Strong Towns’ Chuck Marohn in DTLA, Pasadena Next Week

Civil engineer and planning reformer Charles “Chuck” Marohn says small, incremental growth is more prosperous than large business parks, which he cautions can be a "Ponzi scheme." (Samuel Western/WyoFile — click to enlarge)
Strong Towns Chuck Marohn

One of my livability heroes, Chuck Marohn, is in Los Angeles next week giving a couple of talks. Marohn is the brains behind the organization Strong Towns. Marohn is a planner and engineer who is doing some of the most original, most valuable, most common sense thinking on urbanism and transportation.

I’ve learned a lot from Chuck Marohn’s articles and podcasts. He is insightful and often funny. Among his insights are looking at big roads from a fiscal perspective. I have long argued against conventional traffic engineering priorities from an environmental and safety perspective; Marohn taught me how this ill-considered infrastructure is also a huge fiscal drag on cities.

On Wednesday, February 17, the L.A. chapter of the American Planning Association hosts a Charles Marohn talk entitled “Transportation in the Next American City.” The event takes place at 7 p.m. at the SoCal Gas Tower Conference Area at 555 West 5th Street in downtown L.A. It is free for APA and Strong Towns members and students; tickets are $10 for non-members. Register here.

Here is the blurb from Strong Towns:

For more than six decades, local governments have been accustomed to building new transportation infrastructure, expanding existing systems in addition to constructing completely new facilities. While liabilities have grown, transportation funding has not kept up. Now there is a desperate need for local governments to shift from building to maintaining, from an approach that emphasizes expansion to one where we mature our use of existing investments. In difficult economic times, this is a scary, but necessary, realignment.

Join Strong Towns founder Charles “Chuck” Marohn and explore the relationship between a city or region’s long-range fiscal health and its transportation investment strategy.  Specifically, Chuck will make a budgetary case for prioritizing investments such as walkable streets in the central cores. He’ll address how these investments can protect local budgets, control the rise of property taxes, protect long-term affordability, and provide for enduring prosperity.

On Thursday, February 18, the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association hosts Chuck Marohn giving his renowned Curbside Chat. The event takes place at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church’s Gamble Lounge at 585 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. The event is free, but pre-registration is encouraged.

Strong Towns describes the Curbside Chat as addressing these kinds of questions:

  • Why are our cities and towns so short of resources despite decades of robust growth?
  • Why do we struggle at the local level just to maintain our basic infrastructure?
  • What do we do now that the economy has changed so dramatically?

The answers lie in the way we have developed; the financial productivity of our places. This stunning presentation is a game-changer for communities looking to grow more resilient and obtain true prosperity during changing times.

Don’t miss Chuck Marohn next week! Register today. What are you waiting for?

 

  • That’s very kind and generous — thank you. I look forward to meeting you and everyone else.

    Plus, it’s 20 below zero here this morning and I’ve heard a rumor that things might be a little more temperate there. Perhaps?

  • Matt R

    Thank you Charles for coming out. You brought the cold with you!
    Charles gave a wonderful presentation last night on his vision of transportation that is sorely needed. Here’s just one take-away from his presentation that people need to consider:

    An engineer will design a community project by approaching it in formulaic ways that starts with traffic volume considerations, then traffic speeds, then safety and then cost (in that order). This is not only backwards but it is really killing our communities because are building communities for the car, not the people. We should be building projects based on: Safety, then cost, then traffic volume, and then traffic speed. We are doing it backwards, and the results are evident in every project based on that bad formula: they have plenty of road space, fast moving cars, too much parking, and no people, and no thriving community businesses.

  • Marcotico

    I may sound like a broken record, but I started using a formulation in presentations that was very much inspired by Charles Marohn and others like him.

    Engineering is a problem solving profession. So how do we change the problem from: “How do we move the highest number of vehicles, through the system, at the highest speed, with optimal collision avoidance?” to “How do we move the highest number of people, within the system, with the highest convenience, with optimal safety and wellness outcomes?”

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