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?
Credits: Data and images linked to sources.