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Conversation with an Engineer

A few months back we started a YouTube Channel to share some of our favorite videos relating to community design, finance and all things Strong Towns. Today we want to share with you our first contribution to the Channel, which we have called Conversation with an Engineer.

If this sounds eerily familiar to you, do not be surprised. We've heard of, seen or taken part in thousands of conversations just like this all across the country. There is no specific inspiration for this dialog beyond an insight that the status-quo justification for many of our community-building projects is based on a flimsy scaffold of unsupportable "truths" and dogmatic beliefs.

We need to challenge the status quo. We need to start building Strong Towns.


Special thanks to the suggestions of our friends Jennifer, Edward and Dan with NextGen. You can join our conversation here by leaving a comment or join us for more Strong Towns content on Facebook and Twitter. If you are interested in having the Strong Towns message brought to your community, sign up for a Curbside Chat and we'll make plans to get together in a town near you.

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Reader Comments (5)

Nicely done!

At first I thought this might be too long, but then I realized that if it were shortened, the audience would miss out on the experience of being worn down over time. I do wish that you'd included the brain aneurism portion of the famous iPhone 4 vs. EVO conversation.

Thank you!!!

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Levinger

Yeah - I have a shorter version coming out tomorrow that deals only with the street part, but I thought it was important to show how everything was connected in this riddle of self-reinforcing "logic".

A justifies B. B justifies C. Then C justifies A and the process starts all over. None of it makes sense and none of it could stand on its own without this nonsensical, circular reasoning.

Glad you got it - thanks!

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Marohn

Very nice. You hit the nail right on the head!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Chuck -

I see now where that tacked on ending to the short version came from. This is actually better. It makes the real point about all of these "improvements". Its not really a question of cost, its the distribution of burdens and benefits.

The real reasons for the street widening are not found in this dialog. They are found in the dialog of the property owners and developers of the new greenfields developments on the edge of town. That is where the benefit is. Existing home owners and businesses get the burdens. That disparity makes green field development all that more attractive and explains why downtown business districts have all been replaced by highway corridors.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoss Williams

This is the funniest video I've seen in a long time and it is painfully true. We just spent 30 minutes asking our engineers how they decide which projects to do. Are you sure you weren't eavesdropping?

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPlanner
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