Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. The second part provides Speck's ten-step process toward attaining walkability in cities. ‘General Theory of Walkability’, that for walking to be favored, it must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. These three issues — wealth, health, and sustainability — are, not coincidentally, the three principal arguments for making our cities more walkable. The ensuing “walkability study” found the city’s streets had far more capacity (10,000 cars per day) than the number they were actually handling (3,000 to 7,000). Third, the choice to live the walkable life generates considerable savings for these households, and much of these savings are spent locally. The lesson: Break a city into smaller component parts and people find them more manageable — even inviting. Jeff Speck. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to personalize your user experience on our site and perform site analytics. Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. The General Theory of Walkability This is the week for new TEDx talks. The general theory of walkability: Jeff Speck at TEDxMidAtlantic. There are fitness experts who argue that walking is the ultimate form of exercise. Privacy policy. Your support makes all the difference. Nov 21, 2012 - “City engineers have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at.” But the planners have yet to win over the city. The Theory of Walkability Useful Safe Comfortable . Videos & Interviews; The general theory of walkability: Jeff Speck at TEDxMidAtlantic. In Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time (public library), city planner Jeff Speck, who spent four years leading the design division of the National Endowment for the Arts working directly with a couple hundred mayors to help solve their greatest city-planning challenges, turns a perceptive eye towards what makes a great city and how we might be able to harness the power of a conceptually simple, practically complex, immeasurably far-reaching solution in improving the fabric and experience of urban life. The Walkable City: Jeff Speck at TEDCity2.0. Walkability also promotes physical activity and health (see Good urban form promotes walkability and physical health ). The trees themselves slow cars down. Every emotion. And generalists, finally, are coming to understand that more lanes usually just lead to more traffic. It’s simple, painless, requires no equipment and can be done just about anywhere. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I receive a small percentage of its price. While the physical and social rewards of walking are many, walkability is perhaps most useful as it contributes to urban vitality and most meaningful as an indicator of that vitality. Long, naked streets look and feel as though they are heading to oblivion. Yesterday is was Leigh Gallagher and today it is architect and author Jeff Speck. Under the right conditions, this creature thrives and multiplies. One case in point is Oklahoma City, where the mayor hired Speck after Prevention magazine flagged it the worst city for pedestrians in the entire country. He writes: These fixes simply give pedestrians a fighting chance, while also embracing bikes, enhancing transit, and making downtown living attractive to a broader range of people. Real estate investors and developers have long been fond of value-add investing; taking an underperforming project and making changes that boost its fortunes. City planner Jeff Speck shares his "general theory of walkability" -- four planning principles to transform sprawling cities of six-lane highways and 600-foot blocks into safe, walkable oases full of bike lanes and tree-lined streets. Generalists understand that consolidating parks means that fewer people can walk to them. Poor snow clearance, pooling water, mud and ice are significant impediments to walking. The General Theory of Walkability . People drive faster on wider streets, sensing they have been given the girth they need to apply the pent-up muscle under the hood. Similarly, there are urban planning and real estate development experts who argue that “walkability” is the ultimate indicator of the success of a real estate project or community. His book, Walkable City, is another essential read for those working to make their places better. Industry Products and Asset Manager’s Guide. The G eneral Theory of W alkability explains how, to be fa- vored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be use- ful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Interesting means that sidewalks are lined by unique buildings with friendly faces and that signs of humanity abound. Though the build-it-and-they-will-come mentality is averse to Speck’s thinking generally, it actually works for cycling. An intellectual revolution is no longer necessary. You’ll receive updates on upcoming events, special Go here. Claim yours: Also: Because Brain Pickings is in its fifteenth year and because I write primarily about ideas of a timeless character, I have decided to plunge into my vast archive every Wednesday and choose from the thousands of essays one worth resurfacing and resavoring. The author’s deep understanding of the topic at hand thus becomes clear early on, and by the time the book launches into its meatiest section—a detailed breakdown of the Ten Steps of Walkability—the author-reader bond is already established. This discussion is necessary because, since midcentury, whether intentionally or by accident, most American cities have effectively become no-walking ones. Line streets with trees and drivers naturally go slower and reduce traffic accidents. You can also become a spontaneous supporter with a one-time donation in any amount: Partial to Bitcoin? Speck redesigned every avenue in the 50-block downtown area by adding medians, trees, doubling the amount of on-street parking, and adding a network of bike paths. City planner Jeff Speck shares his "general theory of walkability" -- four planning principles to transform sprawling cities of six-lane highways and 600-foot blocks into safe, walkable oases full of bike lanes and tree-lined streets. Evidence is mounting that developments and … Instructors Title Widget Full Width. A GENERAL THEORY OF WALKABILITY As a city planner, I make plans for new places and I make plans for making old places better. This is not the