Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

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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.
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About the author

Jeff Speck, coauthor of the landmark bestseller Suburban Nation, is a city planner who advocates for smart growth and sustainable design. As the former director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts, he oversaw the Mayors' Institute on City Design, where he worked with dozens of American mayors on their most pressing city planning challenges. He leads a design practice based in Washington, D.C.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Published on
Nov 13, 2012
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781429945967
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Urban & Land Use Planning
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Large or small, America's cities have had a difficult time generating admiration, respect, or understanding. They have served the nation as sources of commerce, finance, and the arts. They have taken millions of new Americans from their point of entry and helped newcomers elevate themselves economically into the American mainstream. In recent years, the greatest of cities have become command centers of a new global economy. However, the headlines from urban America proclaim riot, decline, and despair.

This book is different, it is about solutions: the breakthroughs—the indicators that can serve as models for neighborhoods, communities, and cities in the twenty-first century. In vivid, colorful, and provocative prose, authors Neal R. Peirce and Robert Guskind describe six innovative experiments in urban revitalization: the winners of the Rudy Bruner Award for Excellence in the Urban Environment. The Bruner Award recognizes and rewards innovative projects that blend empowerment, diversity, and equity with effective design, social responsibility, and economic viability.

Peirce and Guskind describe the premises underlying each project, the barriers that were overcome, and the results that were achieved. They also provide the vital lessons of what made these efforts work, and lessons that stand as requirements for successful projects elsewhere: openness to innovation; decentralized decision-making; broad-based participation; empowerment of locally driven solutions. This is essential reading for students, policy-makers, planners, and all those seeking a glimpse of a future in which we can take pride in being Americans.

The contributors of Policy, Planning, and People argue for the promotion of social equity and quality of life by designing and evaluating urban policies and plans. Edited by Naomi Carmon and Susan S. Fainstein, the volume features original essays by leading authorities in the field of urban planning and policy, mainly from the United States, but also from Canada, Hungary, Italy, and Israel. The contributors discuss goal setting and ethics in planning, illuminate paradigm shifts, make policy recommendations, and arrive at best practices for future planning.

Policy, Planning, and People includes theoretical as well as practice-based essays on a wide range of planning issues: housing and neighborhood, transportation, surveillance and safety, the network society, regional development and community development. Several essays are devoted to disadvantaged and excluded groups such as senior citizens, the poor, and migrant workers. The unifying themes of this volume are the values of equity, diversity, and democratic participation. The contributors discuss and draw conclusions related to the planning process and its outcomes. They demonstrate the need to look beyond efficiency to determine who benefits from urban policies and plans.

Contributors: Alberta Andreotti, Tridib Banerjee, Rachel G. Bratt, Naomi Carmon, Karen Chapple, Norman Fainstein, Susan Fainstein, Eran Feitelson, Amnon Frenkel, George Galster, Penny Gurstein, Deborah Howe, Norman Krumholz, Jonathan Levine, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Enzo Mingione, Kenneth Reardon, Izhak Schnell, Daniel Shefer, Michael Teitz, Iván Tosics, Lawrence Vale, Martin Wachs.

A globe-trotting, eye-opening exploration of how cities can—and do—make us happier people

Charles Montgomery's Happy City will revolutionize the way we think about urban life.

After decades of unchecked sprawl, more people than ever are moving back to the city. Dense urban living has been prescribed as a panacea for the environmental and resource crises of our time. But is it better or worse for our happiness? Are subways, sidewalks, and tower dwelling an improvement on the car-dependence of sprawl?

The award-winning journalist Charles Montgomery finds answers to such questions at the intersection between urban design and the emerging science of happiness, and during an exhilarating journey through some of the world's most dynamic

cities. He meets the visionary mayor who introduced a "sexy" lipstick-red bus to ease status anxiety in Bogotá; the architect who brought the lessons of medieval Tuscan hill towns to modern-day New York City; the activist who turned Paris's urban freeways into beaches; and an army of American suburbanites who have transformed their lives by hacking the design of their streets and neighborhoods.

Full of rich historical detail and new insights from psychologists and Montgomery's own urban experiments, Happy City is an essential tool for understanding and improving our own communities. The message is as surprising as it is hopeful: by retrofitting our cities for happiness, we can tackle the urgent challenges of our age. The happy city, the green city, and the low-carbon city are the same place, and we can all help build it.

"The best streets in the world's villages, towns, and cities—whether modest or grand—continually remind one that simplicity is part of the recipe for success in this art. The advice of Victor Dover and John Massengale, their historic examples and their own designs, reflect that simplicity."
—From the Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales

“Street Design is a lucid, practical and altogether indispensable guide for envisioning and creating vibrant 21st century towns and cities. It should be required reading for every local political leader, planner, architect, real estate developer and engaged urban citizen in America."
—Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360 and author of True Believers

"We are going to start walking around the places we live again, and as that occurs and becomes normal, we will rapidly redevelop a demand for higher quality in building at the human scale."
—From the Afterword by James Howard Kunstler

“Your charrette traveling library must include the important Street Design book by Victor Dover and John Massengale.”—Bill Lennertz, Executive Director, National Charrette Institute

“What an amazing resource! For those who wish that my book, Walkable City, had pictures, this is the book for you. If either your work or your play includes the making of places, you will find Street Design to be an invaluable tool.” —Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Hon. ASLA

Written by two accomplished architects and urban designers, this user-friendly street design manual shows both how to design new streets and enhance existing ones. It offers step-by-step instruction and shares examples of excellent streets, examining the elements that make them successful as well as how they were designed and created. Topics also include strategies for shaping space in the public right-of-way through correct building height to street width ratios, terminated vistas, landscaping, and street geometry. This book is a valuable resource for urban designers, planners, architects, and engineers.

With guest essays from: Kaid Benfield, David Brussat, Javier Cenicacelaya, Hank Dittmar, Andres Duany, Douglas Duany, Emily Glavey, Chip Kaufman, Ethan Kent, Marieanne Khoury-Vogt, Léon Krier, Gianni Longo, Thomas Low, Laura Lyon, Chuck Marohn, Paul Murrain, John Norquist, Stefanos Polyzoides, Gabriele Tagliaventi and Erik Vogt.

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