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Strong Towns Workshop

April 15, 2015 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm



The Strong Towns Workshop covers Strong Towns Thinking, the predicament of funding, the finance of places, and understanding transportation and mobility.

Strong Towns is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that helps America’s towns achieve financial strength and resiliency.

They travel the nation to promote a complete understanding of the costs that are associated with our communities’ methods of growth, and they advocate to address those costs via productive changes in our pattern of development.


  • 8:00 am-8:30am Registration
  • 8:30 AM – Workshop Opening and Introductions
  • 8:45 AM – Introduction to Strong Towns Thinking
  • 9:00 AM – The Predicament of Funding
    • Financing Growth
    • Funding Transportation
    • Q&A
  • 10:30 AM – Break
  • 10:45 AM – The Finance of our Places Overview:
    Local government decisions are dominated by our desire to experience growth and create jobs, but what if these short term objectives are undermining the long term health of our cities? This session explains how the way we currently build and finance cities provides an “illusion of wealth” but creates enormous long term liabilities. Participants will learn how local governments can make high return investments and update methods for evaluating the financial viability of a project.Topics Covered:

    • How horizontal growth creates an illusion of wealth for local governments, providing nominal, near-term, financial gains in exchange for enormous, long-term financial obligations.
    • How to identify a financially productive place, one that produces more wealth for the community than it requires in services and subsidies.
    • How to calculate the public’s return on investment, the actual dollars that the local government will have returned to it for the dollars that it commits to a project.
    • Developing an understanding of salvage value and how it is properly applied in the context of a local government project.
    • How grants, low interest loans and public/private partnerships impact the long term viability of a project.
    • How to build a strong tax base using an incremental public investment strategy that blends low risk / stable return investments with low risk / high return speculation.
  • 12:15 PM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – Shared Values: Understanding Transportation and Mobility

    Investments in transportation have long been synonymous with economic growth and job creation. While this was often the case in the early days of highway building, that correlation is no longer guaranteed, especially at the local level. With road maintenance liabilities overwhelming federal, state and local budgets, a more strategic approach is needed. By understanding the difference between a road and a street, local governments can spend less money and attain better results, improving their financial health.Topics Covered:

    • A brief history of highway engineering, particularly as it applies to construction of local projects.
    • An introduction to the concept of a stroad, a street/road hybrid, and why a stroad is expensive to build, unsafe to use and financially low yielding.
    • How to build high performance roads.
    • How to build streets that create significant financial value for a community.
    • An understanding of congestion and how it signals different things for roads and streets.
    • How cities can respond to congestion on a limited budget.
    • Understanding how the concept of a “Complete Street” fits into a financially productive road/street strategy.
  • 3:15 PM – Wrap Up
  • 4:00 PM – Workshop End Time

CM/CAPZO Credits

6.0 CM credits are available for this event.

Registration / More Information

To register, visit RPCGB’s website.

Registration is $25, which includes lunch.  Registration is $225 if seeking CAPZO credits.

Payment must be received by April 10.


April 15, 2015
8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Event Categories:


The EDT Loft
215 19th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203 United States
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Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham
(205) 251-8139
View Organizer Website