Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core. But in the typical American city, the car is still king, and downtown is a place that’s easy to drive to but often not worth arriving at.
Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick. In this essential new book, Speck reveals the invisible workings of the city, how simple decisions have cascading effects, and how we can all make the right choices for our communities.
Bursting with sharp observations and real-world examples, giving key insight into what urban planners actually do and how places can and do change, Walkable City lays out a practical, necessary, and eminently achievable vision of how to make our normal American cities great again.
©2012 Jeff Speck (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Jeff presented a compelling case and I am excited and hopeful that my city will one day be really walkable instead of one that is neither here or there.
As an urban studies major and as someone who well versed in this subject, i believe the content is superb and that the narration is sooo absolutely boring and dreary. It was hard listening to Jeff speak and how every sentence sounds completely different from the next as if some paragraphs were done in multiple takes. I did not enjoy that and it was difficult to absorb all of the details and information from the great content of this book.
Knowing nothing about city planning, I started listening to this book while traveling in Europe for the first time. I wanted to know more about why places like Copenhagen, Paris, London, Krakow, etc, felt so much more walkable than my own Minneapolis and what was holding my home city back. He addressed everything I wanted to know, possibly with some bias; I dont know enough about urban planning to say for sure. Aside from a few recording issues, I enjoyed the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gave me perspective as to why I enjoy some cities more than others. I travel a lot and now I can see why I love places like Europe and stay away from areas that don't cater to pedestrians. I definitely recommend this book.
I work in wayfinding and environmental graphics. Understanding better the notion of walkability has given me a bigger picture of the problem. I guess it is easy to become one of the specialists Speck critizes, but the arguments actually tend to enforce wayfinding decisions. In other words it has helped me get a sense of the subtle structure and hidden logics of the urban fabric
Your Brother in Christ
This book is about so much more than walking. It is about bringing life back to your city, back to your downtown. It is about bringing a sense of community back to your community and thus improving the quality of life for all involved. The book also deals with what can be done to help increase the use of Bicycling and other forms of transportation making people less dependent on the car.
Jeff isn’t anti-car. But he is pro-walking. And he rightly sees that taking a critical look at traffic laws, and the construction of traffic routes can ultimately make life better for the automobilist as well as the walker and revive a downtown area, and even an entire city, burbs included.
It’s something so obvious it goes almost unnoticed. But if people don’t feel safe walking, they won’t walk. And when neighborhoods are designed with the car in mind, no one walks. So you can feasibly spend ten years and never meet another soul in your neighborhood. We just drive from home to work to a box store, to home. Not only is it bad for our health, it’s bad for business, it’s bad for community.
Anyone who is involved in city planning, anyone who is involved in community ought to read or listen to this book. If you are a compulsive walker like I am, take a listen on your next walk.
This book is very easy to listen to. I really enjoyed the entire thing all the way through. Great for anyone trying to get into the topic of urbanism.
The author's ideas
The need for widespread understanding of the topic
More of his personal tone
Where most of us really want to live
The recording quality was muddy
Mr. Speck opens the book with the statement that is will not be the book of the year, and he did not fail to live up to this promise. This book, and Speck's philosophies, are plainly only for the benefit of college educated, wealthy people. From his mocking of a man though a stereotypical impression of gay man to suggesting that the only type of zoning that is of value is inclusionary zoning (a pc way to say red lining) because Aspen needs ditch diggers too Speck shows that he is part of an elitist part of society that cares little for the people and things outside of his little world. Speck's ideas cast all but the educated and wealthy to edges of visible society. No where in this book of creating walkable cities does he provide for elderly or people who have limited mobility. In fact the changes he would implement would punish the afore mentioned groups. An example, cross walks; to paraphrase Speck, The buttons walkers can press to get the walk sign, if a blind person uses this device, they can not be sure if the walk light has come on or if there is just a lull in the traffic. The second alternative is the walk sign accompanied by, as Speck describes it, the obnoxious bird noises that give an audible indication to the vision impaired that it is safe to cross. Speck's final solution is to just have no walk light demand button for pedestrians to use. His reasoning being that a blind person can just listen for the lull in traffic to know when it is safe to cross the street. Confusing right??? This is how the entire book flows. If it is convenient for Speck and the ilk he claims to represent it should receive funding and attention from public and private sources, and if it is not in the narrow view of what he deems to be good it needs to be defunded, scrapped, or punished through economical measures.I would be proud to live in a city or town that did not hire Mr. Speck or entertain his ideals.
I would only listen to an apology from Mr. Speck for wasting my time and money.
Yes, the bigoted impression of an overly feministic male has no place in any book. And by the way Mr. Speck, if you have to explain why when you do the impression you are not being a homophobe, then you are being a homophobe. Shame on you sir.
Don't waste you time with this book.
Wow, I was really impressed. The author is clearly not only a knowledgable (and creative) urban planner but also a formidable author and orator. The performance (done by the author) is flawless and enjoyable to listen to. He even sings to you haha! I knew nothing about urban planning or why cities were the way they were before and I came away feeling like I had learned quite a bit. The content never went over my head even with no background in the field. A great read, great author, good performance all around. Learn more about how where you live shapes so much about your life (and how to do it better). I wonder what our world would look like if we all had this knowledge?
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