Chuck Marohn and friend of Strong Towns Joe Minicozzi were recently featured in an interview with the Congress for the New Urbanism's Public Square. It's part of a series called, 25 Great Ideas of the New Urbanism, meant to "inspire and challenge those working toward complete communities in the next quarter century."
In this conversation, Chuck and Joe discuss their work together, infrastructure spending priorities, and how to build strong places.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
Minicozzi: We all know that sprawl costs money, but no one's explained at that detail about the cost of sprawl the way that Chuck explains it. When Chuck and I do presentations together, we get to see the audience. We can see their reaction, and there's a palpable sense of shock when Chuck starts walking through the cycle of suburban infrastructure. It's very obvious that everybody realizes that you can't build your way out of it. It just doesn't work financially. The audiences have to wrestle with that. But I'm sure Chuck can tell you many stories about it.
Marohn: You watch people struggle because part of the cognitive dissonance of Americans is that we know what we're doing doesn't make sense. But, we really don't have a formulated alternative to wrestle with and ponder. So it's easy for us to just go about our days and not think about it much. When we put it in front of people and we walk them through, it’s like, "You actually know this. You know why this doesn't work. Here it is." It is one of those pulling back the curtain kind of moments. You know what's on the other side, but now you're seeing it in such high fidelity, such great contrast, that you can't ignore it. And you can't unsee it. You have this new world open. The reassuring thing then is to have Joe step up and say, "Look. We actually know how to do this. I mean, we've been building great cities for thousands of years. Here's how to actually deal with these problems that Chuck has shocked you with. We actually are good at this. And the math starts to work out and make sense, but you've got to measure things differently. You've got to look at it in a different way."