It’s this week: Strong Towns Conference and keynote speaker Charles Marohn, on cities, streets, and sprawl.


The Strong Towns Conference takes place in Louisville this week. I REALLY WANT TO GO, but I’m just not sure it can be done.

Crossing my fingers …

First, a little about Charles Marohn, and information on the Strong Towns Conference. Then, one small but telling excerpt from the interview.

Ahead of Strong Towns Conference, Charles Marohn talks cities, streets, and the future of sprawl, by Branden Klayko (Broken Sidewalk)

The pattern of building more and more sprawl continues into the 21st century with potentially devastating economic implications to the well being of cities. Charles Marohn is a professional engineer in Minnesota who has been highlighting the problems with the way we design and build our cities today. To advocate for building prosperous cities, Marohn founded the nonprofit Strong Towns, with a mission “to support a model of development that allows America’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient.”

Marohn is the keynote at the Kentucky Heritage Council’s upcoming Strong Towns Conference, and we highly recommend attending. The two-day event takes place Thursday, September 24 and Friday, September 25 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Advance tickets cost $25 and tickets at the door are $35. The Heritage Council is partnering with Preservation Kentucky, Preservation Louisville, the Kentucky Main Street Program, and Friends of Kentucky Main Street. Additional support is provided by KHC member Nana Lampton and Hardscuffle Inc.

The excerpt:

What do we do with the existing network of sprawl that’s already been built?

Well, I’m going to paraphrase the Iowa department of transportation director, Paul Trombino, who said in June when I was there doing a lecture with him a lot of this stuff is just going to go away. We don’t have the money to maintain it. We don’t have the money to fix it. And it’s just not going to be maintained. It’s not going to be there. I think once you understand that in reality, that we’ve literally built more than we can possibly pay to fix, it opens up a whole other realm of thinking.

I think we need to start talking about how do we transition into a world where these things, from a market standpoint, start to go away. What we see now in a macro sense is an increase in suburban poverty and an increase in social isolation that goes along with that.