This year, we expanded our podcast stream to include twice weekly podcasts—our typical long-form podcasts on Thursdays plus our new Week Ahead podcasts which offer a short organizational update each Monday. During campaign weeks (#NoNewRoads, Suburban Poverty, Strong Schools, etc.) we sometimes ran as many as four or five podcasts. All in all, we produced more than 100 podcasts in 2016. So it was hard to narrow down the list of best podcasts from 2016 to just a few, but here are the seven best podcasts we wanted to highlight this year:

1. Mr. Money Mustache

It's safe to say that this was our most popular podcast of 2016, and for good reason. (It was definitely my favorite.) As Chuck put it, "He is the individual digital to our community analog. His insights will help you live a better life and, should you choose to be a true Mustachian, put you in position to help your community become a Strong Town." Mr. Money Mustache is both a person living a highly unusual lifestyle, as well as a person who communicates clearly that his way of life is possible. If you listen to one podcast this year, let it be this one.  


2. The Economic Implications of More INfrastructure Spending

In this conversation with Russ Roberts, host of the EconTalk podcast (one of Chuck's favorite non-Strong Towns podcasts from 2016), Chuck and Russ discuss the political appeal of infrastructure spending vs. the economics perspective. They also talk about how to ensure a good return on investment and how to focus on smaller-scale projects. This was part of our ongoing podcast and article series about infrastructure spending in America.


3. Paul Stewart on Neighborhood Revitalization

Chuck met Paul during an event in Oswego, NY. He's the executive director of the Oswego Renaissance Association and in this interview, Stewart talks about his transition from being a citizen rehabbing his historic home—to an activist who started an organization to help revitalize Oswego neighborhoods and preserve homes all across the city. He also discusses the ripple effects of these home improvements and his vision for his town.


4. Janette Sadik-Khan at CNU24

We snagged a special opportunity to talk with Janette Sadik-Khan during the Congress for the New Urbanism in Detroit this summer. In this interview, the former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation talks about focusing on bottom-up action through smaller projects like plazas and bike access, instead of megaprojects that cost millions. She also discusses how you actually get things done in a city full of 8.5 million people, and the importance of data in persuading people to support new initiatives.


5. Stacy Mitchell on the Big Box Swindle

Stacy Mitchell was interviewed as part of Big Box Stores week. She is the author of Big Box Swindle and a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, directing its initiatives on banking and independent business. In this interview, she discusses the origins of the big box store, the way big box stores are subsidized by communities and how they are undercutting the American middle class.


6. Andrew Hanegmon of Iron Range Makerspace

This interview was part of our week on the Minnesota Iron Range. I initially talked with Andrew in the months leading up to our trip to the Iron Range to just learn more about the region and his work developing a makerspace for the region. But after we talked for 30+ minutes, I knew we had to get him on the Strong Towns podcast too. He and Chuck met in person in Hibbing, MN to talk about the Iron Range Makerspace and the inspiring story of how they got started, along with their big goals for the future. 

Photo from Iron Range Makerspace's Facebook page. Andrew is front and center, in the neon green shirt.

Photo from Iron Range Makerspace's Facebook page. Andrew is front and center, in the neon green shirt.


7. Helping Local Ethnic Restaurants Flourish Through Social Enterprise

I'm putting this podcast on the list because it's the one I most enjoyed and the one I'm most proud of. We came across the We Love BuHi initiative—focused on improving a single corridor in the Atlanta area—through a random news article and decided to feature its founder, Marian Liou during Strong Citizens week in April. Her story and her social enterprise organization are very unique, especially among the people we typically get the chance to interview at Strong Towns: We Love BuHi is a new organization whose mission is to support a livable, inclusive, sustainable Buford Highway through creative place-making collaborations. Since this interview, I've been following the organization's growth on social media and via email updates and it's exciting to watch.

Marian Liou and her two children. Photo from We Love Buhi.

Marian Liou and her two children. Photo from We Love Buhi.

We'd love to know: What was your favorite podcast from 2016?