Walkable City : How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time
About the book
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 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. "Insightful and passionately argued" (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings), 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.
"A delightful, insightful, irreverent work." --The Christian Science Monitor "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 "A recipe for vibrant street life." --Los Angeles Times "Refreshing, lively and engaging . . . Walkable City isn't a harangue, it's a fun, readable and persuasive call to arms." --Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) "Everyone interested in improving the quality of city life should read this book and heed its lessons." --John Strawn, The Sunday Oregonian "Among the perennial flood of books on urban design in all its forms, this one stands out." --John King, San Francisco Chronicle "Walkable City is an energetic, feisty book, one that never contents itself with polite generalities. Sometimes breezy and anecdotal yet always logical and amply researched, this is one of the best books to appear this year. Speck deserves the widest possible readership." --Philip Langdon, Better! Cities & Towns "Walkable City . . . will change the way you see cities." --Kaid Benfield, The Atlantic Cities "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. "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
Jeff Speck Biography
Jeff Speck is an American city planner, writer, and lecturer who is the principal at the urban design and consultancy firm, Speck & Associates. He has authored or co-authored several books on urban planning, including his 2012 book, Walkable City: How Downtown Saves America, One Step at a Time. He is an advocate for New Urbanism and more "walkable" cities and has given TED Talks on the subjects.
Early life and educationSpeck grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts. He earned a BA from Williams College, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1985. After graduating from Williams, Speck would go on to attend Syracuse University, where he earned an MFA in art history. He then attended Harvard University, earning a Master of Architecture.
CareerSpeck began his urban design career at Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (now DPZ CoDesign) where, over the course of 10 years, he became the Director of Town Planning. While at DPZ, Speck co-authored (with Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk) a book entitled, Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. Published in 2000, the book details the effects of urban sprawl on cities and offers a plan for improved urban redevelopment.From 2003 to 2007, Speck was the Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). While there, he oversaw the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design. After leaving the NEA, Speck started his own urban design consultancy firm, Speck & Associates, which was originally based in Washington, D.C. As part of the business, Speck has created master plans and waterfront plans for a variety of cities including, Lowell, Massachusetts; Memphis, Tennessee; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Tampa, Florida. In 2008, Speck completed construction on his family's house in Washington, D.C. The three-story building sits on a flatiron lot and measures about 500 square feet per floor. It was profiled in The Washington Post Magazine soon after its completion.In 2009, Speck co-authored The Smart Growth Manual with Andrés Duany and Mike Lydon. The book offers a wide variety of New Urbanist planning principles and techniques. In 2012, Speck released his book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time. The book is split into two parts, with the first part detailing Speck's "General Theory of Walkability." The second part provides Speck's ten-step process toward attaining walkability in cities. Walkable City was the best-selling city-planning book of 2013 and 2014. Speck gave two TED Talks on the subject in 2013 and has given numerous lectures on the topic since.In 2015, Speck's firm was hired by businessman, Jeff Vinik, to design and plan the $1-billion redevelopment of downtown Tampa. By that time, Speck had also relocated his family and business (Speck & Associates) to Brookline, Massachusetts.
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|Publisher:||North Point Press|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Publication date:||April 1, 2014|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||Berkeley, California, United States|