and board retreat. Finally, they check in about their holiday baking plans.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Event and member meet-up in DallasEvent in MontereyAnd Your Daughters Shall Prophesy: Stories From the Byways of American Women and Religion by Adrian Shirk 

A Disruptive Conversation

Oct 26, 2017 0:56:33


In this episode, Chuck Marohn interviews Keita Demming, host of the Disruptive Conversations podcast. Keita works in the space of applied innovation, helping companies become beautiful organizations, and holds a PhD from the University of Toronto.

In this conversation, Chuck and Keita discuss the concept of disruption and why disruptive conversations are so valuable. They also talk about the difference between simple problems, complicated problems and complex problems — and which we must focus our efforts on in order to build a better world.

You can also catch Chuck on Keita's podcast in an episode from earlier this year.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo FriereDomination and the Arts of Resistance by James ScottSeeing Like a State by James ScottPeak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson

The Week Ahead: Solutions to the Dreaded School Drop-Off Zone

Oct 23, 2017 0:25:48



Chuck and Rachel discuss upcoming events in Virginia, Washington, DC, and Massachusetts. They also discuss Chuck's newest article on the pitfalls of school drop-off zones and chat about the special content they're preparing for next week.

Mentioned in the podcast:

Ashland, VA event (plus member meetup)Washington DC eventNorthampton MA event"Education in Complexity" by Chuck MarohnDig Deep podcast

A Nudge in the Right Direction

Oct 19, 2017 1:07:20


The Strong Towns message has a big impact wherever it is heard, but how do we turn that into action? In this episode, Founder and President of Strong Towns, Chuck Marohn, talks about some of the next steps for the movement.

The Week Ahead: A Round of Applause

Oct 16, 2017 0:26:03


Chuck and Rachel recap recent events in New Haven, CT and New York, NY. They also discuss some recent success stories of Strong Towns members in action.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"An Open Letter to the City of Springfield" by Chuck Marohn"One Million Strong" by Chuck MarohnJoin us for this week's slackchat at 12pm CT on Wednesday"Putting Portland's Urban Highway in its Place" by Rachel Quednau"Placemaking Projects Create a Stronger Iron Range" by Rachel QuednauDebt: The First 5,000 Years by David GraeberWho Gets What ? and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin Roth

Why a simple, frugal life will make you a happier person

Oct 12, 2017 0:42:00


In this podcast episode, Rachel Quednau interviews her colleague Kea Wilson about her journey to financial freedom and personal resilience. Kea talks about how she paid off $25,000 in college debt in less than a year and how a mindset of financial frugality and saving over spending has stayed with her since. By finding joy in low-cost, productive, simple activities and adopting a lifestyle aimed at happiness, not consumption, Kea is charting a path of personal and community resilience. We can all learn something from it.

This episode is part of an ongoing series about personal resilience. Find more articles in the series here.

The Week Ahead: Drowning in Debt

Oct 9, 2017 0:38:40


Chuck and Rachel begin with some exciting news, then discuss upcoming East Coast events and debt in Puerto Rico (and what it means for all of us). Apologies; we had some issues with Chuck's audio on this one. 

Mentioned in this podcast:

Planetizen's List of Top 100 Most Influential UrbanistsNew Haven, CT presentation and meet-upNew York City presentation and meet-up"The Spooky Nature of Debt" by Chuck MarohnDebt: The First 5,000 Years by David GraebeCognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment by Ann SussmanSend Rachel your ideas and comments:

Aligning Profit Motives and Community Needs

Oct 5, 2017 1:09:55


Chuck Marohn interviews Catherine Fitts, Strong Towns member and founder of the Solari Report. Catherine served as managing director and member of the board of directors of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in the first Bush Administration, and was the president of Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. 

In this conversation, Catherine discusses her past leadership roles and how that has influenced her outlook on building investment and wealth—not just for individuals—but for communities as a whole.

Chuck Marohn was also featured on the Solari Report earlier this year, which you can check out here.

The Week Ahead: Rapid Fire Event Recap

Oct 2, 2017 0:36:07


Chuck and Rachel recap a bunch of recent Strong Towns events in Spearfish, SD, Akron, OH, Santa Ana, CA, Pensacola, FL, and Holland, MI. They also discuss Chuck's Monday article, "Rules for the Uncomfortable."

Creating Strong Communities Through Local Food

Sep 28, 2017 0:56:35


A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a webcast for Strong Towns members with Ferguson, MO-based farmer, Molly Rockamann of EarthDance Organic Farm School. This was part of a series we've been doing throughout the last few months about local food. You can find the whole series here. Kea Wilson interviewed Molly about how the farm got started, the challenges and advantages of having a farm in this location, where local food intersects with building Strong Towns and much more. 

We're now releasing the audio of the webcast as today's podcast. If you'd like to watch the whole video, just visit our website.

Even if you're not looking to become a farmer in the near future, there's still a lot to learn from this discussion. The conversation considers how farmers and non-farmers can be good neighbors to one another, how local food can support a strong local economy, and how regular people can take small steps to participate in local food systems, whether or not you're ready to get down in the dirt and grow something. 

Find information about our upcoming webcasts here.

The Week Ahead with Special Guest Kea Wilson

Sep 25, 2017 0:23:01


With Chuck on the road, Rachel brings in her colleague Kea Wilson for a special edition of the Week Ahead podcast. Rachel and Kea discuss articles they've recently written and some upcoming projects. They also announce a slackchat they're hosting on Friday and discuss some favorite books.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"Is your state transportation system broke? Then hit up the Prius drivers!""False Choices in American Transportation"Event in Pensacola, FLEvent in Holland, MI"Four Tips for Better Community Engagement"This Week's Slackchat: Open Resource Sharing with Kea and RachelSign up for SlackThe Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael TwittyWe Eat Our Young by Kea WilsonBecoming Jane Jacobs by Peter Laurence

Local Government Encourages Residents to do Tactical Urbanism

Sep 21, 2017 0:24:00


Chris Brown is the city engineer for Fayetteville, AR and has been involved in spearheading a tactical urbanism program for the city. In this podcast interview, he talks about the life of a city engineer, his community's desire for safer streets, and how that led the city to start this new program. He also talks about the challenges of such an initiative and how to overcome them.

Read more about tactical urbanism in Fayetteville and download a free guide to implementing a tactical urbanism project here.

Help Build Strong Towns in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Sep 18, 2017 0:12:08


Houston has taken center stage as a city deeply impacted by Hurricane Harvey, but small towns in Texas were also devastated by this hurricane and resultant flooding. It's often the smaller towns that struggle the most to properly plan and fund their rebuilding efforts because they lack the amount of staff and varied expertise to handle challenges of this magnitude.

At Strong Towns, we care about the fate of these communities and we want to help them rebuild in a way that doesn't just repair damage from wind and flood but also makes them stronger towns over the long haul.

That's why, together with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU)Local Government Commission, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, we are supporting Collaborative Communities' efforts to deploy Free Assistance Support Teams (FAST) to small communities affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. 

Through the FAST program, municipal governments will receive free assistance to ensure they have the necessary tools and information to adequately prepare for the FEMA Project Worksheet process. The goal is for this model to become a national program that can be applied in future disasters to help towns grow strong for years to come.

Want to learn more about this effort and how you can get involved? In this short podcast conversation with Laura Clemons, who is leading the program, you'll hear about her organization, what they're doing in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and how you can help.

Visit this page to sign up to volunteer for or donate to this effort.

Approaching a Divided America with Open Eyes

Sep 14, 2017 0:52:40


Chuck Marohn interviews Chris Arnade, who writes for the Guardian, has a PhD in particle physics from Johns Hopkins and previously worked as a bond trader in New York City. Arnade has spent the last several years documenting addiction and poverty in towns across America. 

In this interview, he discusses why walking in neighborhoods that he was told not to visit in New York led him away from trading and toward his current role as a writer. He talks about a life getting to know people on the margins of society—people living in poverty and dealing with addiction—and the struggles of small towns in America.

You can find Chris Arnade writing and sharing photos often on Medium.

Cultivate Collaborative

Sep 12, 2017 0:18:04


In this short bonus podcast, Chuck interviews Kevin Shepherd, a Strong Towns sponsor and principal at VERDUNITY about the new group he has formed with others in the planning and development sphere called Cultivate Collaborative which will help to apply Strong Towns concepts on a practical level. Kevin also discusses the group's first event in Frisco, TX on November 4 featuring Chuck Marohn and Monte Anderson.

Learn more about the event and sign up.

The Week Ahead: Sep. 11, 2017

Sep 11, 2017 0:27:54


Chuck and Rachel discuss an upcoming event in Spearfish, SD and Rachel's attendance at the National Walking Summit in St. Paul. They also Chuck's recent article about America's most eligible corporate bachelor, Amazon, and the hot pursuit so many cities are in to get the newest Amazon headquarters.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Spearfish, SD eventAmerican Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin WoodardNational Walking Summit"Who gets to decide how a neighborhood is redeveloped?" by Nate Hood"What can I do to make you love me?" by Chuck Marohn The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left by Yuval Nevin

Bike Share and Equity with Caressa Givens

Sep 7, 2017 0:31:20


Caress Givens is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Milwaukee, Wisconsin's bike share program, Bublr. In this interview hosted by Rachel Quednau, Givens discusses equity issues related to bike share: How can bike share programs best meet the needs of low-income people and reach low-income neighborhoods? Is bike share an indicator of gentrification? Givens also talks about how to fund bike share programs, as well as how to get kids involved with bike share. Plus, Givens shares her list of favorite bike share programs across the nation.

The Week Ahead: September 5, 2017

Sep 5, 2017 0:28:34


Chuck and Rachel discuss recent perspectives about Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath in Houston. They also chat about recent favorite books and films. (We apologize that there were some issues with Rachel's audio in this episode.)

Mentioned in this podcast:

"The Real Lesson of Hurricane Harvey" by Chuck Marohn"Piling on Houston" by Chuck Marohn"Houston isn't flooded because of its land use planning." by Daniel HerrigesThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman13th (Documentary)The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

A Conversation about Market Urbanism

Aug 31, 2017 1:01:50


Chuck Marohn interviews Scott Beyer, urban affairs journalist and owner of Market Urbanism Report, who is currently traveling the country on a three-year trip visiting 30 different American cities. Chuck and Scott discuss their overlapping and diverging viewpoints on government regulations, zoning and housing affordability issues. They also compare issues in large cities with smaller towns and consider whether the same policies can apply in both sorts of places.

The Week Ahead, August 29, 2017

Aug 29, 2017 0:31:47


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's recent event in Tulsa, OK and recent article, "Autism, PTSD and the City." They also announce an upcoming slackchat about incremental development and talk about the flooding in the Texas area.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Event calendarJoin our email list"Autism, PTSD and the City""A World Without Projects"This week's slackchat on incremental development with Chuck Marohn, Thursday, August 31 at 1pm CT. More info.In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik LarsoSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Thoughts on Incremental Development

Aug 24, 2017 1:02:51


Does Strong Towns have a right to point out the problems with our current development pattern if we don't also have a clear solution? In this solo podcast, Chuck Marohn reflects on the state of the Strong Towns movement, its critics and its interactions with other movements like Market Urbanism and Complete Streets.

The Week Ahead, August 21, 2017

Aug 21, 2017 0:37:18


Chuck Marohn shares the highlights from his recent family vacation to Washington DC including visits to the Library of Congress, the US Capitol, and several national monuments. He also discusses an upcoming Strong Towns event in Tulsa, OK and his recent article, "A Spirit of Generosity." Rachel talks about a new favorite podcast, Left, Right & Center.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Event in Tulsa, OK"A Spirit of Generosity" by Charles MarohnLeft, Right & Center

Alfonso Morales on Markets

Aug 17, 2017 0:26:52


In this podcast, Rachel Quednau interviews Alfonso Morales, a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about public markets as part of Strong Towns' ongoing focus on local food.

They compare markets in the United States with markets around the world, discuss current factors impacting the growth of markets and talk about ways to use data to analyze the success of farmers markets, including a new tool Morales helped to create.

Mentioned in this podcast:

MIFI MarketsDane County Farmers MarketMilwaukee Public MarketCities of Farmers by Alfonso Morales and Julie C. Dawson

A Chat with Chuck about Brainerd

Aug 14, 2017 0:37:04


Chuck Marohn is on vacation this week, but before he left, he sat down to record a solo podcast about his new life in downtown Brainerd in response to the frequent question he gets, "How's the new neighborhood?"

We'll be back with our usual Week Ahead podcast next Monday.

The Week Ahead: August 7, 2017

Aug 7, 2017 0:22:07


This week, Chuck and Rachel apologize for their recent absence on the podcast and discuss a recent article about the California Housing Crisis. They also discuss an ongoing Local Food campaign and recent favorite books.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"California Housing Crisis" by Charles MarohnLocal Food campaignHillbilly Elegy by J.D. VanceStrangers in Their Own Land by Arlie HochschildWhite Trash by Nancy Isenberg

Pete Saunders

Jul 27, 2017 0:54:54


Chuck Marohn interviews Pete Saunders, a planner and journalist who writes for ForbesBusiness Insider and other publications, as well as his blog, The Corner Side Yard. Pete grew up in Detroit and now lives in Chicago so this discussion kicks off with a conversation about baseball (especially the Cubs and White Sox) and the relationship of stadiums and teams to their surrounding neighborhoods. Chuck and Pete also discuss two fascinating American cities where Pete has spent time: Detroit and Las Vegas. Finally, they contemplate the shift of African American populations toward the suburbs and out of the cities, and what that could mean for this demographic.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Can the Chicago White Sox Help Turn Around the South Side?Las Vegas Lessons Part I and Part IIOn the Outside, Looking In

You can read more from Pete on his blog or connect with him on Twitter.

A Renaissance Zone in Bismarck

Jul 20, 2017 0:45:14


Chuck Marohn interviews Kate Herzog, one of the first members of Strong Towns and Marketing & Assistant Director of Downtown Bismarck in Bismarck, ND. Chuck and Kate discuss the economic and political challenges in the Bismarck area and what Downtown Bismarck is doing about it. They also discuss a "renaissance zone" in Bismarck and the benefits and drawbacks of that program, as well as comparisons with tax increment financing (TIF) programs.

The Week Ahead: July 17, 2017

Jul 17, 2017 0:22:20


Chuck and Rachel discuss the fate of America, in light of Chuck's article from today, "Where is our republic headed?" and whether all of our work is in vain or whether there's reason for hope. They also chat about a recent episode of Strong Talk.

Mentioned in this episode:

"Where is our republic headed?"Strong Talk: Planning for Tourists vs. ResidentsAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Revolutions podcast

Don Kostelec

Jul 13, 2017 0:42:01


Chuck Marohn interviews Don Kostelec, a Strong Towns member and Senior Planning Associate at Alta Planning + Design based in Boise, ID. He's also the creator of this awesome video series.

