The work of Strong Towns is prominently featured in a new documentary about the history of suburbanization and mass homeownership in America. Owned, directed by Giorgio Angelini, explores the human consequences of America's suburban experiment—from the explosive postwar growth of middle-class suburbs, jump-started by federal policy, through the 2008 market crash and its aftermath.
Through powerful interviews and archival footage, Angelini chronicles the creation of two starkly divergent Americas. In one, homeownership became the American dream, the primary vehicle by which millions of families accumulated wealth and passed it on to the next generation—but mounting debt and economic instability now threaten to unravel this dream. In the other America, racist laws and practices shut a generation of mostly African-Americans out of the opportunity to buy into booming postwar suburbs—and many of their descendants still live in hyper-segregated, disinvested neighborhoods where generational wealth is only a pipe dream.
The film includes an interview with Strong Towns founder Chuck Marohn, as well as footage of him giving his signature talk, the Curbside Chat. Owned powerfully communicates the stakes of America's suburban experiment: the illusion of wealth it produces, and the devastation that our communities suffer when that illusion is undone by reality.
We'll be promoting Owned in the coming months, and we will share more news about opportunities to see the film once it is released. (You can also subscribe to Owned's email list here.) We hope to be able to host screenings in conjunction with some major Strong Towns events. Let us know if you are interested in a screening near you.
Watch the Owned trailer here: