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Walkable city : how downtown can save America, one step at a time

November 20, 2013 - 4:57pm -- rburkett
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Speck, Jeff
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.

Walkable City presents the idea that vibrant cities are those that are developing downtowns where automobiles are an option but not a requirement. He makes the case that city planners have often made decisions that may have been standard but that have compromised the walkability of the city and its appeal to people who want to live in vibrant urban neighborhoods. This is a book that may be of interest to anyone desiring healthy development in his or her city.

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