Chuck and Don discuss a deadly street in Springfield, MA. (Read Chuck's open letter to the city of Springfield and the follow-up article for more back story.) They also chat about the challenges of the engineering and planning professions in general, and the nuance necessary in examining car crash data.

The Week Ahead, July 10, 2017

Jul 10, 2017 0:35:04


Rachel and Chuck offer an update on their summer adventures, especially their Fourth of July experiences in their respective cities. They also talk about a recent controversial discussion on the Strong Towns Facebook page about suburban retrofit, plus some favorite new podcasts they've been listening to.


This week's Slackchat on incremental developmentStrong Towns Facebook discussion about suburban retrofitStrong Towns' writing and podcasting on Suburban PovertyStrong Towns' writing and podcasting on Big Box StoresStrong Towns' work on the topic of suburban retrofitHardcore History podcastHarry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast

The Week Ahead, July 3, 2017

Jul 3, 2017 0:30:38


Chuck and Rachel check in after a couple weeks away (Rachel was traveling for her wedding and honeymoon). Chuck offers an update on recent events in Atlanta, GA, Calgary, AB and Utica, NY, including one at which he was made an honorary citizen and given a cowboy hat. Chuck and Rachel also talk about the best books they've recently read.

Mentioned in this podcast:

The Happiness Hypothesis: Minding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan HaidtAnimal Farm by George OrwellGive a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

What's next for Strong Towns

Jun 23, 2017 0:20:05


This is the last day of our member drive and we're taking a look at what comes next for Strong Towns.

Sign up to be a member at

Strong Towns Member Paul Fritz

Jun 21, 2017 0:20:29


Strong Towns member Paul Fritz of Sebastabol, CA, talks about the ways Strong Towns thinking has influenced him and his community.

Sign up to be a member during our member drive. Go to


Building a movement for change

Jun 19, 2017 0:23:41


When you become a member of Strong Towns, you are supporting a change in the conversation. You are giving us the resources that we need to get this powerful message in front of more and more people. It’s working. All we need today is your support.

Podcast: Tony Dutzik on the Auto Bubble

Jun 15, 2017 0:40:28


In this podcast, Chuck Marohn interviews Tony Dutzik, Senior Policy Analyst for Frontier Group and Strong Towns member about his recent article, "What Comes After the Auto Bubble?" Chuck and Tony discuss the relationship between easy access to lending and car ownership increases, and its overlaps with the housing bubble and crash. They also discuss the impact of car-reliance on poor families and our economy as a whole.

The Week Ahead: June 12, 2017

Jun 12, 2017 0:28:14


Chuck and Rachel discuss several recent events in Traverse City and Chicago, as well as upcoming events in Brainerd, MN, Atlanta, GA and Calgary, AB. They also discuss Chuck's new series on incremental growth, which kicked off today on our website.

Mentioned in this podcast:

2017 Strongest Town ContestStrong Towns Strength Test #1: How's your main street doing?Info about upcoming Q&A webcastsBrainerd History Week eventFEEcon in Atlanta, plus info about an Atlanta member meetupConference in Calgary, AB"The power of growing incrementally" by Chuck MarohnSpiders on Drugs videoPortland Housing series

Solidarity Hall

Jun 8, 2017 1:06:19


Chuck Marohn interviews Grace Potts of Ypsilanti, MI and Elias Crim of Valparaiso, IN, writers and editors for Solidarity Hall, a group blog, "a hospitable old hostelry, a mental oasis in the deserted landscapes that surround us." Solidarity Hall reflects on great thinkers like Jane Jacobs, Wendell Berry, and Dorothy Day to discuss issues of community, religion and social progress.

In this interview, Grace and Elias discuss the concept of communitarianism and cooperatives, as well as the problem with centralized systems and our partisan political structure. In this wide-reaching dialogue, Grace, Elias and Chuck contemplate how to build truly resilient communities where power rests in the hands of neighbors, and where economic prosperity is not the realm of the few, but shared by all.

The Week Ahead: June 5, 2017

Jun 5, 2017 0:28:27


Rachel and Chuck discuss a recent webcast, upcoming events in Michigan and Illinois (including a member meetup with Strong Towns staff), and why our approaches to health care and infrastructure spending are remarkably similar and similarly messed up.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Strong Talk: A Dangerous Street That Can't be Ignored (Video)An Open Letter to the City of Springfield by Chuck MarohnCurbside Chat in Traverse City, MI (June 7)Keynote presentation in Chicago, IL (June 9) and you're also invited to a Strong Towns member meetup on June 8 (more info here)"This is why infrastructure is so expensive" by Chuck MarohnMore on Infrastructure from Strong TownsHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Emily Hamilton

Jun 1, 2017 0:51:51


Chuck Marohn interviews Emily Hamilton about a recent article she published at the Foundation for Economic Education website entitled, "The Hidden War on Affordable Housing." Emily is a Research Associate at George Mason University's Mercatus Center and she holds a Masters in economics from GMU as well. In this conversation, Chuck and Emily discuss the present lack of single-room occupancy and small-scale housing that used to be so prevalent in the United States and how we might resurrect these forms of affordable housing. They also discuss broader issues of housing affordability across the US and how to adjust government policies to allow for the creation of more affordable housing options.

Emily and Chuck are both speaking at the upcoming FEEcon, "2017's premier gathering of freedom lovers from all walks of life" hosted by the Foundation for Economic Education in Atlanta, GA, June 15-17. Get more information here.

Right now, FEEcon is offering a special discount to Strong Towns members, readers and listeners. Use the code "MU40off" to get  40% off the ticket price.

The Week Ahead: May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017 0:33:46


In this weekly podcast with Chuck Marohn and Rachel Quednau, Chuck relates his misadventures in Oklahoma, and how some Strong Towns members and event hosts stepped up to help remedy the situation. Chuck also discusses his "Open Letter to the City of Springfield" about a dangerous street that the city recognizes but refuses to redesign for safer crossings.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

"An Open Letter to the City of Springfield"Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Vince Graham

May 25, 2017 0:55:27


Chuck Marohn interviews Vince Graham, the former chair of the South Carolina Infrastructure Bank and current president of I'On Group. In this conversation, they discuss Graham's real estate development work and the uphill battle his company has faced in trying to do new urbanist development in a place where suburban-style development is the norm. Graham also talks about his time at the South Carolina Infrastructure Bank—a funding unique model for infrastructure investments—and offers a critical assessment of the organization.

The Week Ahead, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017 0:36:55


Chuck and Rachel debrief on a recent trip to Asheville, NC with the team at Urban3, as well as an event in Ottawa County, MI. They also discuss an upcoming trip to McAlester, OK and recent content on the Strong Towns website. 

Mentioned in this podcast:

Upcoming event in McAlester, OK"Plan Everything but how to Pay for it all" by Chuck MarohnCatastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It by David GoldhillShattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie ParnesPublic Art Week"When the Need to Develop Trumps Public Art" by Jason Schaefer

An All-Night Citywide Art Festival

May 18, 2017 0:31:52


Northern Spark is a free all-night art festival that has taken place in Minneapolis and St. Paul for the past several years. It's a one-night event but since 2011, it has more than included 535 artist projects in 120 venues, and attracted 222,000 attendees. 

In this interview, Rachel Quednau chats with Sarah Peters, the Associate Director of the Northern Spark Festival, to find out how the event got started, how it has engaged the Twin Cities community, and how other cities can replicate this amazing program.

The 2017 Northern Spark takes place 8:59pm, June 10 until 5:26am on June 11 along the Green Line light rail route in the Twin Cities. Find more info here.

See photos of the event on Flickr.

Pasqualina Azzarello

May 16, 2017 0:40:48


Pasqualina Azzarello is a painter, public muralist, educator, and community advocate. She currently serves as City Arts Coordinator at Easthampton City Arts+ in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and she is also part-time faculty at Parsons The New School in New York City. (Plus, she's the sister of Strong Towns' Growth Manager, Max Azzarello.)

In this interview with Rachel Quednau, Pasqualina discusses the experience of creating murals at New York City construction sites, on sound barrier walls in Tucson, AZ and every where in between, as well as the importance of involving the community in public art decisionmaking. She also talks about her new position as City Arts Coordinator in Easthampton, MA and what it's like to lead her town's public art initiatives as a government employee.

You can read more about Pasqualina's initial New York City construction murals in the New York Times and read more about New York construction murals over the last decade in the New Yorker.

Visit Pasqualina Azzarello's website to see more of her work.

Richard Florida and the New Urban Crisis

May 11, 2017 0:54:32


Richard Florida is a University Professor and Director of Cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, he's a writer and journalist, and he serves as senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as Editor-at-Large for CityLab. He's also the author of a new book, The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class-and What We Can Do About It.

In this interview with Chuck Marohn, Florida discusses the backlash to one of his most famous books, The Rise of the Creative Class, and the growth in inequality and economic segregation in American cities, which he cites as a much bigger problem than gentrification. Florida also shares his reaction to the presidential election and his thoughts about the future of the suburbs.

The Week Ahead (May 8, 2017)

May 8, 2017 0:26:15


Chuck and Rachel discuss upcoming events in Brainerd, MN and Asheville, NC, and recap the recent CNU25 in Seattle.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Event in Brainerd, MNEvent in Asheville, NCThe True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire by Stephen Kinzer"Poverty, Partisanship and the Land Tax" (3 videos)This week's open slackchat with Chuck will be at 1pm CT on Wednesday (May 10). More info here.

Human Transit

May 4, 2017 0:34:30


Jarrett Walker is a transit planning consultant and the author of a book, Human Transit: How clearer thinking about public transit can enrich our communities and our lives. He also writes a blog called Human Transit. In this conversation with Chuck Marohn, Walker considers, "What is the problem for which transit is the solution?" and "What does it mean for transit to work well?"

Mentioned in this podcast:

Human Transit: How clearer thinking about public transit can enrich our communities and our lives by Jarrett WalkerThe Human Transit Blog"The Transit Ridership Recipe" by Jarrett Walker

The Week Ahead: May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017 0:30:20


Chuck and Rachel discuss upcoming Strong Towns events as part of the 25th Congress for the New Urbanism in Seattle this week. They also chat about historic preservation, red light cameras and Richard Florida.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"Is nothing sacred?" by Chuck MarohnCNU25 event info. RSVP for Beers with Engineers here. Apply to be a debater here.FEEcon event in Atlanta, GA. Use the code "MU40off" to get 40% off the ticket price."An Embarrassing Mess" by Chuck MarohnLucas Davenport series by John SandfordJesus and the Gospels, from the Great CoursesThe Great British Baking ShowThe New Urban Crisis by Richard Florida

Debating the Merits of Amazon

Apr 26, 2017 1:12:47


This week, Kea Wilson and Chuck Marohn began a conversation about the merits and pitfalls of Amazon with dueling articles (read Chuck's piece here and Kea's piece here). Today, we're sharing a podcast conversation in which these two Strong Towns staff members explain their differing perspectives on Amazon's place within a Strong Town. Is Amazon helpful or harmful to authors? Does Amazon support or discourage small businesses? Most importantly, does Amazon help towns become stronger or less strong?

The Week Ahead: April 24, 2017

Apr 24, 2017 0:29:05


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's packed event schedule including events in Eau Claire, WI and Omaha, NE last week, and one in Wabash, IN this week. They also talk about a legal case against dangerous road design.

Mentioned in this podcast: 

Event in Wabash, IN"L.A. agrees to pay $9.5 million in wrongful death case" from the Los Angeles TimesAfter the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split by Lesley HazletonThe Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg and John Dominic CrossanThank you for your Service by David FinkelTwo perspectives on Amazon: "Why Urbanists Need to Talk about Amazon" by Kea Wilson and "Okay, let's talk about Amazon then" by Chuck Marohn. Join us this Friday at 11:30am CT for a Slackchat on this topic. (Sign up for Slack here.)

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

Apr 20, 2017 0:27:23


Rachel Quednau interviews Matt Tyrnauer and Robert Hammond, directors of a new movie called Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, which is coming out this week (April 21) in select theaters and on demand. In this conversation, they discuss the power of Jacobs' message, her role as a non-professional female urban activist, and their goals for the film.

The Week Ahead, April 17, 2017

Apr 17, 2017 0:36:51


Chuck and Rachel discuss several recent and upcoming events, as well as Chuck's recent article, "Cargo Cult Planning."

Mentioned in this podcast:

Eau Claire, WI event, April 20Omaha, NE event, April 21"Cargo Cult Planning" by Chuck MarohnShreveport campaign"Towards a Liberal Approach to Urban Form" by Nolan GrayFEEcon in Atlanta, GA"Is nothing sacred?" by Chuck MarohnPodcast: The Big Short (featuring Joe Minicozzi)ASCE Infrastructure Report CardPortland housing series, October 2016

Support the Strong Towns Podcast by becoming a member today

Jane Jacobs in the Woo

Apr 14, 2017 0:40:10


Joyce Mandell is a mom, community organizer, sociologist, community development specialist, and urban studies professor who has lived in Worcester, Massachusetts for over twenty years. She blogs at Jane Jacobs in the Woo where she looks at her city through the eyes of the famous urban activist. Chuck Marohn interviews Joyce to discuss the energy and community growth happening in Worcester, the fight against the impending destruction of a historic church in Worcester, and how her daily morning walk helps connect her with her neighborhood.

Check out Joyce's blog and read her entry in last year's Strongest Infrastructure Project contest.

The Week Ahead - April 10, 2017

Apr 10, 2017 0:32:05


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's travel woes amidst the Delta airlines disaster last week. (Spoiler: He did eventually make it home.) Chuck turns it into a broader lesson about fragility and efficiency

Mentioned in this podcast:

"Lessons from the Delta Implosion" by Chuck Marohn"How Fire Chiefs and Traffic Engineers Make Places Less Safe" by Steve MouzonEvents in Mount Pleasant, MI this ThursdayThe Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg and John Dominic CrossanThank you for your Service by David FinkelHardcore History w/Dan Carlin - World War I episodes"To stop a road widening project, be persistent" by Rachel QuednauTwo Former Mayors - 1 Republican and 1 Democrat - Find Common Ground in Conversation - from the podcast

Two Former Mayors - 1 Republican and 1 Democrat - Find Common Ground in Conversation

Apr 6, 2017 0:55:36


In this podcast interview, recorded live at the Strong Towns Summit last week, Chuck Marohn speaks with Joey Durel—a Republican former mayor of Lafayette, LA—and Michael McGinn—a Democrat former mayor of Seattle, WA. They discuss what led them to run for office, the transportation issues they handled as mayors, and what lessons they learned during their time in leadership.

