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Charles Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on the financial predicament local governments find themselves in as a result of America’s suburban experiment. Chuck has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. Chuck and Jim are both active members of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU.org) dedicated to improving the human habitat in America.

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Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

10 Responses to “KunstlerCast 273 — Chatting with Chuck Marohn of StrongTowns.org”

  1. uncletommy December 14, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    Fun discussion, but I wasn’t sure where it was leading. All that I got from it was a reaffirmation of what your writings have been pointing to over the years: as a civilization, we are in decline. Joseph Tainter sums it up quite nicely in his book, The collapse of Complex Societies. He points out four main factors, 1)Human societies are problem solving organizations, 2)Socio-political systems require energy for their maintenance,3)Increased complexity increases costs per capita and 4)problem solving becomes an issue of declining marginal returns. Take a look any any graph that compares GDP to GNI or GPI and it is clear that after the 1970’s GDP continues to rise as the others fall. As long as we continue to borrow from the future to fund our Ipods, gameboys and the like, the marginal utility of our efforts will only decline until we begin to live within our environmental means. The fact that we have been able to inject copious quantities of fossil based energy into the system has only accelerated the process. On that note, Merry Christmas(in keeping with the situation)!

  2. Frankiti December 16, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    I agree. Conversation really went nowhere for me. Marohn comes off as a lightweight Johnny-come-lately with no real ideas of his own beyond the Ponzi scheme analogy. Treading over the same worn path. All fawning and no ferocity. Longevity of towns and neighborhoods depends on building, as JHK has been saying for ages, places worth caring about. Places where people want to come out of their homes, go for a stroll, play in a park, etc. Until exurbs commit to building towns and not developers building subdivisions nothing will change, and nothing has changed. The battle is in the exurbs and not the cities. Cities are gentrifying but the suburbs are sprawling more than ever. Building homes on cul-de-sacs serviced by strip malls and not villages. Until we get planners to plan villages, nothing changes.

  3. routersurfer January 2, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Nice podcast,Jim. I love being part of an informal chat between people interested in many of the same things I am. Information is obtained in many ways. We have forgotten the small parts that show up during the struggle to hold a free form unscripted dialogue. We live in a canned world, for a bit longer. As someone that picked a few dollars working live music shows in the past I am sad at the loss of a Contra venue. Better digs MAY have helped–but I have seen people sink millions into clubs and go bust…. Last stage of the cocoon generation. 7.2 home sound systems with 4K screens are hard to compete with ! I would love to hear a recording of the band you play in. I will never make it up your way so I will have to do with a recording. A speaking tour with the band would be a real hoot ! Thanks again for a great podcast. On second thought record the band 7.2 4K why not party on as long as the power is on ? Off to dust off my acoustic instruments and smile at the file cabinets of sheet music and books I own.

  4. Newsletterguy February 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    This smacked of elitism. He trashed the Midwest and then the West. That’s when I shut him off. If the West sucks it is because it has been overwhelmed by “his kind” for the last 30 years. They talk a good game, but everywhere they go becomes another Brainerd Minnesota. Yawn. I’m so through with this nonsense.

  5. degraff February 6, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Anyone else see the Netflix documentary “Spanish Lake”?

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