100 episodes

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 at www.StrongTowns.org.

The Strong Towns Podcast Strong Towns

    • Government
    • 4.7, 206 Ratings

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 at www.StrongTowns.org.

    Strip Mall

    Strip Mall

    What a new strip mall reveals about the massive disconnect between what's "good" for the macro-economy and what's actually good for a local community.
     
    Reminder: The subscription bundle for the Strong Towns Academy is only available through Friday, June 5, 2020. This is your chance to get all nine courses at 83% off the a la carte price. These courses unpack the Strong Towns approach to everything from transportation and housing, to economic development and public engagement, and more. Get more information here: https://academy.strongtowns.org/p/subscription-bundle

    • 1 hr 1 min
    A Good Life in a Prosperous Place

    A Good Life in a Prosperous Place

    On the final day of the member drive, Chuck discusses what success means for the Strong Towns movement. Sign up to become a member at strongtowns.org/membership.

    • 25 min
    Smart Cities: "Are we creating solutions looking for problems?"

    Smart Cities: "Are we creating solutions looking for problems?"

    In this special crossover edition of the Upzoned podcast, we're looking at the "smart cities" movement in general...and the ill-fated Toronto waterfront project in particular.
     
    ...
     
    A controversial project in Toronto that would have transformed “a slice of Toronto’s waterfront into a high-tech utopia” has been shut down by Sidewalk Labs (a subsidiary of Alphabet) due to "unprecedented economic uncertainty."
    “At one point,” writes Andrew J. Hawkins in The Verge, “Sidewalk Labs’ plan was to spend $1.3 billion on mass timber housing, heated and illuminated sidewalks, public Wi-Fi, and, of course, a host of cameras and other sensors to monitor traffic and street life.”
    The project had raised a variety of concerns, not least from privacy advocates, who objected to the intrusion of technology into their everyday lives. Chris Teale, a reporter at Smart Cities Dive, said the Quayside project “spawned what many called a ‘techlash’ against big tech companies asserting themselves in such a ways, and has led to a belief that future projects must be less focused on sensors and data analytics and instead look to partner better with everyone.”
    Each week, our Upzoned podcast takes one story in the news that touches the Strong Towns conversation and we “upzone” it. This week we’re looking at the smart cities movement in general—and the Quayside project in particular. Host Abby Kinney, an urban planner in Kansas City, is joined by regular co-host Chuck Marohn (president of Strong Towns) as well as by our senior editor Daniel Herriges, who has been closely following the Quayside story for years. Abby, Chuck, and Daniel discuss the allure of high-tech cities, why a lot of smart city initiatives seem designed not to serve people but rather make us better consumers, and the consequences of creating systems with built-in fragility.
    Then in the Downzone, Abby talks about the role Strong Towns has played in how Gould Evans and other leaders are building a stronger and more financially resilient Kansas City. This is Member Week at Strong Towns. If Strong Towns has helped you think about your city in ways that are truly smart, consider becoming a member today. Let’s grow this movement together: https://www.strongtowns.org/membership
     
    Additional Show Notes

    “'Techlash' at Sidewalk Labs could mean smart city rethink,” by Chris Teale


    “Is Strong Towns Anti-Smart City?” by Kea Wilson


    ”In Defense of Dumb Cities,” by Michael McGinn


    Become a Strong Towns Member


    Abby Kinney (Twitter)


    Charles Marohn (Twitter)


    Daniel Herriges (Twitter)


    Gould Evans Studio for City Design


    Theme Music by Kemet the Phantom (Soundcloud)

    • 28 min
    What do you do?

    What do you do?

    How do you actually implement a Strong Towns approach? The latest ebook from Strong Towns is The Local Leader's Toolkit: A Strong Towns Response to the Pandemic, a free guide for local leaders looking for a recovery plan for their community.
    This week is the Strong Towns Member Drive. Support the Strong Towns movement by going to www.strongtowns.org/membership.

    • 40 min
    Better Bike Infrastructure, Better Budgets

    Better Bike Infrastructure, Better Budgets

    In this special crossover edition of our It's the Little Things podcast, Strong Towns community builder Jacob Moses talks with Karl Fundenberger about his ten years of bike advocacy in Topeka. 
    As a bike advocate in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, Strong Towns member Karl Fundenberger has long advocated for little bets to boost the bikeability of Topeka. Yet, as bike advocates across North America commonly experience, city officials often considered these investments notable yet unrelated to the City’s long-term prosperity. 
    That changed, however, when Karl discovered, through Strong Towns, how streets designed to keep people on bikes safe actually boosts community wealth. Designing streets that discourage deadly speeds—a noble mission in itself—suddenly included a financial tilt, capturing the attention of the City’s budget-conscious officials. 

    Bike Topeka advocates for complete streets, a community connected via safe walking paths and biking routes, getting to know our neighbors through fun events, and moving Topeka back toward a traditional development pattern that is centuries old. - Bike Topeka

    Today, Karl and his peers run the bike advocacy organization Bike Topeka where—through group rides, book clubs, and peer support—encourage people to ride their bikes while advocating for a development pattern in which cyclists and cities’ budgets alike thrive. 
    In this episode, Karl reflects on the ten years since he joined Topeka’s bike community and shares how the Strong Towns movement has influenced his advocacy.
    Show notes:

    Bike Topeka


    Bike Topeka on Facebook


    The Economics of Development 101 with Joe Minicozzi


    Join the Strong Towns movement

    • 33 min
    You're Not Alone

    You're Not Alone

    The global pandemic is laying bare all the fragility that has built up over decades within our society. These are scary times filled with uncertainty. It’s unclear what next month will bring, let alone next year.
    Strong Towns is a bottom-up revolution to rebuild American prosperity. Thousands of people across North America are using the Strong Towns approach to make their cities stronger and more financially resilient. You’re not alone.
    Become a member of Strong Towns at strongtowns.org/membership.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
206 Ratings

206 Ratings

johnkokoris ,

Amazing resource and ideas

I consider myself very leftwing and I tend to be duped into breathlessly following the national news of the day. This podcast is therefore an extremely refreshing break from the bubble I usually inhabit, as Chuck is a much more conservative voice—without any of the baggage that has come to be associated with that word. Smart, evidence based, respectfully subversive, he does a fantastic job picking topics and guests. His book is a great overview if you’re just getting into the Strong Towns movement. This podcast gets me thinking in a way most others do not, and frequently I have to re-listen because my mind goes to so many interesting places. If you’re like me—getting interested in local issues, responsible/sustainable development, and alternative viewpoints—Chuck is truly a modern day prophet.

Rg80218 ,

Lots of men

Need more women on this podcast. But good topics thus far.

Jsluss ,

Andrew Yang/incredible podcast

I feel Andrew Yang aligns most with the strong towns message/would be a great opportunity to educate a presidential candidate in a small way! Love the podcast and how much I’m learning.

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