The Week Ahead, April 3, 2017

Apr 3, 2017 0:25:29


Chuck and Rachel debrief about the Strong Towns Summit and share the highlights of the event, including a smart, #DotheMath-related presentation by government staff from Fate, TX. Chuck and Rachel also discuss an upcoming event in Austin, TX (with a bonus public meet-up) and some recent favorite books.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"A Fateful Summit" (reflections on Fate, TX's presentation at the Summit)April 6 event in Austin, TXWatch videos from the Strong Towns SummitThe Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History by Paul Andrew HuttonMoral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene

The Week Ahead, March 27, 2017

Mar 27, 2017 0:29:46


Chuck and Rachel discuss the Strong Towns Summit, which begins on Thursday (and a few tickets remain for purchase!), plus they announce the winner of the #StrongestTown Contest. Chuck also discusses a documentary film he's being featured in.

Mentioned in this episode:

Strong Towns SummitSummit transportation document: "A Transportation Revolution"Strongest Town ContestThe Mandibles by Lionel ShriverThe Road by Cormac McCarthy"Almost half of Americans have dogs. Do they also need cars?" by Gracen Johnson

The #StrongestTown Championship Showdown - 2017

Mar 23, 2017 0:40:34


Today we’re sharing the audio from a webcast we recorded earlier this week with representatives from the two final towns competing in our StrongestTown Contest—Traverse City, Michigan and Guelph, Ontario. You can view the webcast here if you prefer: Make sure to vote for the Strongest Town in this final match-up by 5pm CT on Friday, March 24. 

Cast your vote here:

The Week Ahead, March 20, 2017

Mar 20, 2017 0:21:29


Kea Wilson (Strong Towns' Director of Community Engagement) fills in for Chuck Marohn on this weekly podcast hosted by Rachel Quednau. They discuss Kea's recent writing and an upcoming article she's working on about time banking in St. Louis, MO. They also provide some behind the scenes info about the impending Strong Towns Summit in Tulsa, OK and an update on the Strongest Town Contest.

Mentioned in this podcast:

The Cowry Collective in St. Louis, MONebraska Bike Walk Summit and Meet Up where Chuck Marohn is speaking later this weekStrong Towns Summit in Tulsa, OK. Read about workshops here.Vital Little Plans by Jane JacobsDark Age Ahead by Jane JacobsThe Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold PollackStrongest Town Contest

Guelph, Ontario, Canada (#StrongestTown Contest)

Mar 13, 2017 0:15:27


Welcome to our third round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to this interview that Rachel Quednau, Communications Director for Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest, then make sure to listen to their competitors' podcast (Lafayette, LA). Once you've finished listening to the episodes, please visit to vote for the strongest.

Mayor Cam Guthrie and resident Mike Watt share about their town's fantastic location and famous festivals, as well as how they're handling the challenge of new growth.

See photos of Guelph here and read the town's initial entry here.

Lafayette, LA (#StrongestTown Contest)

Mar 13, 2017 0:13:07


Welcome to our third round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to this interview that Rachel Quednau, Communications Director for Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest, then make sure to listen to their competitors' podcast (Guelph, ON, Canada). Once you've finished listening to the episodes, please visit to vote for the strongest.

Carlee Alm-LaBar, Director of Planning, Zoning, and Development for the Lafayette Consolidated Government, discusses her town's unique culture, their strong connection with the local university and their take on planning for their financial future.

See photos of Lafayette here and read the town's initial entry here.

Valparaiso, IN (#StrongestTown Contest)

Mar 13, 2017 0:20:16


Welcome to our third round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to this interview that Rachel Quednau, Communications Director for Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest, then make sure to listen to their competitors' podcast (Traverse City, MI). Once you've finished listening to the episodes, please visit to vote for the strongest.  

In this episode, Mayor Jon Costas of Valparaiso, IN discusses his town's collaborative nature, its thriving downtown and the impact of its local university.

See photos of Valparaiso here and read the town's initial entry here.



Traverse City, MI (#StrongestTown Contest)

Mar 13, 2017 0:14:22


Welcome to our third round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to this interview that Rachel Quednau, Communications Director for Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest, then make sure to listen to their competitors' podcast (Valparaiso, IN). Once you've finished listening to the episodes, please visit to vote for the strongest.

In this episode, Rick Brown and Russ Soyring of Traverse City, MI explain why their town's natural beauty, walkable neighborhoods and creative housing solutions make it a strong community. See photos of Traverse City here and read the town's initial entry here.

How to do the Infrastructure Surge Right

Mar 9, 2017 0:38:27


In a solo podcast, Chuck Marohn continues an ongoing conversation about infrastructure spending. (Listen to the first episode in this conversation, "Is there a crisis?".) Chuck discusses his letter to President Trump and the need to create a new infrastructure funding system, not keep dumping more money into the existing system. The key is giving local leaders the power to choose how that money is spent.

The Week Ahead, March 7, 2017

Mar 7, 2017 0:29:53


In their weekly update podcast, Chuck and Rachel discuss the final article in Chuck's series about the economic impacts of the Shreveport highway project. They also dish about the current standings in the Strongest Town Contest and reveal how their brackets have fared.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"The Economics of the I-49 Connector, Part 3" by Chuck MarohnDreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam QuinonesStrongest Town Contest

The Week Ahead, February 27, 2017

Feb 27, 2017 0:18:36


Rachel and Chuck discuss last week's campaign against an inner-city highway in Shreveport, plus the beginning of the 2017 #StrongestTown Contest.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Shreveport content from last weekThe Economics of the I-49 Connector: Part I and Part IIStrong Talk - a video conversation with two Shreveport residentsStrongest Town Contest (see the entries and vote here)Download a Strongest Town bracket The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Lego Batman Movie

The Week Ahead: A Highway Through Shreveport

Feb 20, 2017 0:27:19


Chuck and Rachel discuss a proposed inner city highway project in Shreveport, LA—which is the focus of Strong Towns' work this week.

Mentioned in this article:

Follow our Shreveport content this weekA summary of the Shreveport highway issue by Jennifer Hill"Standing for a Strong Shreveport" by Chuck MarohnEconomic impact report on the I-49 inner city connectorJoin our Slackchat on Thursday at 11am to discuss the Shreveport highway issue furtherLast week's episode of Strong Talk (with a chance to sign up to be on the show)

Podcast: The Death Race

Feb 16, 2017 0:44:56


Steve Shultis is a long-time member of Strong Towns, a blogger at, a resident of inner-city Springfield, MA, and a frequent guest on the Strong Towns podcast. He and Chuck talk about traffic deaths and his interactive graphic Death Race 2016 which compares criminal homicides with traffic deaths. He also discusses media coverage about homicides vs. traffic deaths.

Read Steve's past articles on Strong Towns.

Listen to Steve's previous podcast interviews on urban schooling from 2015 and 2016.

The Week Ahead, February 13, 2017

Feb 13, 2017 0:32:01


Rachel and Chuck discuss the 2016 Strong Towns Annual Report. They also invite submissions for the Strongest Town Contest (deadline is Friday, Feb. 17).

Mentioned in this podcast:

2016 Strong Towns Annual ReportStrongest Town ContestPre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert CialdiniThe Content Trap by Bharat Anand 

Joe Bray-Ali

Feb 9, 2017 0:50:04


Josef Bray-Ali is a Los Angeles resident, bike shop owner, long-time Strong Towns member and current candidate for city council. In this interview with Chuck Marohn, he discusses his experience as a small business owner and a community organizer for safe streets. He also talks about what motivated him to run for city council and the ways he's implemented Strong Towns ideas in his city.

Joe Bray-Ali's writing and videos on our site:

"A Strong Citizen in Los Angeles""Making my City More Bike-Friendly for $0""Why One Strong Towns Member Chose to Run for City Council"

The Week Ahead, February 7, 2017

Feb 7, 2017 0:34:02


Chuck and Rachel discuss the recent Strong Towns Staff & Board Meeting in Chicago, which included lots of planning and assessment, plus some authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. They also discuss Jonathan Haidt's work on moral foundations and a technique to clean up a toxic Facebook feed.


"Our Contentious Culture"Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999 movie)We Eat Our Own by Kea WilsonThis week's slackchat is hosted by Kea Wilson and it'll be at 1pm CT on Thursday.

Infrastructure Crisis, Part 1

Jan 26, 2017 0:48:06

The Week Ahead, January 24, 2017

Jan 24, 2017 0:28:55


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's letter to President Trump and ways to encourage investment in small-scale infrastructure projects instead of big ones. They also talk about recent books they've enjoyed and the growth of the Strong Towns movement.

Mentioned in this episode:

"A Letter to POTUS on Infrastructure" and an upcoming Slackchat to discuss that letter#InfrastructureCrisis stories on our site"New Milwaukee Housing Program Takes the Easy Route""Strong Talk: How do we create more housing options?" recorded live January 20The Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadThe Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion by Jonathan HaidtThinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Week Ahead, January 17, 2017

Jan 17, 2017 0:30:13


Chuck and Rachel chat about recent articles which have garnered a ton of attention on the internet over the past week. They also discuss the non-partisan nature of Strong Towns, particularly in light of new readers coming to the site in the last week (as evidenced by the quote above). Finally, they announce that public tickets are now available for the Strong Towns Summit. Get yours before they're gone.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"The Real Reason Your City has no Money""Poor Neighborhoods Make the Best Investments""Is Strong Towns my Tribe?""Reinventing Poor Cities at Scale"Sign up to participate in Strong Talk or submit your topic ideas.Strong Towns Summit info and ticketsIn case you're eager for more podcasts, here's Chuck Marohn interviewed on 3 different podcasts.

The Week Ahead, January 9, 2017

Jan 9, 2017 0:32:07


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's recent writing on federal infrastructure spending and today's article, "A Utah Republican Might Have the Best Urban Transportation Plan." They also discuss books they're reading (Rachel finally got around to starting Hillbilly Elegy) and political language in the context of Strong Towns.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. VanceThe Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by James RickertsThe Content Trap: A Strategist's Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Andand

James Howard Kunstler and The Harrows of Spring

Jan 5, 2017 0:55:55


Author James Howard Kunstler chats with Chuck Marohn about the newest book in his World Made by Hand series, The Harrows of Spring.

You can also listen to James Kunstler in previous Strong Towns podcasts including from February, 2014September 2014 and November 2015.


The Week Ahead, January 3, 2017

Jan 3, 2017 0:25:47


Chuck and Rachel discuss their holidays, favorite books they read over the break, and infrastructure spending in America. They also share an exciting announcement at the end of the podcast.

Mentioned in this podcast:

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by James RickertsThe Content Trap: A Strategist's Guide to Digital Change by Bharat AndandThe Road Taken: The History and Future of America's Infrastructure by Henry PetroskiWhen Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi"Five Ways Federal Infrastructure Spending Makes Cities Poorer" by Chuck Marohn

The Post-Election Therapy Podcast

Dec 15, 2016 1:00:26


Seth Zeren is a founding member of Strong Towns, a new father and a real estate developer based in Providence, RI. In this podcast conversation, Seth and Chuck talk about the results of the election and its impact on the national dialogue. 

This is our last podcast of 2016. Thank you to all our listeners. Have a wonderful holiday and we'll see you in the new year!

The Week Ahead, December 13, 2016

Dec 13, 2016 0:40:55


In the final Week Ahead podcast of 2016, Chuck and Rachel discuss their recent trip to Chicago and a spirited panel discussion Chuck participated in. They also talk about Chuck's Monday article and the Best of 2016 articles being published throughout the week. Finally, they chat about the upcoming Strong Towns Summit and Chuck's cookie baking adventures.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"Our Shared Journey" by Chuck MarohnBest of 2016 articlesStrong Towns National Summit

Heyden Walker on Building Accountability into Federal Transportation Spending

Dec 8, 2016 0:21:29


Heyden Black Walker is a Strong Towns "super member" in Austin, TX. She's an urban planner and advocate and serves on the board of the CNU-Central Texas Chapter and on the City of Austin Pedestrian Advisory Council. Today, Chuck Marohn and Heyden Walker discuss the highway I-35 project in Austin, which Heyden wrote about on Strong Towns earlier this year. They talk about the implications of a surge in federal infrastructure spending and the local impacts of federal spending in places like Austin.

This interview is part of our ongoing conversation on federal infrastructure spending.

Want to hear more from Heyden Walker? Listen to her previous Strong Towns podcast interview from CNU23.

The Week Ahead, December 5, 2016

Dec 5, 2016 0:26:16


Chuck and Rachel discuss a recent event in Washington state, which inspired today's article: "The Ideology of Traffic." They also chat about an upcoming meeting in Chicago and Best of 2016 content. 


"The Ideology of Traffic"Best of Strong TownsGlobal Grid's Top 20 Urban Planning Websites of 2016Webcast: Creating a Strong Towns Comp PlanStrong Towns article archive

A Design Thinking Approach to Infrastructure

Dec 1, 2016 0:25:35


Thomas Fisher is a Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota, and serves as Director of the Metropolitan Design Center. He's a graduate of Cornell University in architecture and the author of several books including Designing to Avoid Disaster and Designing our Way to a Better World. In this conversation with Chuck Marohn, Professor Fisher discusses a design-thinking approach of bottom-up vs. top-down decisionmaking, and the danger of building the wrong types of infrastructure for the future of America.

This interview is part of our ongoing conversation on federal infrastructure spending.

How Parking Minimums Limit Housing Options

Nov 22, 2016 0:28:33


Kyle Smith is an independent urban planning consultant in transportation, land use, and housing. He recently served as Executive Director of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce in Chicago and also worked for the Center of Neighborhood Technology where he wrote a report called “Stalled Out: How Empty Parking Spaces Diminish Neighborhood Affordability.” 

Rachel Quednau interviews Kyle for the Strong Towns podcast to discuss the results of this report as well as better parking strategies that will serve towns, developers and residents, instead of holding them back.

The Week Ahead, November 21, 2016

Nov 21, 2016 0:20:18


Chuck and Rachel discuss last week's member drive and an event in St. Mary's, PA, plus this week's Black Friday Parking event.


Strong Towns member testimonials#BlackFridayParking

The End of the 2016 Member Drive

Nov 18, 2016 0:39:17


Chuck, while driving through a Minnesota blizzard, shares some reflections on small town America, the tension between urban and rural areas and the Strong Towns movement.

Become a member of Strong Towns at

Chuck Answers Your Questions

Nov 16, 2016 1:12:26


As part of our membership drive, Chuck Marohn invited Strong Towns members to submit their questions—any question—and today, on a late-night, Mountain Dew-fueled podcast, he's answering them.

Become a member of Strong Towns today.

