Chuck Marohn, Executive Director of Strong Towns, presented “The Suburban Experiment” at MIT last week. His lecture was an incredibly eye-opening look at the unstable economic underpinnings of the current building practices.
“The mission of Strong Towns is to support a model for growth that allows America’s towns to become financially strong and resilient. The American approach to growth is causing economic stagnation and decline along with land use practices that force a dependency on public subsidies. The inefficiencies of the current approach have left American towns financially insolvent, unable to pay even the maintenance costs of their basic infrastructure. A new approach that accounts for the full cost of growth is needed to make our towns strong again.”
Marohn had a funny way of looking at things, what makes money - over the long-term - works. Can the “value creation” public art brings to a place be quantified? There are several studies I’ve heard of in the last year focused on gauging the economic impacts of cultural attractions (read the City of Providence report here). Of course, Public art has the ability to create value, but how is it captured? Could a public art project be analyzed using the Strong Towns approach?
Stay tuned for a 2nd post on this topic where I hope to answer these questions with some input from Marohn.