Walkable City

How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
Narrated by: Jeff Speck
Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (713 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting topic and thoughtful insight, subpar recording.

I liked this book a lot. The topics discussed were laid out neatly and organized and discussed well. Speck offers ten points for fixing American cities and then goes into more detail for each point. The ideas presented were easy to follow along with and offered insight to the design flaws that plague many American cities.

However, throughout this recording you could occasionally hear Speck turn his pages, often you would hear a different recording that was used for correcting previous recordings (different volume and intonation). I understand corrections need to be made, but I have never listened to an audiobook with more corrected audio than this one.

27 people found this helpful

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Good information

What did you like best about Walkable City? What did you like least?

There is a lot of good information about how to make cities more walkable. The recommendations are more than can be done by a given city in most cases, and the author explains this well in the final chapter of the book.

What three words best describe Jeff Speck’s performance?

a bit dull

Any additional comments?

I learned about this book via a Jeff Speck talk on TED. He is a much, much better live speaker than a book reader. I was disappointed in his reading, compared to what I saw in his TED talks.

15 people found this helpful

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  • L
  • 07-11-17

Change the way you think about your environment

Between SUBURBAN NATION and this book, your eyes will be opened and then you'll find yourself thinking, "of course, it makes sense!"

how we can reimagine our urban and suburban landscapes to be more pleasing, reduce crime, lower stress, reduce obesity, increase interactions and community, and help local business.

12 people found this helpful

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Great Focus on Urban Walkability

Many books on Urban Planning are used to teach me something new, or to affirm many of my preconceptions. In Walkable City, however, the author had numerous points that challenged these preconceptions, and led me to reconsider positions I had taken for granted. An excellent examination in depth of walkability.

The author, while good in humor and engaging, could stand to practice his vocal delivery, as there were a number of instances where I had difficulty understanding him. His voice is deep, and at times mumbles the ending of sentences.

Overall, great work I recommend to any urban enthusiast.

5 people found this helpful

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Cities Make More Sense Now

I've never understood why it's so difficult to drive into Boston and Washington DC. Now that I understand that's they're purposely set up to make that difficult, I'm more inclined to take public transportation and more equipped to beat that system. Win/Win

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting introduction to walkability

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.

4 people found this helpful

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Who knew that this book would be so interesting and informative?

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.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful, thought provoking well researched book!

I am an architect. I was also taught, and for awhile was quite taken with, the idolization of the starchitect and the idea that the ultimate pursuit in architecture was to either have a strong theoretical concept and/or a bold architectural language. Every time I thought to myself quietly though, I began to really question if this is what makes attractive cities.
Fast forward a few years and I have for the most part dumped this idea and it's wonderful to have books which lend credence and weight to the argument that a quality city is made from a large collection of very small moves. This book illustrates this beautifully and I really hope more people in the building profession come to their senses and stop scarring our streets with oversized sculptural objects. Well done, Mr. Speck

3 people found this helpful

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Biased author?

I enjoyed this book and found the information very interesting. However, many points made by the author, though possible or probable, were defended passionately yet sometimes lacking unmistakable evidence. Many arguments had several variables that could not strongly defend its theories. That said, I believe a handful of the theories were valid and at least should be considered for city planners.

16 people found this helpful

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Read by the Author

Took me a few minutes to get used to the author's voice, as opposed to one of those generic-spounding professional audiobook readers, but once I did it was clear that he put way more of his heart into it than anyone else could have. A fantastic book for anyone interested in cities, transportation, and urbanites.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ella K
  • 07-20-20

interesting though a little repetative

really interesting book. lots of value to it though it was at time repetative. still really enjoyable listen