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Speck, coauthor of Suburban Nation (2000), believes America has a problem—actually, lots of problems—that can be solved by improving walkability in our cities. Public health, sustainability, and even the lagging economy, he argues, can be boosted by making cities more friendly for pedestrians. Drawing on his background as a city planner and architectural designer, Speck lays out a 10-step plan for changing the way we build and think about our public spaces. The steps are wide-ranging, from planting more trees and narrowing roads to investing in well-planned public transit systems and designing visually interesting buildings. Speck is at times blunt and doesn’t mince words about the roadblocks to walkability: “Traffic studies are bullshit.” But he makes a clear and convincing case for the benefits of revitalizing our public spaces in favor of foot traffic. Walkable City, in addition to being full of information about city planning and progress, is a remarkably readable book and moves along quickly because of Speck’s spirited writing and no-holds-barred attitude. An engaging book with a powerful message and achievable goals. --Sarah Hunter
Jeff Speck, AICP, is one of the few practitioners and writers in the field who can make a 312-page book on a basic planning concept seem too short . . . For getting planning ideas into the thinking and the daily life of U.S. cities, this is the book. (Planning magazine)
Jeff Speck's brilliant and entertaining book reminds us that, in America, the exception could easily become the rule. Mayors, planners, and citizens need look no further for a powerful and achievable vision of how to make our ordinary cities great again. (Joseph P. Riley, mayor of Charleston, S.C.)
City planning and urban development are phrases almost guaranteed to bore and confuse regular people. Which is weird, given that cities are the least boring places on earth. Fortunately, Jeff Speck is a deeply knowledgeable, charming, and jargon-free visionary, a profoundly pragmatic person brimming with common sense everybody can use to improve their own lives as well as their towns and cities. If Jane Jacobs invented a new urbanism, Walkable City is its perfect complement, a commonsense twenty-first-century user's manual. (Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360 and author of True Believers)
Cities are the future of the human race, and Jeff Speck knows how to make them work. In Walkable City, he persuasively explains how to create rational urban spaces and improve quality of life by containing the number one vector of global environmental catastrophe: the automobile. (David Owen, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Green Metropolis)
Companionable and disarmingly candid, Jeff Speck perches on your shoulder and gets you to see your community with fresh eyes. He gradually builds a compelling case for walkability as the essential distillation of a vast trove of knowledge about urbanism and placemaking. The case he makes has you both nodding at the intuitive and seemingly obvious wisdom presented, and shaking your head at why those basic principles of fixing our cities have eluded us for so long. (Harriet Tregoning, founder of the National Smart Growth Network)
Jeff Speck understands a key fact about great cities, which is that their streets matter more than their buildings. And he understands a key fact about great streets, which is that the people who walk along them matter more than the cars that drive through them. Walkable City is an eloquent ode to the livable city and to the values behind it. (Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic and author of Why Architecture Matters)
With Walkable City, Jeff Speck demonstrates why he is among the most relevant and engaging writers on urban design today. (Ron Bogle, president and CEO of the American Architectural Foundation)
When I speak around the country, people ask me what is the first thing they should do to start their community on the path of smart growth. I will now say: Read Jeff Speck's Walkable City. (Parris Glendening, governor of Maryland (1995–2003) and president of Smart Growth America's Leadership Institute)
Truly a book that is so very needed, Walkable City moves theory into action. We now know we need to build walkable urban places for all sorts of economic, social, and environmental reasons. Jeff Speck shows how to do it in the same clear style we came to love in the classic Suburban Nation. (Christopher B. Leinberger, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of The Option of Urbanism)
I liked all the stats and references. Good overview of issues and great stories and case studies interspersed. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
Fantastic, easy-to-read how to guide for one of the great social trends of the 21st centuryPublished 2 months ago by Brian G.
I was drawn to this book by the intriguing topic and interesting points made in other reviews. Mr. Speck makes some interesting points in his book, but this becomes drowned by his... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Virginia
This is a must read for every urbanist, anyone who loves cities, and frankly every human being. Jeff Speck, with razor focus, outlines the solutions needed to radically improve how... Read morePublished 3 months ago by clewis
Jeff Speck proves with numbers and studies what Jane Jacobs affirmed some decades ago.
A well written book, with some surprising facts.
The book starts out like a recipe book without any promise of much excitement. As the flavors unfold (explode), it becomes a compulsive read, full of engaging, often... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lilian
Really interesting discussion of the future of cities. Hopefully, ever city manager, mayor, council member and concerned citizen has picked up a copy for themselves and one for... Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. M. Fleming
I thoroughly enjoyed Jeff Speck's book "How Downtown Can Save America..." I have followed the New Urbanism movement a little. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Thomas F Baur