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Summary

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.

©2012 Jeff Speck (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa
  • 04-10-16

Biased author?

I enjoyed this book and found the information very interesting. However, many points made by the author, though possible or probable, were defended passionately yet sometimes lacking unmistakable evidence. Many arguments had several variables that could not strongly defend its theories. That said, I believe a handful of the theories were valid and at least should be considered for city planners.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • 18-04-17

Good information

What did you like best about Walkable City? What did you like least?

There is a lot of good information about how to make cities more walkable. The recommendations are more than can be done by a given city in most cases, and the author explains this well in the final chapter of the book.

What three words best describe Jeff Speck’s performance?

a bit dull

Any additional comments?

I learned about this book via a Jeff Speck talk on TED. He is a much, much better live speaker than a book reader. I was disappointed in his reading, compared to what I saw in his TED talks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Nicks
  • 12-05-18

Interesting topic and thoughtful insight, subpar recording.

I liked this book a lot. The topics discussed were laid out neatly and organized and discussed well. Speck offers ten points for fixing American cities and then goes into more detail for each point. The ideas presented were easy to follow along with and offered insight to the design flaws that plague many American cities.

However, throughout this recording you could occasionally hear Speck turn his pages, often you would hear a different recording that was used for correcting previous recordings (different volume and intonation). I understand corrections need to be made, but I have never listened to an audiobook with more corrected audio than this one.

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  • ArtDadofER
  • 18-04-18

Great book, not a great narrator

The content of the book is great. He's just not as talented as a professional narrator.

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  • Jacob Bernard
  • 26-03-18

Great Focus on Urban Walkability

Many books on Urban Planning are used to teach me something new, or to affirm many of my preconceptions. In Walkable City, however, the author had numerous points that challenged these preconceptions, and led me to reconsider positions I had taken for granted. An excellent examination in depth of walkability.

The author, while good in humor and engaging, could stand to practice his vocal delivery, as there were a number of instances where I had difficulty understanding him. His voice is deep, and at times mumbles the ending of sentences.

Overall, great work I recommend to any urban enthusiast.

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  • Alec
  • 13-03-18

Strengthens established concepts

Although I felt that much of this was addressed in Jane Jacobs Death and Life, it still brought home the point and added fresh ideas.

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  • L
  • 11-07-17

Change the way you think about your environment

Between SUBURBAN NATION and this book, your eyes will be opened and then you'll find yourself thinking, "of course, it makes sense!"

how we can reimagine our urban and suburban landscapes to be more pleasing, reduce crime, lower stress, reduce obesity, increase interactions and community, and help local business.

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  • Mamadoo
  • 20-06-17

Cities Make More Sense Now

I've never understood why it's so difficult to drive into Boston and Washington DC. Now that I understand that's they're purposely set up to make that difficult, I'm more inclined to take public transportation and more equipped to beat that system. Win/Win

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  • Robin A. Pearl
  • 06-05-17

Uniformly excellent

Uniformly excellent, from content to accessibility. The narration was quite conversational and drew the listener in. It left me wanting to learn more.

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  • Kevin W. Ford
  • 25-02-17

Wonderful, thought provoking well researched book!

I am an architect. I was also taught, and for awhile was quite taken with, the idolization of the starchitect and the idea that the ultimate pursuit in architecture was to either have a strong theoretical concept and/or a bold architectural language. Every time I thought to myself quietly though, I began to really question if this is what makes attractive cities.
Fast forward a few years and I have for the most part dumped this idea and it's wonderful to have books which lend credence and weight to the argument that a quality city is made from a large collection of very small moves. This book illustrates this beautifully and I really hope more people in the building profession come to their senses and stop scarring our streets with oversized sculptural objects. Well done, Mr. Speck