To see a list of the questions answered in this podcast, visit this page:

Checking in with the younger crowd

Nov 15, 2016 0:32:17


On Day 2 of our member drive, Chuck sits down with the two youngest Strong Towns advocates.

The Week Ahead (Member Drive Edition)

Nov 14, 2016 0:35:07


This episode kicks off a week of Member Drive-related podcasts. Today, Chuck and Rachel talk about the importance of the Strong Towns movement, especially in light of the recent presidential election. They also chat about what their most proud of from Strong Towns this year, and what they are most looking forward to in 2017. This episode spells out exactly why Strong Towns needs new members and what their contributions will be used for. 


Mentioned in this episode:

"It's Time for Strong Towns"Slackchat w/Chuck & Rachel on TuesdayElection 2016 (Podcast Reflections)

Election 2016

Nov 10, 2016 0:59:45


After some travel and contemplation, Chuck Marohn offers some thoughts on the presidential election, Strong Towns and the future of America.

Book Interview: Gracen Johnson

Nov 8, 2016 0:20:03


In this special edition of the Strong Towns podcast, we bring you a short interview with Gracen Johnson, a Strong Towns contributor and member who wrote an essay for our new book, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II.

Rachel Quednau interviews Gracen Johnson about making the hard decision to move to a new town, plus her recent wedding, her work with the Incremental Development Alliance and her philosophy that "love will save this place."

Get your copy of our new book today. 

Mentioned in this podcast:

Incremental Development Alliance"New Life for an Old School"

Russ Roberts of EconTalk

Nov 3, 2016 0:33:37


Russ Roberts is a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the host of the podcast, EconTalk. He's also starred in two rap videos about John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, and is the author of several books, including most recently, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. 

In this interview, Chuck Marohn and Russ Roberts discuss the political appeal of infrastructure spending vs. the economics perspective. They also talk about how to ensure a good return on investment and how to focus on smaller-scale projects.

This interview is part of our ongoing conversation on federal infrastructure spending.

The Week Ahead - Halloween Edition

Oct 31, 2016 0:39:45


Chuck and Rachel discuss recent events in Madison and Texas, including a surprise meeting with the Mayor of Austin. They also welcome new members, chat about housing affordability in Portland, and invite listeners to participate in a Halloween Walking Tour.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Strong Towns' pitch deck (where the image on the right came from)"Spiking a Rising Tide" (Portland housing affordability article)"Halloween with Strong Towns"

A People-Centered Transportation System

Oct 27, 2016 0:21:34


Chuck Marohn interviews Kate Kraft, the Executive Director of America Walks to talk about infrastructure spending and creating more walkable places across America. She advocates for a balanced, people-centered transportation system and discusses different ways to achieve that.

This interview is part of our ongoing conversation on federal infrastructure spending.

The Week Ahead, October 24, 2016

Oct 24, 2016 0:40:56


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's busy travel schedule from last week (Thunder Bay and Bellingham), and this week's Texas tour to San MarcosAustinArlington and Fort Worth (plus Rachel's speaking engagement in Madison). They also talk about Chuck's dental woes, new Strong Towns members, and housing affordability and transit issues.


"Distorting Housing Prices" by Chuck MarohnSpam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door by Brian KrebbsThe Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadStrangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right  by Arlie Russell HochschildBlack Jeopardy with Tom Hanks

Choosing Active Towns

Oct 20, 2016 1:04:44


As part of Bike Week at Strong Towns, we interviewed a long time member and friend, John Simmerman. He's the founder of Active Towns and travels around the world sharing his love of active living and promoting bikeability and walkability. John shares the many ways that towns can create a "culture of activity" in their communities—one that is welcoming and safe for people of all ages.


Active TownsShed the Monster video 

Book interview: Nate Hood and Pedestrian Safety

Oct 14, 2016 0:21:55


In this special edition of the Strong Towns podcast, we bring you a short interview with Nate Hood, a Strong Towns contributor and founding member who wrote an essay for our new book, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II.

Nate Hood chats with Chuck Marohn about pedestrian safety efforts—the good, the bad and the ugly—in his hometown of St. Paul, MN.

Get your copy of our new book today. 

Special offer: We've extended the opportunity for new Strong Towns members to receive an autographed copy of our new book. Become a member by Friday, October 14, and we'll mail you a free copy.

Ed Erfurt Talks Worthwhile Infrastructure Investments

Oct 13, 2016 0:45:30


Ed Erfurt is a long-time friend and member of Strong Towns. He recently moved to Ranson, WV and serves as Assistant City Manager there. Today, he discusses his perspective as a local leader in a small town on what infrastructure is worth investing in, how to get a real return on your investment and how to avoid getting "caught up in free money."

This interview is part of our ongoing conversation on federal infrastructure spending.

The Week Ahead, October 11, 2016

Oct 11, 2016 0:37:42


It's been a little while since we did a Week Ahead podcast, because Chuck's been on the road doing tons of events. In today's podcast, he talks about recent events in several cities in Oregon as well as Shreveport, LA. Chuck and Rachel also announce a new job opening. Finally, they dive into Strong Towns' newly-released book, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II.

Mentioned in this episode:

Job openingOur new bookStrong Towns' organizational sponsorsVideo tours of Edina, MNUpcoming events in Thunder Bay, ON and Bellingham, WA

Book interview: Andrew Price and Granularity

Oct 10, 2016 0:13:27


In this special edition of the Strong Towns podcast, we bring you a short interview with Andrew Price, a Strong Towns contributor who wrote two essays for our new book, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II.

Andrew chats with Rachel Quednau about life in Hoboken, NJ, and takes a look back at two of his essays which are featured in the book. 

Get your copy of our new book today. 

Book Interview: Daniel Herriges and the Overton Window

Oct 7, 2016 0:18:14


In this special edition of the Strong Towns podcast, we bring you a short interview with Daniel Herriges, a Strong Towns contributor who wrote an essay for our new book, Thoughts on Building Strong Towns, Volume II.

Daniel chats with Rachel Quednau about the inspiration for his essay, "Moving the Overton Window," his vision for the Strong Towns movement, and his experience as a masters student in the urban planning program at the University of Minnesota.

Get your copy of our new book today. 

Former US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, on Infrastructure Spending

Oct 6, 2016 0:30:13


Ray LaHood served as the United States Secretary of Transportation from 2009-2013. Prior to that, he served in the House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 18th congressional district. In this interview with Chuck Marohn, Mr. LaHood discusses bipartisan collaboration on infrastructure decisions and his views on the presidential candidates' position on drastically increasing infrastructure spending. He answers questions like, "If we're going to invest in infrastructure, where should that money come from? Who should decide how it is spent?" He also discusses his view on gas tax increases, and small-scale vs. large-scale projects.

His book, Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics, is available now.

This interview is part of our ongoing conversation on infrastructure spending

Former Mayor Michael McGinn on our Infrastructure Crisis

Sep 29, 2016 0:27:49


Former Seattle Mayor -- and friend of Strong Towns -- Mike McGinn joins us to talk about the nation's infrastructure crisis and what he would do to make sure that a surge in federal infrastructure spending isn't wasted.

The Week Ahead, September 26, 2016

Sep 27, 2016 0:31:38


On the day of the first presidential debate, Chuck records a solo Week Ahead podcast to look back at last week's event in Knoxville, this week's event in Edina and a little annoucement on next week.

A Small Business Owner who's Working to Make his Town Stronger

Sep 22, 2016 0:44:07


Jonathan Holth is a Strong Towns member from Grand Forks, ND. He's a restaurant owner, he's on the board of the downtown business association, he's an active citizen and he's a father of three girls. In this interview with Chuck Marohn, Jonathan discusses his work and vision for a better downtown Grand Forks, as well as his perspective as a small business owner and a parent, working to incrementally build a Strong Town. Jon and Chuck talk about local businesses, parking issues, housing and making change in polite, conservative Midwestern towns.

The Week Ahead, September 19, 2016

Sep 19, 2016 0:34:36


The Week Ahead podcast is back! After some technical issues over the last few weeks, we're in the swing of things again, talking about upcoming and past events, a recent #StrongSchools campaign, our ongoing #InfrastructureCrisis conversation and book recommendations too. 

Mentioned in this podcast:

"Infrastructure Spending for Dummies" by Charles MarohnKnoxville event, September 22"Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior" from the Great CoursesAmerican Character by Colin Woodard

Steven Shultis on Urban Schools

Sep 15, 2016 0:59:51


Steven Shultis is a long-time member of Strong Towns and a strong advocate for urban public education, having raised his own children in the inner city of Springfield, MA. In this follow-up to his 2015 podcast interview, he shares his perspective on raising a family in a walkable neighborhood and choosing to send his kids to an urban school, for Strong Towns' Schools Week

You can read more from Steven Shultis on life in a traditional urban neighborhood and urban education on his blog, Rational Urbanism, and catch his interviews and essays on Strong Towns too. From this week, here's Steven's guide to getting the most out of urban public schools

Paul Stewart from Oswego, NY

Sep 8, 2016 1:00:11


Chuck Marohn interviews Paul Stewart, the Executive Director of the Oswego Renaissance Association in Oswego, NY. It's a small town like so many others, that has lost population and jobs in the last several decades and is struggling to create lasting solutions to its economic challenges.

Stewart talks about his transition from being a citizen rehabbing his historic home—to an activist who started an organization to help revitalize Oswego neighborhoods and preserve homes all across the city. He discusses the ripple effects of these home improvements and his vision for his town.

Elizabeth Kneebone on Suburban Poverty

Sep 1, 2016 0:45:14


In this belated interview from Suburban Poverty week, we had the chance to speak with Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and co-author of the book, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Her work primarily focuses on urban and suburban poverty, metropolitan demographics, and tax policies that support low-income workers and communities.

This conversation focuses on the causes of, impacts on and responses to suburban poverty in America. We dive into transportation struggles, challenges for the elderly, and the struggle to truly address this growing and hidden problem.

Which is Better: One-Way or Two-Way Streets?

Aug 25, 2016 0:26:20


Rachel Quednau and Andrew Price debate the merits of one-way vs. two-way streets in this podcast.


3 Reasons to Turn These One-Way Streets into Two-Ways by Rachel Quednau

The Case for One-Way Streets by Andrew Price

Small Bets by Andrew Price

The Week Ahead, August 22, 2016

Aug 22, 2016 0:34:33


Chuck and Rachel discuss Chuck's recent vacation, favorite summer movies, Suburban Poverty week and Chuck's recent essay about the future of the US economy. They also touch on upcoming events in Rockford, IL and Minneapolis, MN.

Mentioned in this podcast:

"Pain or Death? The View from the Balloon" by Chuck MarohnMovies: Jason BourneHell or HighwaterBen-Hur, and GhostbustersBooks: Jack Reacher novelsBetween the World and MeThe New Jim Crow and Seeing Like a StateTomas Sedlacek and the Understanding Growth seriesSuburban Poverty Week

The Week Ahead, August 15, 2016

Aug 15, 2016 0:21:31


Rachel and special guest, Michelle Erfurt (Strong Towns' Pathfinder) discuss Suburban Poverty Week and dive into the event calendar for the rest of 2016.

Mentioned in this episode:

1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

APBP Questions

Aug 11, 2016 1:04:09


This week Chuck answers questions left over from an Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals web broadcast he participated in earlier this year. You will discover, if you didn't already know, that Chuck is not a fan of studies and technical reports (or the mindset that demands them).

The Week Ahead, August 8, 2016

Aug 8, 2016 0:33:11


Things have gone awry as Rachel takes a Monday off leaving Chuck and Strong Towns' Community Builder, Yuri Artibise, to talk about Iowa, the barbell strategy, the Canadian-based CitiesAlive podcast and the differing histories of the War of the Conquest (the French and Indian War). 

The Week Ahead, August 1, 2016

Aug 1, 2016 0:28:32


Chuck and Rachel discuss an upcoming event in Iowa, plus Chuck's recent article on semi trucks and why we don't actually need to build our cities around them. They also touch on some other recent Strong Towns stories and two excellent podcasts Chuck just listened to.

Mentioned in this episode:

"Richard Duncan: Creditism has Replaced Capitalism," from the McAlvany Weekly Commentary"Yanis Varoufakis’s Greek Tragedy," from Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon

Routine Traffic Stops

Jul 28, 2016 0:59:34


It's time to end the routine traffic stop. They are dangerous for public safety officials, create resentment in targeted neighborhoods and -- worst of all -- do not address the underlying safety problem inherent in speeding and other traffic violations.

The Week Ahead, July 25 2016

Jul 25, 2016 0:32:03


The Week Ahead podcast is back after a few week's hiatus. Chuck and Rachel discuss the recent Big Box Stores campaign, Chuck's new house and recent events in Oswego, NY and Ontario.

Also mentioned in this podcast:

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth about the Nordic Myth by Michael BoothThe Harrows by Spring by James Howard Kunstler

Stacy Mitchell on the Big Box Swindle

Jul 19, 2016 0:47:47


Stacy Mitchell is the author of Big Box Swindle and a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, directing its initiatives on banking and independent business. In this interview, she discusses the origins of the big box store, the way they're subsidized by communities and how they are undercutting the American middle class.

CNU24: Ask Us Anything

Jul 14, 2016 1:01:15


At the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) in Detroit this year, we interviewed several intelligent and inspiring guests for the Strong Towns podcast. But we also invited CNU attendees to interview us! That's right, we opened the floor for any and every question that our members and readers wanted to discuss.

They asked us about the beginning of Strong Towns, gentrification, historic preservation, small town life and of course, Chuck's Mountain Dew obsession.

CNU24: Lynn Richards

Jul 7, 2016 0:39:00


Chuck interviews President and CEO of CNU Lynn Richards. They discuss the strategy behind this creative, Detroit-based Congress, as well as what's currently going on in the City of Detroit. Lynn Richards also dives into the history and growth of CNU.

Johnny Sanphillippo and Chuck Marohn Debate Detroit

Jun 30, 2016 0:44:49


Chuck and Strong Towns member and contributor, Johnny Sanphillippo discuss their recent dueling essays about Detroit.

Read Chuck's initial essay: "A Promise Impossible to Keep."Read Johnny's response: "The Doughtnut of Despair? Not Quite

The Week Ahead, June 27, 2016

Jun 27, 2016 0:32:30


Chuck and Rachel recap the membership drive, discuss an upcoming event in Texas and dive into Chuck's Monday article: The Ignorant and the Elites, which covers the value of listening to people who think differently from you, especially in the context of the Brexit vote and the American presidential race. Chuck also confesses to reading some trashy fiction.

Sportscenter with Matthias Leyrer

Jun 24, 2016 0:49:39


The last day of our member drive and we spend it chatting with Strong Towns contributor Matthias Leyrer about his town's obsession with building sporting facilties. Time well spent.

