“When we look at our cities today, we see that we have been so obsessed with getting that dollar for that grand huge project that we’ve just overlooked the pennies, the nickels and the dimes that are just waiting to be picked up in our core neighborhoods.” – Charles Marohn
Charles Marohn, founder and president of Strong Towns, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s APWA PWX conference. For those unaware, Strong Towns is a national media nonprofit that hosts events, publishes articles, and shares weekly podcasts all with the goal of rethinking how communities can generate long-term prosperity. Charles Marohn should know; he’s Professional Engineer, a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a published author, and has been considering this very question for a while now.
“After I got out of engineering school I was ready to go build a great America. It was actually going out and working for an engineer for a number of years and seeing that even in places that were experiencing incredibly high rates of growth, that growth was not making us wealthy. It was not giving us prosperity,” says Marohn. “I started asking some really hard questions. Why, even though we’re doing these projects and we’re creating jobs and economic development and all the things that these programs are set up for, are we’re not seeing the long term success? That got me asking questions about the money we spend, the money we get back, how the tax systems encourage certain types of investments and not others.”
Strong Towns works to address the issues of America’s land use and the financial procedures to allocate funds to different communities by advocating for: a functioning transportation system that promotes prosperity in a community, job creation and economic growth as a result of a healthy local community, long term prosperity through financial solvency, the proper management of land and resources, and other beneficial principals that strengthen communities.
To date Strong Towns has released over 300 podcasts, published posts on the daily, and had over 6,000 people attend Strong Towns events in 23 states and Canada in the last year alone. To fully understand the influence Strong Towns has, however, one need look no further than the testimonies of their members.
“Our community has recently gone through an assessment of our downtown to attempt to revitalize. Strong Towns gave me tools and language to address our planning committee and planners, and resources to point to as I began to engage city officials. It also equipped me to begin this process, identify who to approach and how, get involved in local government, not as a partisan but just as a concerned citizen who can work for change.” ~ Curran Bishop, Carbondale, IL
“Strong Towns has the potential to cut through all that murkiness with its clear, concise explanations of how we got here and move us more quickly to the path of recovery. They are performing a vital service to our country.” ~ Susan Horst, Bellingham, WA
Innovation is most often all about rejecting complacency and constantly questioning our prescribed methods and procedures. Charles Marohn and Strong Towns do just that, challenging the status quo in order to create stronger local communities with a chance for long-term prosperity and possibilities. This is why we’ve named Charles Marohn our “Featured Innovator of the Month.” We are very excited to hear him speak at PWX 2016!
Note: Charles Marohn does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.