Author: Charles Marohn

Charles Marohn

Charles Marohn

Charles L. Marohn, Jr. PE AICP is the President of Strong Towns, a Minnesota-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization. He is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He has a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. Strong Towns supports a model of growth that allows America's cities, towns and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient.

Why I Do Not Support Move MN

Back in 2011, I coined the term “infrastructure cult,” not to be bombastic but to highlight a destructive mindset that has crept deep into the cultural narrative of America. The notion, fully captured by fellow Minnesotan Tom Friedman in his book, That Used to Be Us, is simple: investments in infrastructure create growth, jobs and prosperity. […]

Monday News Digest

The Friday News Digest is a regular feature of the Strong Towns Blog. Due to the Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve shifted our normal Friday recap of the news to Monday. Enjoy the week’s news. I want to take a brief moment here and recognize Gregory Jones of The Studio Stoop. His blog post on why he donated to […]

Is the jig up?

In the boom years, cities got very lazy with the assessment process, allowing the general widespread rising of property values to cover up their poor practices. Few have adjusted to the new reality. Now that the market has changed, a very clear statement from the legal system reaffirming that actual property values need to measurably increase would […]

Investment Ready Places

There are countless people working today to solve the myriad of complex problems we face in America. Few are as bold, yet practical, as a new initiative from called Investment Ready Places. It is one part triage, one part aspiration. It is exactly the kind of thinking we need right now. The contributors at Street […]

Living without projections

We don’t need better projections to build a nation of Strong Towns. All we need is a clear understanding of the relationship between infrastructure spending and growth. Good infrastructure spending is not designed to induce growth but is the proper response to successful patterns of development. This is not a chicken and egg argument; it […]

Shared Space: A crazy idea?

What exactly makes an idea crazy? Perhaps more importantly, why do we so often assume that all crazy ideas automatically bad or not worth exploring? As the old adage goes, great ideas pass through three stages: first they are ridiculed, then violently opposed and finally accepted as being self-evident. Today I am going to try […]

Roads, Streets, STROADS and Park Roads

I just returned from a great week out west with my family. We had a stop in the Black Hills then moved on to Yellowstone and finally Grant Teton. It was a trip we had been waiting for our two daughters to get a little older to make. With the youngest heading to “Kinder-camp” this […]

The Original Highway Code

As a very brief aside today, I wanted to share this delightful little book I acquired a year or so ago. It is called, The Original Highway Code: Reproductions of Highway Code Booklets from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, and it is an amazing little trip back to the not-so-distant past of highway design. For those of you […]

The Projections Fallacy

We spend billions every year in this country on our transportation network, large percentages of it based on traffic projections. This despite the fact that we have a long record of not being able to accurately project traffic. The answer isn’t better projections but a better transportation system, one that is robust to modeling error. […]

Another DOT Fiddles

Last month I wrote about an article that appeared in PE, the official magazine of the National Society of Professional Engineers (Engineering’s Echo Chamber, May 29, 2012). In the article, I took the engineering profession (of which I am a member) to task for blaming everyone but themselves for America’s failing infrastructure. I indicated that […]