Become a member of Strong Towns at

Some words of optimism

Jun 22, 2016 0:28:27


Chuck shares what it's like to drive four hours to a Curbside Chat and find out that others traveled nearly that far just to be there. 

Seth Zeren - Founding Member of Strong Towns

Jun 21, 2016 0:43:31


In a recording from the 24th Congress for the New Urbanism, Chuck Marohn interviews Seth Zeren (a founding member of Strong Towns) on the challenges of modern urban planning, development and placemaking. Plus, they reflect on CNU in comparison to other professional conferences like APA.

Thanks to Seth and other members like him for supporting the work of Strong Towns. If you value this podcast, please consider supporting us by becoming a member today:

State of Strong Towns

Jun 20, 2016 0:34:31


Without the support of members and generous donors, there is no Strong Towns. We kick off our summer member drive with a State of Strong Towns podcast. You can support Strong Towns by going to

CNU24: Strong Towns All Star Members

Jun 16, 2016 0:54:16


Chuck Marohn had the chance to interview several Strong Towns members together at CNU24 in Detroit. They share their backgrounds and how they came to be members of Strong Towns: Mayor Jill Dabbs from Bryant, AR, Kevin Barton from San Antonio, TX, Marielle Brown from St. Louis, MO, Ian Bost, from Ann Arbor, MI (originally from Detroit), and Andy Walker, from Detroit, MI. 

The Week Ahead, June 13, 2016

Jun 13, 2016 0:32:53


Chuck Marohn and Rachel Quednau review last week at CNU and share some reflections on Detroit. They also discuss a recent Strong Towns article comparing the value of expensive, tricked-out Complete Streets with simple narrow streets, as well as the response to that article. Finally, Chuck shares some recent books on his reading list.

Mentioned in the podcast:

A Promise Impossible to Keep by Chuck MarohnNarrow Streets Do More with Less by Daniel HerrigesTribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian JungerSPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard

CNU24: R. John Anderson

Jun 10, 2016 0:57:00


R. John Anderson talks about the growth of the small-scale developer movement, recent bootcamps hosted by his organization, the Incremental Development Alliance, and the value of small-scale projects. Plus a cameo from Kevin Klinkenberg to talk about baseball.

You can catch more John Anderson on our site, as well as his blog.

CNU24: Janette Sadik-Khan

Jun 10, 2016 0:33:27


Janette Sadik-Khan discusses her experience as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, focusing on smaller projects like plazas and bike access, instead of megaprojects that cost millions. She also discusses how you actually get things done in a city full of 8.5 million people, and the importance of data in persuading people to support new initiatives.

Ms. Sadik-Khan's new book is Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution and it's well worth a read.

CNU24: Placemakers

Jun 9, 2016 0:41:21


Recording live at CNU24 in Detroit Chuck Marohn interviews Hazel Borys, Principal at Placemakers, along with some Placemakers clients: Joe Cosentini, Town Administrator of Thompson's Station, TN, and Andrew Blake, City Manager of Ranson, WV. Hazel, Joe and Andrew discuss the work Placemakers did in these small towns, developing form-based codes, improving walkability and building better places. They also talk about the challenges of making change in small towns.

CNU24: Michelle Erfurt

Jun 9, 2016 0:40:06


Reporting live from CNU24 in Detroit, Chuck Marohn interviews Michelle Erfurt, the Strong Towns Pathfinder, who coordinates Strong Towns events. She talks about what it's like to communicate with people all over the country interested in Strong Towns, as well as the process for putting together an event. Chuck also reflects on the highs and lows of past events.

The Week Ahead, June 6, 2016

Jun 6, 2016 0:27:38


Chuck and Rachel offer a preview of events and upcoming podcast recordings at CNU

Mentioned in this podcast: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, and Embedded podcast from NPR.

Andres Duany

Jun 2, 2016 0:53:36


Andres Duany is an American architect and urban planner working at the firm DPZ, a co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and the author of several books including Suburban Nation. He's also an inspiration for Strong Towns thinking.

In this interview, Chuck Marohn and Andres Duany discuss the founding and growth of the new urbanist movement, gentrification, and the future of the suburbs.

Toby Dougherty

May 26, 2016 0:58:59


Toby is a Strong Towns pioneer, making the city of Hays, KS better through his role as City Manager. He's been on the podcast before and we invited him back for an update on the progress of Strong Towns ideas in his community.

The Week Ahead, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016 0:30:58


Rachel and Chuck recap a week on the Iron Range and discuss other Minnesota towns including Duluth and Grand Marais. Chuck also offers an update on the Antifragile book club and some commentary on his recent article, "Engineers Should not Design Streets."

Aaron Brown

May 18, 2016 1:01:18


This week we're hosting a series of on the ground events in the Iron Range region of Minnesota. We're also sharing stories from the region and offering examples of how Strong Towns ideas can apply there. 

Aaron J. Brown is a writer, radio producer and college instructor living and working on the Iron Range. He writes a blog, Minnesota Brown and is a lifelong resident of the Range. He's also a good friend of Chuck Marohn's. In this interview (where Minnesota accents abound), Aaron discusses changes on the Iron Range over the last few decades, the current mining situation, and the role of education in the community.

Andrew Hanegmon of Iron Range Makerspace

May 17, 2016 0:31:13


This week we're hosting a series of on the ground events in the Iron Range region of Minnesota. We're also sharing stories from the region and offering examples of how Strong Towns ideas can apply there. 

Andrew Hanegmon is the founder of Iron Range Makerspace, a new venture that will connect residents with space, tools and community to build new businesses and create a better economic future for the region. In this in-person interview, Chuck Marohn talks with Andrew about how the organization got started and where it's headed now.

Scott Hall at KAXE Radio

May 16, 2016 0:58:59


This week we're hosting a series of on the ground events in the Iron Range region of Minnesota. We're also sharing stories from the region and offering examples of how Strong Towns ideas can apply there. 

Scott Hall is a long-time resident of the Iron Range and the Community Asset Coordinator for KAXE Northern Community Radio. In this podcast, he talks about the history of the region and the changes in the Iron Range over the last several decades, through the lens of his own life there.

Chuck Marohn also jumps in with some of his own musings on life in northern Minnesota.

Sprawl, Smart Growth and Strong Towns

May 12, 2016 1:03:43


In a solo podcast, Chuck talks about the articles he wrote on Smart Growth and sprawl (first and second) and why he doesn't use either term in describing himself or the Strong Towns movement.

The Week Ahead, May 9, 2016

May 9, 2016 0:33:11


Chuck and Rachel discuss the absurd over-extension of the Brainerd city budget (Chuck's hometown) all for the sake of imaginary growth, plus recent Strong Towns events in St. Paul, MN and Lake Ozark, MO. They also make a special announcement at the end that you won't want to miss.

Nolan Gray of Market Urbanism

May 4, 2016 0:40:54


It's Jane Jacobs Week at Strong Towns. Nolan Gray is a writer for Market Urbanism. He analyzes Jane Jacobs' work in light of Hayekian philosophy and discusses the need to move away from central planning. Read his piece, Who Plans? Jane Jacobs' Hayekian Critique of Urban Planning.

Denise Pinto of Jane's Walk

May 3, 2016 0:22:14


It's Jane Jacobs Week at Strong Towns. Today's podcast features Denise Pinto, Global Director of Jane’s Walk. Jane's Walk is a movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbors. Denise discusses how the organization got started and its impact on communities around the world.

The Week Ahead, April 25, 2016

Apr 25, 2016 0:29:22


Chuck and Rachel discuss the problem with the American highway system, plus a recent trip to the New Urbanist development of Carlton Landing, OK. Also included in this podcast: An announcement about the new Strong Towns book club, a welcome for new members and a small request.

Answers for Zach

Apr 21, 2016 0:58:17


Chuck answers questions he received from high school senior Zach Sussman about what motivated him to start Strong Towns, how he went about starting it, what teenagers can do to help and more.

The Week Ahead, April 18, 2016

Apr 18, 2016 0:32:23


In this weekly update podcast, Chuck and Rachel discuss the success of Strong Citizens Week, a recent controversial essay on sprawl, and Chuck's trip to the Strongest Town in America.

Chris Martenson

Apr 15, 2016 0:52:20


Chris Martenson is an economic researcher and futurist who specializes in energy and resource depletion. He is co-founder of and the author of The Crash Course. We're pleased to feature him as part of Strong Citizens Week.

Ethan Kent, Project for Public Spaces

Apr 14, 2016 0:31:33


Ethan Kent is the Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces. Today he talks about his life with a family of four in a 900 sq ft apartment, as well as his work to make public spaces across the world better. We're happy to feature him as part of Strong Citizens Week.

Marian Liou, Founder of We Love BuHi

Apr 13, 2016 0:41:27


Marian Liou is a long-time resident of Atlanta, a mother of two, and a graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School. She is also the founder of the social enterprise organization, We Love BuHi. We Love BuHi envisions a safe, attractive, fun and livable Buford Highway corridor that celebrates and is inclusive of its diverse communities. The organization helps to showcase local ethnic restaurants and works with restaurant owners to build a better neighborhood.

Chris and Melissa Bruntlett of Modacity

Apr 12, 2016 0:39:54


In the summer of 2010, Chris and Melissa Bruntlett, along with their two young children made the conscious deciison to sell the family car, embarking on a new and enlightening adventure. As they began to share their story of biking, walking and using transit for their daily lives with others, they gained considerable media attention and have been featured in several films, articles and more. They also started Modacity, a multi-service communications firm focused on inspiring healthier, happier, simpler forms of urban mobility through words, photography and film. We're happy to feature Chris and Melissa as part of Strong Citizens week.

Mr. Money Mustache

Apr 11, 2016 0:54:20


We kick off Strong Citizens Week here at Strong Towns with a conversation with Mr. Money Mustache. MMM is -- by far -- the guest our listeners have most requested, and for good reason. He is the individual digital to our community analog. His insights will help you live a better life and, should you choose to be a true Mustachian, put you in position to help your community become a Strong Town.

If you're not already, you should be reading everything you can at You can also follow MMM on Facebook andTwitter.

The Week Ahead, April 4, 2016

Apr 4, 2016 0:32:31


Chuck and Rachel discuss the smart growth movement, neighborhood corner stores, and the winner of the Strongest Town contest. Plus, they offer a sneak preview of next week's "Strong Citizens" podcasts and articles.

Final 2 Strongest Towns Face Off

Mar 31, 2016 1:01:04


Which is the Strongest Town? Hoboken, NJ and Carlisle, PA made it to the final round in our march madness Strongest Town contest. This is audio from our championship web broadcast, featuring representatives Phil Jonat (from Hoboken, NJ) and Brenda Landis (from Carlisle, PA), hosted by Chuck Marohn. Once you've finished listening, please visit to vote.

Carlisle, PA in the Strongest Town Contest

Mar 28, 2016 0:22:45


Welcome to our Final Four round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to the following interview that Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest. Once you've finished listening to it, along with its competitor, Holland, MI (they'll be released at the same time), please visit to vote.

Brenda Landis (Carlisle West Side Neighbors), Chris Varner (Elm Street Manager) and Safronia Perry (Hope Station) discuss Carlisle's good schools, community festivals, hometown sports teams and their incredible restaurant scene. They also open up about the negative effect of local factory closures and how they're trying to handle that.?

Holland, MI in the Strongest Town Contest

Mar 28, 2016 0:21:31


Welcome to our Final Four round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to the following interview that Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest. Once you've finished listening to it, along with its competitor, Carlisle, PA (they'll be released at the same time), please visit to vote.

Mayor Nancy DeBoer, City Council representative Brian Burch, and City Manager Ryan Cotton discuss their community's diversity, snow melting capacity, theater scene, and strong local businesses including several breweries, plus what Brian labels "the best beaches in the world." They also discuss the challenge of redesigning their civic center.

Sandusky, OH in the Strongest Town Contest

Mar 28, 2016 0:18:25


Welcome to our Final Four round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to the following interview that Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, conducted with representatives from a town in our contest. Once you've finished listening to it, along with its competitor, Hoboken, NJ (they'll be released at the same time), please visit to vote.

Ryan Whaley (local business owner) and Eric Wobser (City Manager) discuss Sandusky's supportive community, the amenities that their waterfront location offers, the historic architecture, and the walkable neighborhoods. They also share their community's challenges with connectivity and creating a welcoming atmosphere for diverse residents.

Hoboken, NJ in the Strongest Town Contest

Mar 28, 2016 0:19:08


Welcome to our Final Four round of the Strongest Town Competition. We invite you to listen to the following interview that Charles Marohn, president of Strong Towns, conducted with a representative from a town in our contest. Once you've finished listening to it, along with its competitor, Sandusky, OH (they'll be released at the same time), please visit to vote.

Phil Jonat, a lifelong New Jersey resident, talks about how Hoboken is a place where people can raise kids and grow old, plus the amazing Italian food, gorgeous riverfront, diverse businesses, and vibrant downtown. He also opens up about the challenges of affordability in this desirable city.

The Week Ahead, March 21, 2016

Mar 21, 2016 0:27:17


Chuck and Rachel discuss a recent trip to South Carolina, a week of open SlackChats and the March Madness competition. Plus, Chuck shares insights on economist, Tomas Sedlacek.

The Strongest Town Contest - Commentary and Updates

Mar 17, 2016 0:36:52


Strong Towns staff, Rachel Quednau, Jason Schaefer and Yuri Artisbise discuss the Strongest Town contest and share their personal predictions for the winners. Jason provides an update on the current standings. Learn more at CityLab has dubbed it "perhaps the most adorable bracket-style competition around."

The Week Ahead, March 15, 2016

Mar 15, 2016 0:26:25


Chuck is back from vacation. He and Rachel discuss pedestrian crossing and safety issues, along with the Strongest Town march madness competition, plus an upcoming live broadcast from the staff.

The End of the Ponzi Scheme

Mar 10, 2016 0:40:29


Chuck Marohn steps back to look at the Growth Ponzi Scheme and where it has taken us today. How do we currently deal with slow-downs in growth? How do anti-fragile, resilient, and fragile communities handle challenges differently? Chuck pulls from economists and scientists like Tomas Sedlacek and Jared Diamond to consider what the end of the Growth Ponzi Scheme might look like. It ain't pretty.

Juan Mullerat and Steve Wright

Mar 9, 2016 0:48:40


Juan Mullerat and Steve Wright run an urban design firm called PlusUrbia. In this interview hosted by Rachel Quednau, they discuss their newest project, helping to transform an urban highway --Calle Ocho in Little Havana, Miami-- back into a walkable boulevard. Learn more about the project and get involved at

The Week Ahead, March 7, 2016

Mar 7, 2016 0:24:03


Jason Schaefer makes a guest appearance along with Rachel Quednau while Chuck is out on vacation. They discuss a recent trip to Puerto Rico, the upcoming Strongest Town March Madness competition, membership and Tina Fey's book, Bossypants.

