I was trying to think of an image or idea that would attract someone who'd never heard of Strong Towns or Chuck Marohn and who didn't respond to the question, "How can Salem become a Strong Town?" Someone who hadn't already decided that there was a problem with the way we plan, design, and build our urban streets and suburban subdivisions. Someone new, even skeptical.
And I think it's the fiscal efficiency argument that seems key: Compact, downtown development is way more efficient in creating personal wealth for owners, jobs for employees, and tax value for municipalities than suburban or big box development. That's it. That's the key to the argument. Most everything else follows from that. It's a financial argument about how best to create value for multiple layers in a city.
|Detail via Twitter|
|That's Chuck! from "Engineers should not Design Streets"|
here and here). I think he's also a person of strong faith.
For those like the downtown accountant who thinks the bike lanes on Church and High are a colossal waste, he might be a sympathetic messenger and provide an entry point to a wider conversation about urban form and governance.
There's serious bi-partisan magic in the Strong Towns message. In an age of increased polarization, Strong Towns can be a real bridge.
So if you're not already planning on it, you should really consider his talk on Wednesday the 5th at 7pm in the Library's auditorium.