How Should a Strong Town Respond to the Housing Crisis? (And Other Questions from Ask Strong Towns)


At Strong Towns, our mission is to spread our radically new approach to growth and development to as many people as possible. That's why we aren't available to consult with individuals or organizations—but that doesn't mean we can't help.

Once a month, we host Ask Strong Towns, a live Q&A webcast open only to Strong Towns members and select invitees. Whether you're the mayor of your town (as was the case for one of this month's questions!) a diehard citizen advocate, or just getting involved in making your place stronger, Ask Strong Towns gives you a chance to ask your burning questions about our vision for change, and how the Strong Towns approach might apply in your unique place—and give us a chance to share our answer with the world, so it might help other Strong Citizens.

Here’s the video (and audio, if the podcast is more your style) from our August 2019 installment of Ask Strong Towns with founder and president Chuck Marohn and communications director Kea Wilson.

Stuck at work during Ask Strong Towns? No problem! We bet if you love us, your coworkers would to, so get a group together and organize a watch party—as the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership did this time around! (Thanks, guys!)

This Month’s Questions Answered

2:00What do you think is the cause of the affordable housing crisis, and of the mismatch between housing costs and people’s incomes in many cities? And what is a Strong Towns response to this crisis?

11:45 — How do cities calculate their ability to pay for infrastructure maintenance? How do they know if they’ve built too much and should be worried about the long-term liabilities?

19:05 — My county has been issuing bonds to pay for major projects. As a wealthy county, I’m surprised to find out how reliant we are on this tool. Is it unfair to look at bonds as unequivocally bad for building a strong town?

23:25 — I live in a lakeshore community where almost 40% of our homes are second homes, and we’re now allowing short-term vacation rentals as well. How do vacation homes and vacation rentals impact our community and our ability to be a strong place?

34:45 — What does Strong Towns think about municipally-owned endeavors designed primarily to produce revenue, such as rec centers or golf courses?

44:50 — How do we get Chuck Marohn to visit our community to assess how we can become a stronger town and educate local officials on the benefits?

Cover photo by Jose Alonso on Unsplash