The Week Ahead, February 29, 2016

Feb 29, 2016 0:31:43


On this Leap Day, Chuck and Rachel discuss housing finance policy (last week's theme), a recent staff retreat to Disneyland, and a new membership page, plus behavioral economics.

Most affordable housing is not subsidized

Feb 25, 2016 0:41:09


Daniel Kay Hertz is a Senior Fellow at City Observatory and a graduate of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. He joins the Strong Towns Podcast this week to talk about housing finance and how it impacts disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The developer who was desperate to save a struggling neighborhood

Feb 24, 2016 0:28:20


Monte Anderson of Options Real Estate is a developer from the wrong side of town. Instead of fleeing for greener pastures and easier money, however, he stayed in his community and worked to make it better. Here's how he did it.

The frustrating real life story of a mixed-use loan (that didn't happen)

Feb 24, 2016 1:03:39


Ian Rasmussen is an attorney, certified planner and an urbanist from New York City. He's also a board member at Strong Towns.

And once upon a time, Ian and his family tried to purchase and renovate a mixed use building in Dobbs Ferry, NY. This podcast is all about the frustrations of a really intelligent and sophisticated person attempting to do something rather straightforward -- and needed -- and being stymied at every turn. 

Federal Housing Finance Policy

Feb 23, 2016 0:31:53


This week we're examining the impacts of federal housing finance policy, Chuck is joined by Christopher Jones and Sarah Serpas of Regional Plan Association, a New York-based non-profit organization that recently released a report titled The Unintended Consequences of Housing Finance

You can follow our ongoing conversation on housing finance at

Eve Picker of Small Change

Feb 18, 2016 0:42:43


This week we are joined by the President and Founder of Small Change, Eve Picker. Small Change is working to help real estate developers doing incremental work in core neighborhoods find the capital they need while making it easier for individuals to make small investments in improving their neighborhoods (and share in the returns on that investment). This is an exciting podcast about the future of real estate finance.

For those wanting to know more, Small Change is hosting a real estate crowdfunding conference on March 24. You can also follow them on LinkedIn.

The Week Ahead, February 15, 2016

Feb 15, 2016 0:31:31


On their weekly podcast, Rachel and Chuck discuss the way the Strong Towns movement and incremental development can be a path toward inclusion for women, minorities, and other marginalized communities. They also talk about a recent trip to Burlington, VT and an upcoming visit to Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA. Also included in this episode, book and movie recommendations from Chuck and Rachel.

Nitin Gadia

Feb 11, 2016 0:30:54


Are your taxes paying for the cost of your street? Nitin Gadia has created an interactive mapping tool to explore the answer to this question in his hometown of Ames, Iowa. Nitin works for MapStory, an open platform for organizing our knowledge about how the world changes over time and space. We highly recommend that you visit to view the map we discuss in this episode, as well as a guide for creating your own map and more from Nitin.

The Week Ahead, February 9, 2016

Feb 9, 2016 0:33:38


Chuck and Rachel discuss upcoming trips to Burlington, VT and Los Angeles, as well as the Flint water crisis and pipe maintenance issues throughout the country. They also touch on a couple books about the Nat Turner rebellion and the Holocaust.

OKC Live!

Feb 4, 2016 1:18:05


From a beautiful little neighborhood in Oklahoma City, Chuck Marohn interviews ULI members Shane Hampton and Jane Jenkins in front of a live audience. The conversation is about Oklahoma City past, present and future.

The Week Ahead, February 2, 2016

Feb 2, 2016 0:33:17


Rachel and Chuck recap #NoNewRoads Week and discuss Chuck's busy week of travel in January, including a trip to Oklahoma City, Deerfield Beach, FL and the City Engineer's Association of Minnesota Conference, where he encountered some backwards messaging but was able to sway some engineers toward the Strong Towns message. Also, they take a brief look at Donald Trump and his appeal to the wage earning class.

Susan Handy on Induced Travel

Jan 29, 2016 0:22:09


Susan Handy of the University of California at Davis speaks on induced traffic and impacts of fighting congestion through adding capacity. A summary of the findings can be found here.

Mayor Michael McGinn of Seattle

Jan 28, 2016 0:32:25


Former Mayor of Seattle, Michael McGinn, discusses the tunneling project currently underway in Seattle, the discussions that led to the decision to proceed with a tunnel and subsequent actions by the governor, legislature and city to deal with the aftermath. McGinn also discusses the tradeoffs of how we fund transportation and what it will take to start spending less and getting more.

Kevin Blanchard of Lafayette, LA

Jan 27, 2016 0:29:43


A conversation with Kevin Blanchard, former Public Works Director for the city of Lafayette. Kevin was part of the conversations in Lafayette involving Strong towns and Urban 3. He was instrumental in making the conversation over the fiscal realities of transportation spending part of the broader community dialog. His insights come from experience and echo many of the things being discussed by public works directors around the country.

#NoNewRoads Week

Jan 26, 2016 0:32:07


Chuck and Rachel discuss this week's #NoNewRoads campaign. They touch on the new federal transportation funding bill, issues in Texas, Minnesota and Washington state, as well as a fascinating new tool you can use to look at transportation funding priorities in your own state.

Randy Simes

Jan 25, 2016 0:18:07


Rachel Quednau interviews Randy Simes all the way from Seoul, South Korea, to talk about the Ohio Department of Transportation’s expected announcement of a major shift toward “fix it first” policy, and away from new road projects. Randy is the founder and managing editor of UrbanCincy, news sources for Cincinnati’s urban core, as well as an urban planner who has worked around the world.

The Big Short

Jan 22, 2016 0:59:56


Special guest Joe Minicozzi joins Chuck Marohn to talk about the movie The Big Short and their own experience with big money and shady land deals.

The Week Ahead, January 18, 2016

Jan 18, 2016 0:20:58


Member Support Specialist, Jason Schaefer, makes a guest appearance on the podcast along with Rachel Quednau, to discuss the week's events in Santa Rosa, CA, as well as new members, favorite podcasts, and the book, The Four Hour Work Week. Plus they share an announcement about an upcoming Strong Towns campaign.

Inside Stuff

Jan 14, 2016 0:49:38


Strong Towns is having a board meeting this weekend and Chuck's thoughts are on the changes the organization has made over the past year and what we face in the future. This episode is about the organization behind the Strong Towns movement.

The Week Ahead, January 11, 2016

Jan 11, 2016 0:24:32


Chuck and Rachel discuss a recent trip to Olympia, WA for a Curbside Chat, plus diversity (or lack of it) in local government. They also discuss the question, related to a recent Strong Towns story: Should local governments run golf courses and other public amenities or not?

Newtonian Economics

Jan 8, 2016 1:09:39


After listening to the lecture series Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science, Chuck has some questions about whether or not modern economics, with it's Keynesian paradigm, is stuck at the Newtonian phase and is in need of an Einstein.

The Week Ahead, January 4, 2016

Jan 4, 2016 0:21:53


Chuck and Rachel return from a holiday break with updates on the Strong Towns website, a look at 2016 and some travel this week to Washington.

The Week Ahead, December 1, 2015

Dec 1, 2015 0:24:53


Chuck and Rachel discuss new members, an upcoming trip to Pennsylvania and the Syrian refugee crisis. Chuck also recommends Great Courses on and the book, Asia's Cauldron.

Joe Minicozzi

Nov 25, 2015 0:24:39


Chuck Marohn interviews Joe Minicozzi of Urban Three about parking minimums for #BlackFridayParking week.

John Anderson

Nov 24, 2015 0:21:59


Chuck Marohn interviews John Anderson about parking minimums for #BlackFridayParking week.

Donald Shoup

Nov 23, 2015 0:26:56


Chuck Marohn interviews Donald Shoup, Distinguished Research Professor in Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. His book, The High Cost of Free Parking, and his extensive research into the effects of parking on cities have made him a prominent voice on these topics. He joins Strong Towns for #BlackFridayParking week.

We are 1,000 Strong!

Nov 13, 2015 0:15:59


Our 1000th Member is Laura Nottingham from Omaha, Nebraska.

James Howard Kunstler

Nov 12, 2015 1:11:38


Author, speaker, social critique and friend of the Strong Towns movement Jim Kunstler joins the podcast to provide an update on The Long Emergency, America's ongoing struggle with economic turmoil, energy depletion and climate craziness. 

Jason and Rachel

Nov 11, 2015 0:22:33


Jason Schaefer and Rachel Quednau chat about the diversity of Strong Towns members, what it's been like working for the organization, and what they're looking forward to as the organization grows.

Johnny Sanphillippo

Nov 10, 2015 0:40:25


One of our more colorful contributors is Johnny Sanphillippo, the author of the blog Granola Shotgun. Johnny joins Chuck to contrast three cities in New Jersey and, in the process, gain some insight into what will follow America's Suburban Experiment.

Become a member of Strong Towns this week by going to

Interview with Chuck Marohn

Nov 9, 2015 1:06:40


We kick off the #1000Strong member drive with an interview of Strong Towns Founder and President Chuck Marohn by Board Member John Reuter. John asks Chuck about the current state of the movement, some of the big things coming up, the inside on new staff members and some personal questions on his commitment to change. 

Go to to become a member today.

Scott Doyon on Porchfest

Nov 5, 2015 0:29:10


This week we chat with Placemaker Scott Doyon (Facebook / Web) about the Oakhurst Porchfest, a grassroots music festival held in Decatur, GA. Scott also wrote about the event on the Placemaker's blog

Understanding Traffic Congestion

Oct 29, 2015 0:49:32


In a solo monologue this week, Chuck talks about efforts to improve the sound quality of the podcast and then provides an analysis of traffic congestion in the hierarchical road network theory.

The Week Ahead, October 26, 2015

Oct 26, 2015 0:16:59


Chuck and Rachel discuss last week's trip to Maine, upcoming events this week in Austin, the Curbside Chat booklet, and even waterparks. Plus get Chuck's latest book recommendations.

David Levinson and The End of Traffic

Oct 22, 2015 1:01:40


Author, civil engineer and University of Minnesota professor David Levinson (Twitter) joins the podcast to talk about his new book, The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport, which he co-authored with Kevin Krizek. 

You can read Professor Levinson regularly on his blog, The Transportationist, as well as on Streets.MN.

The Week Ahead, October 19, 2015

Oct 19, 2015 0:17:50


Chuck and Rachel discuss last week's staff retreat and Member Meetup in Madison as well as Chuck's upcoming events in Maine this week. In addition, we discuss Chuck's recent reading list and welcome several new and renewing Strong Towns members.

Madison Member Meetup

Oct 15, 2015 0:10:59


This week, Strong Towns' staff (Chuck, Jason and Rachel) got together in Madison, WI for a speaking engagement and a staff retreat. We also hosted a Strong Towns meet up. This podcast episode features several Strong Towns members.

Toby Dougherty

Oct 8, 2015 0:52:12


Toby Dougherty, city manager for Hays, Kansas, talks about his city's efforts to implement a Strong Towns approach.

The Week Ahead, October 5, 2015

Oct 5, 2015 0:22:39


Rachel and Chuck discuss last week's events in Ontario, Canada and Peoria, IL, the most beautiful city in North America and an exciting trip through US customs, plus the schedule for Chuck's trip to Idaho and Indiana this week and the book, The Selfish Gene.

A Conversation with Joe Minicozzi

Oct 1, 2015 0:56:34


This week's podcast is a conversation with one of the country's leading urban thinkers, Joe Minicozzi of Urban 3. Joe and Chuck talk about Brainerd, Lafayette, communicating complex ideas and Taco John's. 

The Week Ahead, September 28, 2015

Sep 29, 2015 0:17:54


Rachel and Chuck discuss last week's events in Louisville, KY and Peterborough NH, Chuck's new title as "Colonel Marohn," plus the schedule for Chuck's trip to Toronto and Peoria this week and the book, D-Day Through German Eyes.

Marohn O'Toole Debate, Part 2

Sep 24, 2015 1:16:09


The question and answer session of the debate in Lafayette, Louisiana, between Chuck Marohn and Randal O'Toole.

The Week Ahead, September 21, 2015

Sep 21, 2015 0:23:36


Welcome to new members Pat Kemp, Nick Whitney, Eirc Rogers, Blue Weber, Chris Kennedy and Tom Broderick. Rachel and Chuck discuss last week's events in Salt Lake City, the schedule for Kentucky and New Hampshire this week and The Selfish Gene.

Chuck v Randal (Part 1)

Sep 18, 2015 0:53:14


Audio of the opening statements and rebuttal from Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns and Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute in their debate in Lafayette, LA. 

Weekly Preview: Jason Schaefer, Lafayette, Randal O'Toole and Waco

Sep 8, 2015 0:18:00


A podcast preview of the upcoming week including introducing Jason Schaefer, the new Member Support Specialist at Strong Towns, a trip to Lafayette with Joe Minicozzi, a debate with Cato fellow Randal O'Toole and a success story in Waco.

Climates and Markets

Aug 27, 2015 0:51:33


The global climate is a complex system. Economic markets are a complex system. Why do we react so differently to these different forms of complexity and what can we learn from those reactions?

Organizational Update

Aug 13, 2015 1:04:40


Chuck talks about the organization behind the Strong Towns movement, an update to their strategic plan based on what has been learned and a powerful theory of change.

Aaron Brown and the Minnesota Iron Range

Jul 23, 2015 1:00:42


Aaron Brown -- author, college instructor and radio producer from Minnesota's iron range -- joins the podcast to talk about the history of the Iron Range, economic development issues and cultural obstacles to change. You can get Aaron's book, Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range, and read his regular blog at his site,


Jul 20, 2015 0:58:50


An update on the storm that hit Chuck's house last weekend.

Iowa ULI

Jul 9, 2015 0:52:37


A revelation by the Iowa DOT Director and a speech on transportation to the Iowa ULI by Chuck Marohn.

Gracen Johnson

Jun 17, 2015 0:24:05


Gracen Johnson, creator of the Curbside Chat videos. Part 3 will be released today. Part 4 is being released on Thursday.

Andrew Burleson and a special guest

Jun 16, 2015 0:34:11


Chair of the Strong Towns Board, Andrew Burleson.

Chuck Marohn

Jun 15, 2015 0:18:21


Become a member of Strong Towns or make a donation by going to

Gross Negligence

Jun 11, 2015 1:02:17


Chuck reviews three different incidents involving children killed by automobiles and asks: Who are really the ones showing casual indifference here? 

Who pays for roads?

Jun 4, 2015 1:00:47


Tony Dutzik, Senior Policy Analyst with Frontier Group, joins the podcast to talk about a new report he co-authored: Who Pays for Roads? How the "Users Pay" Myt Gets in the Way of Solving America's Transportation Problems.

