Charles Marohn on the “incremental approach to development.”

How NOT to incremental it.

This week, Charles Marohn is discussing incrementalism. I’m not expecting this to be a focus for the incoming redevelopment/dishevelment director, so it’s our job to bone up.

I’ve found that the most difficult thing for people to grasp about Strong Towns is our insistence on an incremental approach to development. I stress how we need to be making small investments over a broad area over a long period of time. I talk about the small bets our ancestors made when building places, how their approach fit with a complex world where we lack the ability to predict, project or even fully understand, after the fact, why one place succeeds and another fails. I show how the incremental approach results in places that are resilient, adaptable and – most incredibly – financially far more successful than our modern approach.

Here are the four parts of this week’s series. Happy browsing.

It is incrementally rising land values, combined with the ability to redevelop to something more intense, that naturally prompts the redevelopment of property in decline. Take away one of those two factors and redevelopment breaks down.

It’s the incremental nature of both the private and the public investments that made traditional cities strong, resilient and financially productive.

Where improvement is not an option, stagnation and decline are all that remain.

We have come up with many ways to explain the decline we see around us. In reality, we’ve simply given our cities no other option.