Chuck Marohn will speak as part of the Texas Municipal League Annual Conference.
Neighborhoods First Presentation (10:30-11:45 am)
Risky, low returning projects too often become expensive boondoggles that haunt a community for decades. Public officials everywhere are desperately seeking an alternative. This talk will cover the "Neighborhoods First" approach to show how a community can grow stronger by making small, incremental investments over time. By observing how neighbors live their lives, by asking them where their daily struggles are, by getting out on the street and discovering what is actually going on, any local government can discern what their community’s pressing needs are. These projects are the high return investments and they are all around us.
A portfolio of incremental projects, each building on observed needs and past successes, is the basis of a solid, long term investment strategy for communities of any size. It is an approach that fits into every budget. It will empower a local government to move beyond the lack of ownership and control that comes with traditional grant programs. And most importantly, you can get started right now.
Infrastructure Crisis Talk (2:00-3:15 pm)
For more than six decades, local governments have been accustomed to building infrastructure and expanding existing systems. While liabilities have grown, transportation funding has not kept up. Now there is a desperate need for local governments to change their approach. We need to shift our strategy from an emphasis on continuous expansion to a more mature focus on maintenance and maximization of existing infrastructure. In difficult economic times, this is a scary, but necessary, realignment.
There are trillions of dollars of unproductive infrastructure already in the ground today waiting for us to make better use of. At Strong Towns, we see that our cities, towns and neighborhoods are dripping with opportunity. These opportunities are not of the mega-project variety. They are small -- seemingly beneath us, perhaps -- but they can positively transform everything about how we live our lives.
This presentation brings your community into the national conversation about infrastructure spending and will help local decision-makers determine where to spend precious infrastructure dollars to get the best return on your investment.
(Top photo source: Mark Fisher)