1000 Friends v. United States DOT

May 28, 2015 1:03:02


A ruling last week in U.S. District Court has potentially profound implications for road widening projects. This podcast features an interview with Steve Hiniker, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, the plaintiff that prevailed in a recent lawsuit against the USDOT, WisDOT and others. We also speak with an appellate attorney, Mahesha Subbaraman, about details in the ruling and potential subsequent moves.

Jonathan Coppage and Benjamin Schwarz at CNU 23

May 2, 2015 0:31:02


Jonathan Coppage and Benjamin Schwarz of the American Conservative talk about their publication, how they got involved in New Urbanism and why conservatives are embracing New Urbanist approaches.

Robin Bergstrom at CNU 23

May 2, 2015 0:26:59


Robin Bergstrom of CNU New England talks about how she became involved in CNU, how she came to be the Executive Director of CNU NE and the unique challenges of New Urbanism in the Northeast.

Scott Doyon and Ben Brown at CNU 23

May 2, 2015 0:27:01


Scott Doyon and Ben Brown of Placemakers talk about public engagement that actually engages.

John Anderson and Monte Anderson at CNU 23

May 2, 2015 0:44:04


John Anderson and Monte Anderson (no relation, except in good looks) talk about how small, incremental development can save the world and make a nice living for the entrepreneurial startup builder trying to transform their city.

Matthias Leyrer at CNU 23

May 2, 2015 0:24:15


Strong Towns contributor Matthias Leyrer talks about how he got started blogging, how urban renewal hurt his city and the memes he has been sharing on the Strong Towns Blog.

Chuck Marohn and Andrew Burleson at CNU 23

May 1, 2015 1:03:02


In what has become a CNU tradition, Andrew Burleson takes over the podcast and turns the table on the host. Andrew pushes Chuck to talk about the advice he would give a fictional mayor in handling contraction of the city.

Sinclair Black and Heyden Walker at CNU 23

May 1, 2015 0:23:05


Sinclair Black and Heyden Walker, architects with Austin-based Black and Vernooy, talk about great streets, Austin and the potential to bury and cap an interstate. Their new ebook is available at

Lynn Richards at CNU 23

May 1, 2015 0:30:42


CNU President and CEO Lynn Richards talking about accelerating the pace of change, #IamCNU and ways the Congress for the New Urbanism is leading a movement for building great places.

Jarrett Walker and James Llamas at CNU 23

May 1, 2015 0:17:00


Jarrett Walker of Jarrett Walker + Associates and James Llamas of Traffic Engineers, Inc. talk about the reimagined Houston transit network, the hard choices that brought it about and how the city's bus network now provides more service to more people with the same budget.

Jeff Tumlin at CNU 23

Apr 30, 2015 0:29:42


Jeff Tumlin of Nelson/Nygaard talks about the nuances of the Trinity Toll Road, the cognitive dissonance of parking and using performance metrics to make good local decisions.

John Simmerman at CNU 23

Apr 30, 2015 0:24:42


John Simmerman of Active Towns talks about his move to Austin, the Active Living tour and efforts to slow cars.

Hazel Borys

Apr 30, 2015 0:25:00


Hazel Borys of Placemakers talking about living in a northern city, the spread of form based codes and being a reluctant, but necessary, free range parent.

Lee Sobel at CNU 23

Apr 30, 2015 0:27:03


Lee Sobel talking about the fiscal analysis tool he is working on at RCLCO and his study of Pedestrian Malls 2.0.

Steve Mouzon at CNU 23

Apr 30, 2015 0:29:16


Steve Mouzon talking about the Original Green, his new book, Cuba and a rescue project in Bahamas.

Dan Parolek

Apr 30, 2015 0:29:11


Dan Parolek is Principal at Opticos Design in Berkley, CA. Opticos is the force behind, a website devoted to reintroducing the housing and building types that were ubquitous in the human scaled development era, and nearly extinct for the last 60 years. The website shows pictures and diagrams of duplexes, quadplexes, bungalow courts, courtyard housing and more.

Ask Strong Towns at CNU 23

Apr 30, 2015 1:35:14


Andrew Burleson and Chuck Marohn manage to waste 90 minutes talking about nothing of any real importance. There are some book recommendations, discussion on Hardcore History, a Meriwether Lewis biography and some reflection on the purpose of CNU.

Cynthia Nikitin at CNU 23

Apr 29, 2015 0:29:01


Cynthia Nikitin of Project for Public Spaces on the Citizen's Institute on Rural Design, the unique challenges of small towns and the importants of arts in creative placemaking.

Johnny Sanphillippo at CNU 23

Apr 29, 2015 0:41:25


Johnny Sanphillippo of Granola Shotgun talks about why old urbanism is better and easier, why "Go West" is being replaced by "Go East" and the upside of failure. Johnny is a long time supporter of Strong Towns and a regular contributor to the blog.

Jason Roberts at CNU 23

Apr 29, 2015 0:35:13


Jason Roberts of The Better Block talking about his home town of Dallas, traveling and sharing the message around the world. the implications of the Law of the Indies and how to bring about better buildings.

Jen Krouse at CNU 23

Apr 29, 2015 0:23:32


Jen Krouse, Strong Towns contributor, talking about her move from North Adams to Memphis, working within the mayor's office, Bass Pro, big bets, the Cheat Sheet for an Agile Nation and her startup efforts.

Street Plans Collaborative at CNU 23

Apr 29, 2015 0:23:57


Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia from Street Plans Collaborative talking about their new book, Tactical Urbanism as well as their work in San Francisco, Miami and Ponderay.

Verdunity at CNU 23

Apr 29, 2015 0:30:55


Kristin Green and Kevin Shepherd from the Dallas-based engineering and planning firm Verdunity talk about doing fiscally-based comprehensive plans, green infrastructure and the CNU Legacy Charettes.

Brainerd Council President Gary Scheeler

Apr 23, 2015 1:10:25


The council president of Chuck's hometown of Brainerd, MN, Gary Scheeler, stops in the studio to talk about the future of the city. The conversation gets heated in the way you would expect with two passionate Minnesotans. 

Steven Shultis on Urban Schools

Apr 16, 2015 1:12:50


Our friend and Strong Towns member Steven Shultis from Springfield, Massachusetts, joins Chuck this week to talk about his experience as a parent of children in an urban school system.

Get more on this subject from Steve's site at Rational Urbanism.

Loose Ends

Apr 9, 2015 0:56:22


Chuck does a solo podcast this week in an attempt to tie together a bunch of loose ends.

John Dominic Crossan

Apr 2, 2015 1:06:27


This week New Testament scholar, historian and author John Dominic Crossan returns to the podcast to talk about his latest book, How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian: Struggling with Divine Violence from Genesis through Revelation.

Sam Western

Mar 19, 2015 0:50:11


The American West is a unique and fascinating place. This week Chuck is joined by Sam Western, author, poet and correspondent for the Economist, to talk about the American West.

Heidi Johnson-Wright on the ADA

Mar 12, 2015 0:54:41


This week Chuck talks to Heidi Johnson-Wright, an ADA coordinator in Miami Dade County, about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Patrick Kennedy on a walkable Dallas/For Worth

Mar 5, 2015 0:59:10


This week Chuck has a long overdue conversation with Patrick Kennedy, an urban designer advocating for more walkable/bikable neighborhoods in one of the country's most car-focused cities. They discuss the controversial Highway 345 project in Dallas as well as the Trinity Toll Road, among other things.

You'll want to follow Patrick on Twitter at @walkableDFW as well as read his well-respected work at D Magazine's Street/Smart blog.

Russ Roberts on Adam Smith

Feb 26, 2015 0:54:01


The host of EconTalk, Russell Roberts of Stanford University's Hoover Institute (Twitter / personal website), joins the podcast to talk about his latest book, How Adam Smith can change your life: An unexpected guide to human nature and happiness.

Joe Cortright on Gentrification

Feb 19, 2015 0:39:03


Joe Cortright of City Observatory talks about their report -- Lost in Place -- explaining why consistent and concentrated poverty -- not gentrification -- is America's biggest urban challenge.

Member Profile: Jace Deloney

Feb 17, 2015 0:15:08


Jace Deloney (@jacedeloney) is the Web Content Manager at Invodo in Austin, Texas, and a passionate advocate for Strong Towns. He is a member of our Founder's Circle and has played a part in bringing Strong Towns to Austin on four occasions. 

Can you be an engineer and speak out for reform?

Feb 12, 2015 1:04:04


Chuck Marohn talks about the complaint made against him to the state licensing board for speaking out about reforming the engineering profession.

America Answers

Feb 5, 2015 0:54:22


Politicians on the left and right struggle to speak coherently about transportation infrastructure.

The antifragile city (Part 2)

Jan 29, 2015 0:55:56


A continued look at a Nassim Nicholas Taleb speech titled Small is Beautiful, but also Less Fragile. This is part two, Last week's episode can be heard here.

The antifragile city (Part 1)

Jan 22, 2015 0:49:50


This week Chuck Marohn dissects a speech that Nassim Nicholas Taleb gave recently titled Small is Beautiful, but also Less Fragile. This is part one of two on this subject.

Chuck on Ken Rose

Jan 15, 2015 1:03:06


Chuck Marohn made a full hour appearance on Ken Rose's radio show What Now.

Show 200 Q&A

Jan 8, 2015 1:03:40


For our 200th show, we asked listeners to submit questions for Chuck to answer. 

Just Another Pedestrian Killed

Dec 18, 2014 1:07:54


Chuck Marohn and Andrew Burleson sit down to discuss a tragedy in Springfield, Mass, where a mom and two girls were hit by a drunk driver on an urban stroad. The seven-year-old girl was killed and the other seriously injured. Marohn and Burleson discuss the engineering profession's approach to safety, the implications for those outside of an automobile and how our approach needs reform if we are truly build safe, productive places.

Donations can be made to the family through this website.

Live from New York

Dec 10, 2014 0:48:25


Andrew Burleson and Jim Kumon sit down with Chuck Marohn in an AirBnB in Brooklyn to talk about the future of the Strong towns movement.

Strength Test

Dec 4, 2014 1:22:27


Jim Kumon joins Chuck Marohn to discuss the Strong Towns Strength Test and how it can be applied to measure the strength and resiliency of a place.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie, Take 2

Nov 20, 2014 1:10:50


Engineer and shared-space designer Ben Hamilton-Baillie returns to the podcast to talk about how to get started with building shared space, the chances of success in the United States and some memories of his father, a World War II veteran who lead and assisted a number of escapes from German prisoner-of-war camps.

You can follow Ben Hamilton-Baillie on Twitter, see more of his work on his firm’s website and watch the video, Poyton Regenerated, that was discussed in the podcast. The book about the escape Jock Hamilton-Baillie was invovled in is called Zero Night by Mark Felton. It is a really good read.

Member Profile: Hans Noeldner

Nov 15, 2014 0:20:25


Hans Noeldner - energy and environmental activist - talks about winter biking, transportation as a social justice issue and getting started living a Strong Towns life.

This week is our membership drive. Become a member of Strong Towns by going to

Member Profile: Mike Christensen

Nov 15, 2014 0:19:12


Mike Christensen, graduate student at the University of Utah, talks about meeting Chuck at CNU, working as a GIS professional and connecting with people on social meeting.

This is our membership week. Sign up to be a member by going to

Member Profile: Gracen Johnson

Nov 14, 2014 0:14:30


Gracen Johnson - Place Activator from New Brunswick - talks about promoting good ideas, working with Strong Towns and how worms have brought her closer to her neighbors.

Become a member of Strong Towns today by going to

Member Profile: Sara Joy Proppe

Nov 14, 2014 0:15:47


Sara Joy Proppe, project manager at Schaefer Richardson, talks about her neighborhood work, volunteering and why churches are strong, yet largely untapped, resources for cities. Proppe is also working on the Proximity Project based out of Minneapolis.

Become a member of Strong Towns today by going to


Member Profile: Michael McGinn

Nov 13, 2014 0:14:28


Michael McGinn -- attorney, neighborhood activist and former Mayor of Seattle -- talks about his journey from bike riding dad to mayor and the power of a Strong Towns approach to improve the financial and environmental health of a community.

Become a member of Strong Towns today by going to

Member Profile: John Reuter

Nov 13, 2014 0:14:52


John Reuter, Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho, talks about how the Strong Towns message can help with conservation and how well it resonates in small towns.

Member Profile: Kerry Hayes

Nov 12, 2014 0:16:05


Kerry Hayes, Public Relations Director at Doug Carpenter and Associates in Memphis, Tennessee, talks about his neighborhood and the influence that Strong Towns has had on the local conversation.

Become a member of Strong Towns today by going to

Member Profile: Erika Ragsdale

Nov 12, 2014 0:12:30


Erika Ragsdale, Senior Planner with the city of Hutto, Texas, talks about her fast-growing city and how the Strong Towns fiscal message resonates with local leaders.

Member Profile: Jim Kumon

Nov 11, 2014 0:20:00


Strong Towns Executive Director -- and member -- Jim Kumon reflects on the 18 months since he signed up, the National Gathering and what he sees in the future for the organization.

Become a member of Strong Towns today by going to

Member Profile: Andrew Burleson

Nov 10, 2014 0:19:10


Strong Towns member and new board member Andrew Burleson from Raleigh, North Carolina, talks about why he is a member of Strong Towns and what he sees for the future of the organization.

Become a member of Strong Towns today by going to

Dave Runyon

Nov 6, 2014 0:38:41


This week the podcast features a conversation with Dave Runyon (twitter), Executive Director of City Unite and co-author of the book The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door.

The Art of Neighboring has a great website with a lot of resources including a copy of the Who is My Neighbor block map and a Neighborhood Block Party Kit. You can also connect with the movement on Facebook.

Steve Mouzon

Oct 30, 2014 1:02:15


The Original Green, Steve Mouzon (twitter) joins Chuck this week to preview his upcoming event -- New Media Workshop in Celebration, Florida -- and to swap tips on using social media for advocacy.

Some of the sites discussed in the podcast include:

BufferTweetdeckVineKloutOG.tvPinterestDigital Goods

Strong Towns Talking Transit

Oct 9, 2014 1:33:58


This year at Railvolution in Minneapolis, Strong Towns set up an off-site panel to discuss transit issues from a Strong Towns perspective. In addition to Jim Kumon and Chuck Marohn, we inited some thinkers who -- while they don't necessarily agree with us 100% -- we think are thought leaders in a modern transit approach. Joining us are Jeff Wood from San Francisco, Christof Spieler of Houston, and Yonah Freemark of Chicago.

