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Jeff Speck: The walkable city

Here is a great TED talk by Jeff Speck about the economic, health and environmental benefits of having a more walkable and less car dependant city. It is described as:

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

If you don’t know who he is then here is his bio

Jeff Speck is a city planner and architectural designer who, through writing, lectures, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he oversaw the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and created the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a federal program that helps state governors fight suburban sprawl. Prior to joining the Endowment, Mr. Speck spent ten years as Director of Town Planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk and Co., a leading practitioner of the New Urbanism, where he led or managed more than forty of the firm’s projects. He is the co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream as well as The Smart Growth Manual. He serves as a Contributing Editor to Metropolis Magazine, and on the Sustainability Task Force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His new book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, is now available in print, digital, and audio format.

6 comments to Jeff Speck: The walkable city

  • Konrad Kurta

    Very interesting – I’ve been travelling through Europe for the last few months, and have noticed with some interest the number of cities I’ve been to whose downtown/commercial/cultural area has traffic-dedicated roadways: there are none. Auckland has so much potential, too – Queen Street and High Street being obvious candidates for ‘service vehicles only’ status that would benefit the area enormously. Sadly, our Minister for Transport seems to be the perfect symbol of the extent to which our country prioritises walking.

  • Fred

    Brilliant video. Excellent arguments around how we achieve both better environmental outcomes and better quality of living.

  • bryce p

    I can’t get enough of these quality TED talks. Jeff Speck is brilliant (as is Andres Duany). Here is another one. This time from Janette Sadik-Kahn

    • Martin W.

      The NYC example is hilarious, so simple and rather inexpensive. Actually that should be mandatory to watch for all politicians and AT staff here in Auckland.

    • Also a good one to watch is Paul Steely White’s (Executive director of tRansportation Alternatives and a close associate of Haneete Sadik-Khan) recent presentation at the Auckland Conversations meeting.

      A lot of NZTA and AT people there, who were all falling over themselves to tell the audience that big things were coming soon and that they are on board with the whole liveable cities concept.

      I really hope that is true because NY has shown it really needs to be a top down (or grass tips) approach with a lot of grass roots support.

      Link to that presentation here:

  • Excellent talk by Jeff Speck. I am enjoying his book Walkable City How Downtown can save America One Step at a Time Greater Christchurch urban planners seriously need to understand these ideas. Our post earthquake residential rebuild has, so far, largely been ex urban development with under developed public transport and few useful walks.

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