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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Features
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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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Everyone is calling for smart growth...but what exactly is it?

In The Smart Growth Manual, two leading city planners provide a thorough answer. From the expanse of the metropolis to the detail of the window box, they address the pressing challenges of urban development with easy-to-follow advice and broad array of best practices.

With their landmark book Suburban Nation, Andres Duany and Jeff Speck "set forth more clearly than anyone has done in our time the elements of good town planning" (The New Yorker). With this long-awaited companion volume, the authors have organized the latest contributions of new urbanism, green design, and healthy communities into a comprehensive handbook, fully illustrated with the built work of the nation's leading practitioners.

"The Smart Growth Manual is an indispensable guide to city planning. This kind of progressive development is the only way to fully restore our economic strength and create new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete in the first rank of world economies." -- Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco

"Authors Andres Duany, Jeff Speck, and Mike Lydon have created The Smart Growth Manual, a resource which not only explains the overarching ideals of smart growth, but a manual that takes the time to show smart growth principles at each geographic scale (region, neighborhood, street, building). I highly recommend [it] as a part of any community participant’s or urban planner’s desktop references." -- LocalPlan.org

Planetizen Top 10 Books – 2010
On the ninth annual list of the ten best books in urban planning, design and development:
"The goal of The Smart Growth Manual is clear from page 1: to create a guidebook for smart growth following the pattern of the Charter for New Urbanism. Duany, Speck and Lydon have achieved that in spades (the Charter is included in the appendix, in case we missed the connection). It even clears up some of the architectural arguments that attach themselves to New Urbanists, such as this segment of Section 14.1, Regional Design; 'While new buildings should not be compelled to mimic their historic predecessors, designers should pay attention to local practices regarding materials and colors, roof pitches, eave lengths, window-to-wall ratios, and the socially significant relationship of buildings to their site and the street; these have usually evolved in intelligent response to local conditions.' In addition to making the old 'traditional vs. modern' argument irrelevant, Duany, Speck and Lydon have truly managed to boil down the best parts of current practices into a highly readable, portable book."

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.

Everyone is calling for smart growth...but what exactly is it?

In The Smart Growth Manual, two leading city planners provide a thorough answer. From the expanse of the metropolis to the detail of the window box, they address the pressing challenges of urban development with easy-to-follow advice and broad array of best practices.

With their landmark book Suburban Nation, Andres Duany and Jeff Speck "set forth more clearly than anyone has done in our time the elements of good town planning" (The New Yorker). With this long-awaited companion volume, the authors have organized the latest contributions of new urbanism, green design, and healthy communities into a comprehensive handbook, fully illustrated with the built work of the nation's leading practitioners.

"The Smart Growth Manual is an indispensable guide to city planning. This kind of progressive development is the only way to fully restore our economic strength and create new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete in the first rank of world economies." -- Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco

"Authors Andres Duany, Jeff Speck, and Mike Lydon have created The Smart Growth Manual, a resource which not only explains the overarching ideals of smart growth, but a manual that takes the time to show smart growth principles at each geographic scale (region, neighborhood, street, building). I highly recommend [it] as a part of any community participant’s or urban planner’s desktop references." -- LocalPlan.org

Planetizen Top 10 Books – 2010
On the ninth annual list of the ten best books in urban planning, design and development:
"The goal of The Smart Growth Manual is clear from page 1: to create a guidebook for smart growth following the pattern of the Charter for New Urbanism. Duany, Speck and Lydon have achieved that in spades (the Charter is included in the appendix, in case we missed the connection). It even clears up some of the architectural arguments that attach themselves to New Urbanists, such as this segment of Section 14.1, Regional Design; 'While new buildings should not be compelled to mimic their historic predecessors, designers should pay attention to local practices regarding materials and colors, roof pitches, eave lengths, window-to-wall ratios, and the socially significant relationship of buildings to their site and the street; these have usually evolved in intelligent response to local conditions.' In addition to making the old 'traditional vs. modern' argument irrelevant, Duany, Speck and Lydon have truly managed to boil down the best parts of current practices into a highly readable, portable book."

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