National Gathering

Oct 2, 2014 0:45:37


Strong Towns board members Andrew Burleson and John Reuter reflect on the National Gathering with Jim Kumon while taking in the Minneapolis Open Streets event.

Jim Kunstler

Sep 25, 2014 0:54:07


Our friend Jim Kunstler joins the podcast this week to talk about his latest book, A History of the Future, the latest in his World Made by Hand series. 

You can get a copy of the book at bookstores near you or online at:

Battenkill Books (autographed)Northshire BookstoreAmazon

Eric Jacobson

Sep 11, 2014 0:52:39


This week on the podcast features Eric Jacobson, author of The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Rev. Jacobsen is the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism and the holder of a doctorate in Theology and the Built Environment.

Designed to Decline

Sep 4, 2014 1:11:33


This week Chuck Marohn talks about how auto-oriented communities are designed to decline, an effect that we can see clearly in places like Ferguson, Missouri.

Talking Cities

Aug 28, 2014 0:55:54


This episode was recorded at CNU 22 in Buffalo. Participating are Jason Roberts (twitter) of The Better Block, Mike Lydon (twitter) from Street Plans Collaborative, Chuck Marohn (twitter) of Strong Towns and Joe Mnicozzi (twitter) of Urban-3. You can also watch the video of this conversation thanks to Gracen Johnson.


Aug 21, 2014 0:57:04


Chuck digs into the Strong Townns mailbad to answer some of the questions submitted by members. If you are a member, you can submit your questions to Ask Strong Towns and we'll answer them on the podcast or the blog. If you're not a member of Strong Towns yet, what are you waiting for

Kristen Jeffers

Aug 14, 2014 0:50:28


This week Kristen Jeffers, the Black Urbanist, joins the podcast to share insights on her work, the city of Greensboro, investing in neighborhoods without leaving people behind and more.

You can follow Kristen on Twitter and read more from her at The Black Urbanist and North Carolina Placebook.

Kevin Klinkenberg: Why I Walk

Aug 7, 2014 0:35:00


This week Chuck talks with Kevin Klinkenberg about his upcoming book, Why I Walk: Taking a Step in the Right Direction. You can follow Kevin and his work at as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Federal Highway Trust Fund

Jul 31, 2014 1:09:04


This week Chuck does a solo podcast talking about the Federal Highway Trust Fund and the implications of its pending insolvency.

Additional reading: Some perspective on the gas tax

Show Santiago Garces

Jul 25, 2014 0:43:03


Santiago Garces, who heads the Data, Performance and Innovation program at the city of South Bend, talks with Chuck about how technology can help local governments do more with less.

Show CNU NextGen Roundtable

Jul 17, 2014 1:07:58


This, our last podcast from CNU 22 in Buffalo, is the NextGen Roundtable, a discussion that began with Chuck Marohn and Gracen Johnson and went in all sorts of crazy directions. 

Show Peatonito & John Yung

Jul 10, 2014 0:40:42


This week’s podcast is a double header starting with the first super hero ever to appear on a Strong Towns Podcast (still waiting on Cap’n Transit), the Mexican pedestrian advocate Peatonito. Then we’re joined by the slightly more reserved, but equally cool, John Yung of the site UrbanCincy.

Show John Anderson

Jul 3, 2014 0:46:36


John Anderson of Anderson|Kim Architecture and Urban Design joins the podcast this week to talk about development in a post-easy money world. Get out the title for your Tercel, put your pro-forma together and listen to a fascinating conversation. 

Show Ben Hamilton-Baillie

Jun 26, 2014 0:42:43


Ben Hamilton-Baillie, street designer and shared space advocate, joins the podcast from CNU 22 in Buffalo to talk about shared space, his memories of Hans Monderman and hopes for American transportation. This is a very special podcast you are not going to want to miss.

You can follow Ben Hamilton-Baillie on Twitter, see more of his work on his firm’s website and watch the video, Poyton Regenerated, that was discussed in the podcast.

This week is our membership drive. If you appreciate the content we provide, please consider supporting us by becoming a member

Fifty by Friday

Jun 24, 2014 0:04:12


A special message to our podcast listeners from Chuck Marohn.

Show Lynn Richards

Jun 20, 2014 0:43:43


From CNU 22 in Buffalo, Chuck is joined this week by the incoming president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Lynn Richards. They discuss Lynn’s background (really fascinating), how she became interested in leading the CNU and what she looks to accomplish in the position.

You can follow Lynn on Twitter at @lrichardsCNU.

Show Sally Flocks from PEDS

Jun 13, 2014 0:44:46


Sally Flocks of the Atlanta-based pedestrian advocacy group PEDS joins the podcast this week to talk about Atlanta, pedestrian advocacy and strategies for making places more walkable.

Show Chuck on Transit

May 22, 2014 1:05:06


Chuck goes solo this week on the podcast talking about Strong Towns happenings at CNU 22 and his thoughts on transit following comments he made recently in San Antonio.

Another Place for Chuck

May 8, 2014 0:52:33


Gracen Johnson of Another Place for Me is in the studio for this week’s podcast with Chuck Marohn talking about Brainerd, MN, and whether we ultimately need Another Place for Chuck.

CNU 22 Preview

May 1, 2014 0:34:03


This week we preview CNU 22 in Buffalo with two members of the host committee, Chuck Banas and Chris Hawley. You can register for CNU on the congress website.

Strong Towns will have a large presence at CNU this year, with podcast interviews, members meetups and we kick it off with a mini Boot Camp. We hope to see you there.

Kristin Green of Verdunity

Apr 17, 2014 0:48:03


We are really proud to be associated with some amazing people who are working hard to advance the principles of Strong Towns in their chosen profession. This week on the podcast we have a conversation with Kristin Green, the dynamic and visionary leader of the Texas-based engineering firm, Verdunity. Kristin and her colleagues brought the Strong Towns Curbside Chat to the Dallas area earlier this year and, in partnership with them, we are planning a return trip this October. They are pioneers in their field and it is a real pleasure to be able to share this conversation with you.

Verdunity combines the concepts of “green” (verde) with community in an effort to restore the balance between urban and natural systems and create long term prosperity for the communities they work with. They are a sponsor of Strong Towns and we are grateful for their ongoing support and their pioneering approach.


Our mission is to support a model of growth that allows America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods become financially strong and resilient. If you are an organization doing compelling work consistent with the principles of Strong Towns and would be interested in supporting our efforts to build a stronger America, please contact our Executive Director, Jim Kumon, to discuss ways we can potentially work together.

Julie Flynn on the Mercados Project

Apr 10, 2014 0:43:52


This week Julie Flynn of the Street Plans Collaborative joins Chuck Marohn to talk about her latest publication, Mercado: Lessons from 20 Markets Across South America.

Mike Lydon

Apr 3, 2014 0:49:12


Mike Lydon of Street Plans Collaborative talks about his Tactical Urbanism, his unique career path and what life is like on a bike in New York City.

Marohn on Transportation

Mar 27, 2014 1:17:21


Andrew Burleson interviews our own Chuck Marohn in studio on transportation and how we transition from a system that emphasizes building new to one that maintains key systems over time.

Catching up with Chuck Marohn

Mar 26, 2014 0:22:53


Andrew Burleson visits Brainerd and sits down in studio to interview Chuck Marohn and find out where he's been (and where the Strong Towns podcast has been). A podcast short with a longer episode on transportation to follow tomorrow.

Lou Huang on Code for America

Feb 21, 2014 0:49:41


This week Code for America fellow Lou Huang joins us to talk about the organization and their popular application, Streetmix. You can contact Lou through his website

James Howard Kunstler

Feb 7, 2014 0:42:38


Author and commentator James Howard Kunstler joins the podcast this week to talk about the economy, Federal Reserve interventions and the impact to local communities. Jim also provides an update on his new book, the third installment of the World Made by Hand series. The book, A History of the Future, is scheduled for a September 2014 release.

You can follow Jim, read his blog and find all of his books on his website at

Show Rick Rybeck on Value Capture

Jan 30, 2014 1:05:41


Attorney and job creation, transportation efficiency and economic development expert Rick Rybeck joins Chuck Marohn to talk about taxes, fees and creating incentives for a better land use approach. You can find out more about Rick and his work at

The Hunger Games

Jan 23, 2014 0:53:59


Gracen Johnson from Another Place for Me talks with Chuck Marohn about The Hunger Games series and how the insights apply to Strong Towns thinking.

Update from Jim Kumon

Jan 17, 2014 1:05:14


Strong Towns Executive Director Jim Kumon joins Chuck Marohn this week to look back at 2013 and provide a preview of what's coming up for Strong Towns.

Conversation with a Mayor

Jan 9, 2014 1:04:20


Chuck appeared on Tri-State Viewpoint, a radio show out of Huntington, WV, and shared audio and reactions from his conversation with two confused, and thankfully former, mayors.

Eli Damon

Dec 20, 2013 0:40:51


Cycling advocate Eli Damon is back on the podcast to update us on his 

Dean Klinkenberg

Dec 3, 2013 0:43:02


Mississippi traveler and author Dean Klinkenberg is the guest on this week's podcast. Dean has spent many years traveling the Mississippi river and he provides his insights, assessments and thoughts for the future of this important waterway. You can follow Dean's work on his blog at

Dean Klinkenberg has written the Mississippi Valley Traveler series, which currently includes three books that cover portions of four states along the Mississippi River (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota).

The Quad Cities Travel Guide, released in June 2009, has 128 pages of detail on the cities of Bettendorf, Davenport, Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Hampton, Pleasant Valley, and Riverdale, plus a separate section on Arsenal Island.The Lansing to LeClaire Travel Guide was released in November, 2009. The 360-page book has detailed information for 47 historic communities like McGregor/Marquette and Dubuque, Iowa, plus Galena, Illinois and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.The Driftless Area: Along the Mississippi River from Hastings, Minnesota to Lansing, Iowa and has 376 pages of local history with listings of attractions, restaurants, and places to stay for 54 communities like Red Wing, Wabasha, and Winona in Minnesota, La Crosse, Trempealeau, and Alma in Wisconsin, and the villages around Lake Pepin.

These books and more can be purchased directly from the Mississippi River Traveler site.

Neighborhoods First

Nov 23, 2013 0:55:21


Chuck Marohn and Justin Burslie discuss A Better Brainerd their recent report titled Neighborhoods First.

Don't be stupid

Nov 11, 2013 0:40:12


Inspired by a pimped out roundabout in a Wisconsin cornfield, Chuck calls on the engineering profession to do something radical: engineer.

And please support us during our membership drive by becoming a member of Strong Towns.

John Dominic Crossan

Oct 24, 2013 1:11:33


Scholar and author John Dominic Crossan joins Chuck Marohn to talk about the study of the historical Jesus, his books The Power of Parable and The Greatest Prayer and what the teachings of Jesus have to teach us about community today.

Economic Gardening with Chris Gibbons

Oct 10, 2013 0:44:57


Special guest Chris Gibbons talks about Economic Gardening, the early days of success and failure in Littleton, CO, the nationwide movement today and how to get involved. This is a far reaching conversation that demonstrates why the smart money in local economic development is in Economic Gardening.


The Edward Lowe Foundation's Economic Gardening site



Chris Gibbons on Twitter and LinkedIn



Economic Gardening Google Group (news and updates)



Email Jessica Nelson at the Lowe Foundation



Email Chris Gibbons for more information


Leigh Gallagher

Oct 3, 2013 0:49:21


Author of The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, Leigh Gallagher, joins Chuck Marohn this week to talk about her book, her research and the reaction to her insights on America's post World War II development pattern.

Steve Mouzon

Sep 27, 2013 0:43:00


This week on the podcast, Chuck interviews Original Green Steve Mouzon about his new book, New Media for Designers + Builders. Released today, the book explores the new and old media and provides the individual or small organization critical advice for how to project ideas into the modern marketplace. You can get a copy of New Media for Designers + Builders here. As you would expect from Steve, the book is beautifully written and illustrated. It is an easy read, yet has a ton of depth and insight. New Media for Designers + Builders is thick with content and, for those wanting more, Steve has set up a website full of extras that you can dive into with a simple click. A pure pleasure.

And surprisingly (or perhaps not surprisingly), Steve’s Original Green philosophy shines through and applies quite nicely to the realm of media and communications. While it was not his objective to write “original green for marketing,” Steve shows how simple, genuine and persistent rues the day over slick, packaged and ubiquitous. If you’re struggling with a marketing/advertising budget that is not getting you the results you are paying for, New Media for Designers + Builders will help you understand why.

And it will also show you what to do about it. At Strong Towns, we’re generally considered pretty decent at this whole new media thing. Well, I learned a ton from this book and am already working to improve our approach here and accelerate the spread of the Strong Towns movement. Congratulations to one of our good friends, Steve Mouzon, on this accomplishment. His work continues to break down barriers and make the world a better place.

Rich versus Wealthy

Sep 21, 2013 0:50:52


This week Joe Minicozzi and Josh McCarty join Chuck Marohn from Chapel Hill to talk about what makes a financially productive place and the difference between a community getting rich and growing wealthy. 

Rational Responses

Sep 12, 2013 1:07:24


Andrew Burleson joins Chuck Marohn this week to share his harowing plane story (failed engine on takeoff) and talk about the latest series on the Strong Towns Blog, Rational Responses. Bonus: Best intro music yet.

The Outspoken Cyclist

Sep 5, 2013 0:29:18


This week we share an interview of Chuck Marohn from the Outspoken Cyclist, a radio show out of Cleveland, Ohio. You can listen to the outspoken cyclist each week online at 


Aug 29, 2013 0:49:39


There is an epidemic failure to understand what creates value within our cities. Applying the approach of baseball sabermetrics to our places reveals important truths.

The Springfield Casino

Aug 8, 2013 1:06:11


Steven Shultis of the blog joins Chuck Marohn to talk about competing casino proposals in Massachusetts, including one in downtown Springfield that is surprisingly well done.

CNU Tidbits

Aug 8, 2013 0:39:47


Some miscellaneous interviews and speeches from CNU 21 in Salt Lake City. Speakers include (in order) Edward Erfurt, Will Dowdy, Andrew Burleson, Nate Hood, Faith Cable Kumon, Howard Blackson, Kevin Klinkenberg, Jen Krouse and John Anderson.

CNU 21 Closing Plenary

Jul 25, 2013 0:36:20


Chuck Marohn's speech during the closing plenary at CNU 21 in Salt Lake City. We've also uploaded the audio along with the timed slides as a YouTube video.

Big Ideas

Jul 22, 2013 0:39:20


From the Peery Hotel at CNU 21, Chuck Marohn talks with people about their big ideas. Special guests include Grant Humphries, Karja Hansen of Ioby, Howard Blackson of Placemakers, John Anderson of Anderson|Kim and Ian Rasmussen of Urban Cartographics.