Every city needs a Michel Durand-Wood, or ten. Winnipeg, Manitoba, is lucky to have the original. Strong Towns member Durand-Wood’s writing is one of the best things to happen to us in 2021. Although we had published his work a couple times prior to this year, he has spent this year churning out absolute bangers at his blog Dear Winnipeg, and has graciously allowed us to republish many of them for our international audience.
Michel’s punchy writing, laden with just enough humor, calls his city’s leadership to account not only for the choices they’ve made, but more importantly, for the ones they haven’t made—or rather, have made through inaction or according to unexamined, invisible value systems.
That’s the real point of the deliberately provocative title of this one: not that traffic engineers are individually sociopaths (we all know they aren’t) but that the implicit values of the traffic engineering profession have sociopathic consequences. They result in dead neighbors and degraded neighborhoods, in the name of nothing more important than traffic flow, an unspoken priority that none of us were actually asked to choose.