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Follow the Curbside Chat


An important look at the financial realities facing America's cities, towns and neighborhoods.

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Follow the Curbside Chat


An important look at the financial realities facing America's cities, towns and neighborhoods.

The Chat

The Curbside Chat was the first story we tried to tell at Strong Towns. It goes to the core of our message. 

Here's a trailer for our video series highlighting some of the key moments of the Curbside Chat.

The challenge of this next generation is not going to be growth. We’ve had decades of growth and it hasn’t given us prosperity. The challenge of the next generation is going to be, how do we go back and make really productive use of all this stuff that we’ve built.
— Chuck Marohn, President, Strong Towns

Auto-oriented development is a huge experiment.

The current pattern of development, which prioritizes automobiles, is distinctly different from an age-old way of city-building. And this current pattern is actually still fairly new and untested. 

We are living in humanity’s greatest social, political and financial experiment. And we are all the guinea pigs.

We didn’t test this out in one state see how it would work. We just built it. Everywhere, all at once.

Photo by Derrick Coetzee via flickr.com

Photo by Derrick Coetzee via flickr.com


Photo by Derrick Coetzee via flickr.com

Photo by Derrick Coetzee via flickr.com

The mechanisms of growth create an illusion of wealth.

The issue we face with our current pattern of development is that it fosters short-term thinking and an illusion of wealth. The math simply does not work in its favor in the long run. When you lose money on every transaction, you don’t make it up in volume. [VIDEO COMING SOON]

Photo by respres via flickr.com

Photo by respres via flickr.com

We extend the growth Ponzi scheme with more growth and debt.

If our current pattern of development is such an ill-fated experiment, how has it lasted this long? How have we managed to pay for this extraordinarily expensive automobile infrastructure if it provides so little return on investment. Once again, we have an illusion of wealth. Build today, pay tomorrow. That’s only possible because we can borrow money. [VIDEO COMING SOON]

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Curbside Live


Watch a full Curbside Chat presentation from cities across the continent.

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Curbside Live


Watch a full Curbside Chat presentation from cities across the continent.

The Curbside Chat - Live in Memphis, Tennessee

Live in Vancouver, Canada

Live in Salt Lake City, Utah

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Host a Chat


A candid talk about the future of America's cities, towns and neighborhoods.

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Host a Chat


A candid talk about the future of America's cities, towns and neighborhoods.

The Curbside Chat is a presentation, followed by a community-specific discussion, about the financial health of our places.

Chuck Marohn and Mike Lydon enjoying underused infrastructure.

Chuck Marohn and Mike Lydon enjoying underused infrastructure.

  • Why are our cities and towns so short of resources despite decades of robust growth?
  • Why do we struggle at the local level just to maintain our basic infrastructure?
  • What do we do now that the economy has changed so dramatically?

The answers lie in the way we have developed; the financial productivity of our places. This stunning presentation is a game-changer for communities looking to grow more resilient and obtain true prosperity during changing times.

What's the big idea?

Three "big ideas" are central to Strong Towns thinking, and we explore them within the Curbside Chat program:

  1. The current path cities are pursuing is not financially stable.
  2. The future for most cities will not resemble the recent past.
  3. The main determinant of future prosperity for cities will be local leaders’ ability to transform their communities.

Who is the Curbside Chat for?

The Curbside Chat program has been developed specifically for public officials and change-advocates at the local level.