HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Walkable City by Jeff Speck
Loading...

Walkable City (2012)

by Jeff Speck

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
94None127,506 (4.25)8
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Urban space ( )
  zbigniew | Apr 15, 2014 |
A city planner by trade, Speck is aware of what works and doesn't work in creating and maintaining thriving metropolises. He blames many of his fellow planners for the big mistakes of repeatedly designing cities for the swift movement of cars and then for places to park those cars, destroying the city in the process. The obvious solution is to make the city more "walkable" but many efforts to design cities as a place to walk have failed as well, often due to their half-hearted nature or lack of understanding of what makes a city walkable. To address this, Speck created a ten step list (cited in its entirety below) with each chapter describing the facets involved in creating truly walkable city.
The Useful Walk
Step 1. Put Cars in Their Place.
Step 2. Mix the Uses.
Step 3. Get the Parking Right.
Step 4. Let Transit Work.
The Safe Walk
Step 5. Protect the Pedestrian.
Step 6. Welcome Bikes.
The Comfortable Walk
Step 7. Shape the Spaces.
Step 8. Plant Trees.
The Interesting Walk
Step 9. Make Friendly and Unique Faces.
Step 10. Pick Your Winners.
I read a lot of books about urbanism, city planning, walking, and bicycling (and against the prioritizing of automobiles), so I'm the proverbial choir being preached too. Speck's book clearly states the advantages of his model to everyone, and enunciates the steps in getting to that point. For these reasons, this is the book I'd hand to an automobile-focused doubter to read and think it would have a great chance of making an impression.

Favorite Passages:
“The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Each of these qualities is essential and none alone is sufficient. Useful means that most aspects of daily life are located close at hand and organized in a way that walking serves them well. Safe means that the street has been designed to give pedestrians a fighting chance against being hit by automobiles; they must not only be safe but feel safe, which is even tougher to satisfy. Comfortable means that buildings and landscape shape urban streets into ‘outdoor living rooms,’ in contrast to wide-open spaces, which usually fail to attract pedestrians. Interesting means that sidewalks are lined by unique buildings with friendly faces and that signs of humanity abound.”
“Since midcentury, whether intentionally or by accident, most American cities have effectively become no-walking zones. In the absence of any larger vision or mandate, city engineers—worshipping the twin gods of Smooth Traffic and Ample Parking—have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at.”
“Engineers design streets for speeds well above the posted limit, so that speeding drivers will be safe—a practice that, of course, causes the very speeding it hopes to protect against.” ( )
  Othemts | Dec 29, 2013 |
Jeff Speck's Walkable City is an accessible look at American urban planning practices over the previous decades and the largely car-friendly cities they have produced. It also offers a prescription for moving away from auto-centricity to pedestrian, bike and transit supportive cities.

Speck argues that Millennials - the demographic to which I sometimes begrudgingly belong - are more interested in urban life and less interested in owning vehicles than preceding generations. In my case, this is an accurate assessment. Speck offers 10 suggestions for making cities friendlier for non-drivers. His ideas range from having scaled rates for parking - and fewer parking spaces - to planting trees along roadways to slow driving speeds and keep pedestrians safe.

As someone who is not a student of urban planning, it's hard to judge how revolutionary Speck's ideas are and how much opposition exists to their implementation. Based on living in Pittsburgh - which I consider a far cry from a pedestrian / transit friendly city - it seems like Speck's ideas are making some headway in revitalizing, urban centers. I hope this is a trend that continues as more young people choose to make this city their home.

Walkable City is probably best suited for those a novice understanding of urban planning. I learned some interesting things - how fears of traffic congestion are often overblown (but have powerful sway over city planners), how confusing streets are often the safest and how making improvements to already walkable neighborhoods is generally more productive than trying to rehab lost causes - but never felt bogged down by jargon. Overall, Walkable City is a well argued, enjoyable and generally humble look at how we can make our urban spaces safer and more enjoyable for everyone. ( )
  bzromine | Nov 26, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this book and it inspired me to think of the layout of cities in a different way. It was nice to read it when I did, since we are thinking about buying a house soon, so this book will be something we keep in mind as we look. However, (and this is my gripe with every book on this subject) I think one of the cool things about this country is that it was built from so much empty space. The author never addresses how we can make more rural areas accessible by alternative transportation, or how investing in alternative fuel sources could really benefit this country of small towns. We are not Europe, and much of the country doesn't have a big city close by. I love urban living, and would prefer to live in a place where I can run my errands without a car, but for much of this country that is simply not an option. ( )
  lisan. | Oct 4, 2013 |
Being a city walker in a walkable city, I loved this book. Now as I walk, I can see the various impacts that he describes. The studies that he cites are fascinating. I only hope it becomes an inspirational guidebook for many cities helping to overcome the multitude of bad decisions made by narrow "experts. ( )
  snash | Jun 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Alice
First words
This is not the next great book on American cities.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Not related to Mary Soderstrom's "The walkable city : from Haussmann's boulevards to Jane Jacobs' streets and beyond" (2008), https://www.librarything.com/work/6355015
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374285810, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:29 -0400)

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.… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
5 wanted1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.25)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 2
3.5
4 10
4.5 2
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,492,712 books! | Top bar: Always visible