Reinventing Poor Cities at Scale

By Charles Marohn, Strong Towns

Flint, MI presents a very compelling story. A city full of poor, disadvantaged people from which the affluent have fled. An economy in systematic decline where jobs have been shipped out and factories boarded up. Neighborhoods without basic investment to keep things livable. And, the acute, high profile tragedy of a water system delivering lead poisoning to its children. How can we not act? The last time I wrote about Flint I was scolded by many that Americans have a moral obligation to cities like Flint. We owe it to them to provide a base level of decency on par with the rest of America. Anything less is unacceptable. I'm sympathetic to that reasoning, but I see the American standard of living -- particularly as we currently measure it -- as more of a moving target. Last week I described the predicament in Lafayette, Louisiana, where the typical family would need...


Farmland LP: Investing In Sustainable Farmland

By Adam Taggart, Jason Bradford, Craig Wichner

Over the past few years, we've tracked the success of Farmland LP, a family of funds created to increase the economic yield of farmland through sustainable farming practices. Their approach is notable in a number of ways. It seeks to improves the quality of the underlying land. To avoid use of fossil inputs. To increase the yield per acre. To enable the production of vegetables, grains, and meats on acreage that before was monocrop. To employ more farmers per farm. To be more profitable than conventional farming. To improve the food resiliency of the local community. To reduce its dependency on liquid fuel transport by serving local markets. To generate annual returns for its shareholders, plus appreciation on their share of the underlying farmland. The team believes there is an arbitrage in value that can be unlocked by reversing the damage modern farming has done to the land. For a...