Eavesdrop> Minnesota engineer speaks truth to power

City Terrain Eavesdroplet Midwest Transportation Urbanism
(Courtesy Strong Towns)

(Courtesy Strong Towns)

“Can you be an engineer and speak out for reform?” That’s the question one civil engineer and blogger posed on his website, strongtowns.org, after a former American Society of Civil Engineers fellow filed a complaint with his state licensing board. According to the blogger, Charles Marohn, it was retaliation for a post critiquing Minnesota’s plan to spend much of its transportation budget on new
construction instead of maintenance.

The impulse to build more and more was indicative of a much larger problem in the profession, and in U.S. urban planning. “[Our system is] one big Ponzi scheme attempting to prop up a rolling development extravaganza of strip malls, big box stores, fast food, and cheap residential housing,” wrote Marohn.

Eaves certainly doesn’t want to incur the wrath of the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience & Interior Design (whew!), but bravo to Marohn for spilling some digital ink on the subject of smart growth that restores some meaning to the word “smart.”

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