The Strong Towns Podcast

Why is it so hard to get things built?

June 7, 2018

This is our first dispatch from the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which took place in Savannah, Georgia in May. Chuck Marohn attended CNU and hosted a series of in-depth podcast conversations about some of the most pressing topics for cities today, with leaders, thinkers, and activists in a whole range of fields. Now we're bringing those podcasts to your ears throughout the summer.

Today's podcast guest is Monte Anderson, a developer based in Texas and a leader of the Incremental Development Alliance

Monte encourages people to pick a place they love and stay there. That's how you really learn what communities need and how to make them better. And that's what he did by choosing to incrementally improve his hometown.

Questions discussed in this podcast include:

  • What if your town seems past the point of getting better? Should you stay anyway?
  • What needs to happen in order to encourage development in our towns? 
  • How do you respond to people who worry that the removal of parking minimums will be harmful to local businesses?
  • What's the best sort of business to kickstart a commercial street?
  • How do we reconcile the desire to be flexible and encourage new business start-ups, especially in poor neighborhoods, while still ensuring that buildings are safe and basic health codes are met?
  • What are the first steps someone should take if they want to become an incremental developer? What if you don't have much money?
  • How do you find a balance between investing in a neighborhood and not pricing people out of it?
  • What's the difference between a developer and an investor?