Author Archive | Charles Marohn

The predicament of local government

Local government cannot be a proxy for a productive economy, just as infrastructure spending cannot be a proxy for real growth. The demand for viable infrastructure needs to emerge from a productive land use pattern, just as a healthy and viable local government can only emerge from a productive place. If we want stability at […]

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Engineering’s Echo Chamber

America’s engineering profession is deluding itself. In their own propaganda echo chamber, they are blaming society for the messes they helped create and have perpetuated. They say we are spoiled. Short sighted. Clueless. They don’t understand why we don’t open up our checkbooks to their “no-brainer” solutions. This internal dialog is dangerous. It is weakening […]

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The Value of Value Capture

Today we spend money on infrastructure in the hopes of creating growth. That’s backwards. Infrastructure should not be a catalyst for growth but something that emerges in support of productive patterns of development. There has to be a relationship between the infrastructure we build and the value that is created. — Late last month I […]

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CNU 20 Recap

I just got back from spending a week in West Palm Beach, meeting with New Urbanists and, together, plotting a makeover and economic revival of America. My voice is gone and after successive nights of little sleep and 14 hours of travel Sunday, not much stamina either, but I’m left with one thought that I […]

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Paved with good intentions

How can a country that is so wealthy be in such enormous debt? How can a country that can build such marvelous transportation systems not find the money to sustain them? How can a people that enjoyed decades of unrivaled economic hegemony — staggering levels of growth beyond anything seen in human history — be […]

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Assessing our Future

The concept of a special assessment contains little dark secrets that city officials like to keep to themselves. The ability to assess the cost of maintenance — a questionable concept at best — is the only thing allowing many cities to avoid facing their true reality. Elected officials and the public need to understand assessments, […]

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Lessons from a trip to Disney World

I had the very good fortune to be able to spend last week in Orlando, FL, with my family doing the things that a family of four would do while in Central Florida. We spent a few days at Disney World, went to the ocean, did a lot of swimming and going out to eat […]

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Forgive and Forget

Last month an organization called TRIP, in conjunction with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a report on the hazards an aging population create in our auto-based transportation system. The report, titled Keeping Baby Boomers Mobile: Preserving the Mobility and Safety of Older Americans, identifies an important problem. Unfortunately, these […]

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No New Streets

I spent the last week in Florida doing a series of Curbside Chats and then participating in the Next Urbanism Summit, a retreat of CNU’s NextGen. We all gathered in Steve Mouzon’s (The Original Green) office and started off with everyone in the group giving a Pecha Kucha style presentation (20 slides, 20 seconds each) […]

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Shared Space

The concept of building shared space within the public realm is a radical one here in the United States, where automobiles are not only given priority, but completely dominate most public spaces. With the financial insolvency inherent in our current approach becoming more and more apparent each day, there is a need to study alternatives. […]

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