Charles Marohn, the Founder and President of Strong Towns (, discussed how to build stronger communities for the 21st century.  He provided an insightful understanding of the implications of how and why cities grow as they do.  In turn, this knowledge allows citizens and community leaders shape a more resilient, community-focused, and value-additive future for our city.  Mr. Marohn also discussed the value of urban development, and shared insights on transportation networks.

Today's Program Highlights
Charles Marohn is a professional engineer who spends time helping cities across the nation analyze city growth and the patterns associated with it.  Mr. Marohn believes, which the facts support, that outward growth will eventually led to a financial drain on a city's economy.  Charles Marohn believes that we are good at building things, which creates and "illusion of wealth." Cities favor large-scale finished projects over more organic, incremental growth.  
The problem remains when the cost to keep up this rate of growth. The trend has created homes and businesses in the outskirts of cities which cost more to maintain than they provide in tax revenue.   The more we experience rapid growth this way, the poorer we become.  This creates a serious implication for our future.  Local governments are being forced to absorb the local costs of the current development pattern.  This can’t be done in the current pattern of development without large tax increases and/or large cuts in services.
Many cities are left with the question of what do we maintain and what do we let go?  Mr. Marohn believes that history can teach us a lot.  We need to start small and build incrementally.  We need to create a financially productive structure pattern in which spend money closer to the core of the city where projects are more likely to pay a better return on investment or invest small incremental amounts on projects that won't brake the bank if they don't succeed.  
Furthermore, cities often design transportation systems in which the roadways create congestion; especially during rush hour.  Mr. Marohn advocates in building a forgiving design roadway.  
Streets are designed to:
1.  Slow traffic
2.  Prioritize pedestrians, bikers, transit over automobiles
3.  Intensify adjacent land use
4.  Embrace complexity
Roads are designed to:
1.  Limit access
2.  Segregate automobiles from other modes
3.  Do not allow adjacent land use to degrade capacity
4.  Simplify
Charles Marohn, “Chuck”, to friends and colleagues, is a licensed Professional Engineer and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, holding a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, both from the University of Minnesota. Marohn is the lead author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns — Volume 1 and Volume 2 — as well as A World Class Transportation System. He hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America.

Chuck grew up on a small farm in Central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he joined the Minnesota National Guard on his 17th birthday during his junior year of high school and served for nine years. In addition to being passionate about building a stronger America, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader and religiously follows his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins.

Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters and two Samoyeds in their hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Program for March 12, 2018
Marla Meyer, CEO, Girl Scouts Dakota Horizon