• Walkable City

  • How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
  • By: Jeff Speck
  • Narrated by: Jeff Speck
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (911 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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What listeners say about Walkable City

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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Drab narration

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.

4 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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Horrible...

What would have made Walkable City better?

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.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jeff Speck again?

I would only listen to an apology from Mr. Speck for wasting my time and money.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

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.

What character would you cut from Walkable City?

Jeff Speck

Any additional comments?

Don't waste you time with this book.

4 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

.