TMBA 388: Why We Need Strong Towns

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Podcast 47:09 | Download | Stitcher | iTunes | Comment

In some ways, Dan and Ian have used this show as a means to explore different places, although never in quite the same way as today’s guest.

Chuck Marohn is the president of a nonprofit organization called Strong Towns. Through that work Chuck has helped create a framework for how our cities and towns can become financially stronger and more prosperous.

Today’s podcast is an inspiring, and perhaps controversial, conversation about what kinds of towns and cities we want to live in, and what those places might look like in the future.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How Chuck first learned about the infrastructure problem in the United States. (5:50)
  • Why modern American engineering has revolved around cars. (11:23)
  • What kind of relationships developers have with the towns that they work in. (19:52)
  • Why Chuck believes that Detroit is an example of the direction that most American cities are headed. (24:57)
  • How Chuck got started with Strong Towns and what his vision is for the future of the project. (42:01)

Mentioned in the episode:

This week’s sponsor:

A big thanks to Growth Ninja – this episode’s sponsor. Are you looking for a reliable and hands-off way to scale your company’s revenue? Growth Ninja is an industry proven Facebook ad service that can explode your sales funnel.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST. Cheers, Dan & Ian

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Published on 05.11.17
  • John
  • I really enjoyed this episode. A few thoughts on it/related topics…

    There was mention that “the people that are benefiting from our towns/cities aren’t those that live there”. I know it wasn’t what was intended, but it’s something that many PT’s (Perpetual Traveler, Permanent Tourist, etc) believe in. That is, tourists (who bring money to spend) are treated better than residents (who are viewed to be a “drain” on the muni/state). I wrote about PT’s here if it’s of interest:

    But more importantly, since travelling I’ve been really interested in how smaller countries tend to do better than larger countries in a lot of ways. Take Australia, it can’t supply every single one of it’s residents a reliable, high speed internet connection at a competitive cost. The population is so spread out. My new home of Andorra is the complete opposite – everyone is in such a small space it’s comparatively easy to run fiber into everyone’s house.

    I was in disbelief the first time I caught an MRT in Singapore. We had the futuristic O-Bahn in Adelaide(, now 30 years old. Public transport sucks in South Australia. Ever so slowly commuting to work on a bicycle is becoming a little bit safer.

    Brunei, UAE, Singapore, San Marino, Malta, Monaco, Switzerland, Macau, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Hong Kong.

    It’s not as though these countries don’t have any problems at all, but typically they are doing better than other countries in their respective regions.

    One thing I’ve heard is in smaller countries, local government spending is done by people in your community (think about the small canton’s of Switzerland). If these people go and blow $5,000,000 on some BS contract, people know who to blame, so spending is much more responsible. If someone does that in Ontario for example, it’s not the same sort of small community that has been affected.

    I’ve been attracted to towns or countries that enjoy plentiful tourism. Often small places with closer communities, but the tourism dollars and demand requires much better infrastructure than they would have if they were an average country town. It’s just a shame that everywhere can’t be a tourist hot spot.

  • I’ve been complaining for a while about the outdated way of regenerating inner cities by expanding the outskirts and eating out every single land resource available.

    I even thought that builders should include in the price of the property the cost of demolishing (paid into a fund that keeps up with demolition costs) so that down the line in 30/40 years the cost of building were it’s already built is Cheaper/same price as expanding the town’s surface.

    Then I got to Johannesburg, where Propertuity, a private initiative, has done exactly that with Maboneng Precinct, block by block, street by street, school by school, shop by shop, caffe by caffe, keeping it local, keeping it affordable and gentrificating the area organically, an area that was PERCEIVED as one of the most dangerous inner cities in the world. All with a laissez faire actitud from the Municipality.

    I really like where the podcast is going… ;)

  • SouthOfTheBorder

    +1 for small countries and city states. Not only often the best run and least corrupt. They also tend to respect their citizens the most.

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