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78 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think you know everything about walkable cities? Not until you read this., November 16, 2012
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This review is from: Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time (Hardcover)
I'm no stranger to Jeff Speck's work (Suburban Nation, Smart Growth Manual). He and I sing the same hymns, and preach from the same editions of The Book of Great City Living and Pedestrian Life. I bought Speck's latest book because, as an urban designer and writer myself, I felt I should have this in my library. I figured I might find a couple of useful tidbits to make cities happier places to live, but no huge revelations. Nothing that I didn't know already.

Wrong. This book is packed with astute insights into what makes for livable, lovable communities. Speck's genius, I think, is finding connections between seemingly disparate urban phenomena. And offering solutions that are pragmatic, implementable, and so, so...SIMPLE that it is hard to believe we have gotten it so wrong for so long.

I wish this book came out when I was wrapping up my latest book Making Transit Fun!: How to Entice Motorists from Their Cars (and onto their feet, a bike, or bus). My book is pretty good ;-) But it would have been better had I had Speck's book before mine went to press.

Best of all, Speck's literary style is engaging. This book is an easy read, an inspiring read, and a compelling read. I thought I was just going to flip through a few pages, maybe read a chapter or two, and then place it on my shelf alongside the dozens of other planning books. Wrong again. I was surprised how quickly I became absorbed in this book. Most planning books are drier than butter-less popcorn. Speck's book glides down the gullet with flavor.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 24, 2013 11:05:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 24, 2013 11:26:45 AM PDT
When I first discovered Walkscore, I "fell in love" - until I realized that topography was (essentially) ignored (except from bicycle perspective). Nonetheless, I rely upon Walkscore as first measure of likelihood of zero-to-minimal need for a vehicle. However, a 95+ Walkscore can still leave some individuals nearly as stranded as if in a low walkscore area (one identified as requiring a vehicle).

There are *multiple* "categories" of people for whom hills (even quite mild hills, whether up or down) make a place NOT walkable. Many of these categories are ones which "can happen to anyone" (as through an unexpected injury).

Walkable (by popular definitions) is a start, but is a grossly incomplete solution, unless the goal is merely to make a place more interestingly-accessible to people who are already "athletic" and /or "outdoorsy" - a large percentage of whom are already enamored with walkable cities, buses, bicycles, etc. (some, for ethical reasons) and/or people whose only interest is locating a place to live that may allow them to walk to where they work (as if workplace is both long-term predictable and, also, the only important criteria). See .... (if I can locate the source I seek, I'll edit or add further comment)

Most people don't have the freedom to relocate to a more suitable place. The places need to become more suitable to the residents. And the transit needs to be inviting to tourists, as well. "Renting a car" should not need to be an automatic next-step after arranging airplane travel, even (especially?) in emergencies.

Also, not all people thrive (or can learn to tolerate or function) with the noise-levels, over-stimulation, and other aspects of (contemporary) urban living. Then, there's the air-quality.

Please explain why/how someone who is interested in "Aging in Place" would be best in an urban environment (unless they want extraordinary access to "Arts and elaborate restaurants" - beyond what can be found in many "small" communities.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2014 10:57:34 AM PST
Unpredictable work, forcing the public to be rootless transients, likely to have a big impact on urban planning, as home ownership falls by the wayside, along with aging in place.
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