June 27 2013

Planning Steps into the Spotlight: Walkable City Book Review

Walkable City book cover

If you’re a planner and have tried to explain to everyday folks the importance of good planning, then you know it can be a difficult topic to interest them. Most either find the planning profession to be too regulatory or know nothing about it at all. In Jeff Speck’s Walkable City: How Downtown can Save America, One Step at a Time, the planning profession is put into a new and comprehensible light. This book isn’t just meant to target the few planners, hard-core walkers, or the odd municipal official. Walkable City is a book for the everyday man that manages to put good planning into mainstream conversation. This fun and witty publication isn’t just about walkability, but about the planning that brings about great places.

As co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, Speck is no stranger to cultivating a general interest in planning. In Walkable City, he begins with why walkability is important to residents, municipalities, and the local economy, with a balance of personal experiences, statistics, and stories. As he continues into the bulk of the book, he narrows all the best practices of planning into four essential types of walks: useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. These types of walks are further organized into ten easy steps that, if followed, have the power to make our cities and towns more walkable. Using simple, every-day language, his steps are intentionally phrased as verbs to make our communities better places for all.

Walkable City is the perfect book for all: from the generalist with easy-to-grasp concepts to the urban planner with useful statistics. “While battle was never declared, many American cities seem to have been made and remade with a mandate to defeat pedestrians.” Now is the perfect time to turn the tide for the walkable city.

What do you think your community is missing to be more walkable?

Want a FREE copy of Walkable City? The Grid is giving away four FREE books to four lucky winners. Follow the link to the giveaway for a chance to win your free copy. Good luck!

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Jennifer Garcia

Born and raised in the Midwest, Jennifer García now enjoys the energy and quality of life that Miami has to offer. Professionally, she uses traditional architecture and principles of the New Urbanism as a Town Planner at Dover, Kohl & Partners. Based on careful research, she designs each project within the context of the local architectural language, distinct culture, and regional settlement patterns. She proudly holds a Master of Architecture from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Traveling has taught her to immerse herself into each place’s history, culture, traditions, and how they contribute to the range of urbanism and local vernacular. She also enjoys blogging as a local transit advocate for Transit Miami. Her daily bicycle commutes reinforce her belief in nurturing a living urbanism with livable streets.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 27th, 2013 at 9:08 am and is filed under Education and Careers, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “Planning Steps into the Spotlight: Walkable City Book Review”

  1. Po Sun Says:

    Living in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, it is generally a very walkable community, particularly during the day time. Evening time however, for those not used to the area or just moved in, safety becomes a concern especially on streets with poor lighting and other pedestrian presence. However, more generally overall, I would attribute the abundance of trash and litter on the sidewalk and streets to be the main inhibitors of creating better walkability in my neighborhood. However, there doesn’t seem to be any other ways to collect garbage in NYC.

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