Chuck Marohn is a University of Minnesota-trained civil engineer with a master’s degree in city and urban planning. He grew up on a farm near Baxter, Minnesota and now lives near Brainerd. He’s also a gadfly — so much so that colleagues in the profession (he calls it “the infrastructure cult”) are trying to take his license away because, like Socrates, he has a questioning attitude.

The hemlock hasn’t been served, yet, nor does the threat appear to deter Marohn. He started writing a blog in 2009 that offered up some ideas on land use planning and road building that challenged the conventional wisdom on both subjects. The blog, subsequently, turned into four books and a national organization, Strong Towns, with hundreds of followers. I’m one of them.

Marohn is an “urbanist” — not one of those reflexively density-loving, Met Council types who’d stash most of us in condominiums and make us bike to work. He’s a friendly, fiscal conservative best summed up in this quote: “I am a guy who started out writing a blog and felt like I was a voice in the wilderness with maybe some crazy ideas that people around here certainly weren’t buying.” His most recent book, “Confessions of A Recovering Engineer” came out last week. I’ve read and recommend it.

Marohn isn’t the preachy anti-growth type one often finds in the…

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