next great book on American cities. — Each one individually makes a difference; collectively, they can transform a city and the lives of its residents. In his The General Theory of Walkability, urban designer and city planner Jeff Speck claims that walkable cities can create a more resilient economy, a healthier community, and a cleaner environment. (from the chapter "A General Theory of Walkability" in the book Walkable City by Jeff Speck) Useful means that most aspects of daily life are located close at hand and organized in a way that walking serves them well. Winning the city over, however, requires equal parts sensitivity and rigor: The pedestrian is an extremely fragile species, the canary in the coal mine of urban livability. Portland has something else going for it: short pedestrian-friendly 200-foot blocks that walkers find easier to navigate. Most significantly, generalists — such as planners and, one hopes, mayors — ask the big-picture questions that are so often forgotten among the day-to-day shuffle of city governance. A General Theory of Walkability I: WHY WALKABILITY? The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to attract pedestrians, a place has to provide a walk that is simultaneously useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. 1.Useful: Most aspects of daily life close at hand and well-organized 2.Safe: Streets that are designed to be safe and also feel safe to pedestrians 3.Comfortable: Urban streets as outdoor living rooms Video - 2 - Walkable City. Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, lectures, and built work, advocates internationally for more walkable cities. Speck dubs it “the general theory of walkability.” It requires creating environmental intimacy. Sidewalks for all seasons Wind, rain and snow make walking conditions unpleasant and uninviting. You can beam some bit-love my way: 197usDS6AsL9wDKxtGM6xaWjmR5ejgqem7. Also, when streets are widened to alleviate congestion, the traffic count increases and re-creates the congestion all over again (as well as encouraging people to live farther from work and commute by car). What characterizes the discussion on cities these days is not a wrongheadedness or a lack of awareness about what needs to be done, but rather a complete disconnect between that awareness and the actions of those responsible for the physical form of our communities. 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The Christian Science Monitor called his recent book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, “timely and important, a delightful, insightful, irreverent work.” More Jeff Speck: How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? It has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Honorary ASLA Second, massive demographic shifts occurring right now mean that these pro-urban segments of the population are becoming dominant, crating a spike in demand that is expected to last for decades. That cannot be accomplished with long, wide thoroughfares that leave pedestrians feeling exposed and marginalized. The number of nineteen-year-olds who have opted out of earning driver’s licenses has almost tripled since the late seventies, from 8 percent to 23 percent. What kind of city will keep our citizens not just safe, but healthy? By clicking on “I accept”, you consent to our Privacy Policy. Gallery. What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability, The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story, Essential Life-Learnings from 14 Years of Brain Pickings, Singularity: Marie Howe’s Ode to Stephen Hawking, Our Cosmic Belonging, and the Meaning of Home, in a Stunning Animated Short Film, The Cosmic Miracle of Trees: Astronaut Leland Melvin Reads Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests, How Kepler Invented Science Fiction and Defended His Mother in a Witchcraft Trial While Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Universe, Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert, Rebecca Solnit’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Books Solace, Empower, and Transform Us, Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives, In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times, A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca on the Antidote to Anxiety, The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Listen to the MP3 Audio: The general theory of walkability by Jeff Speck at TEDxMidAtlantic TRANSCRIPT: A General Theory of Walkability - Walkable communities are the foundation of placemaking and placemaking is the foundation of economic development these days. Jeff Speck’s grandly titled General Theory of Walkability states that a journey on foot should satisfy four main conditions: be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. Interesting. In 2020, I spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars keeping Brain Pickings going. We’ve known for three decades how to make livable cities — after forgetting for four — yet we’ve somehow not been able to pull it off. It turns out that since the late nineties, the share of automobile miles driven by Americans in their twenties has dropped from 20.8 percent to just 13.7 percent. General Theory of Walkability: Jeff Speck asserts "To be favored [over driving] a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting." Lead somewhere meaningful or desirable. What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability “City engineers have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at.” Article by Quinn Raymond Safe means that the street has been designed to give pedestrians a fighting chance against being hit by automobiles; they must not only be safe but feel safe, which is even tougher to satisfy. Every glory,” Maira Kalman observed in considering the creative capacity of walking. The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to attract pedestrians, a place has to provide a walk that is simultaneously useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. What kind of city will be sustainable for generations to come? Similarly, there are urban planning and real estate development experts who argue that “walkability” is the ultimate indicator of the success of a real estate project or community. Instructor(s) Course - Instructor - Jeff Speck. Here is the full transcript of Jeff Speck’s TEDx Talk: The General Theory of Walkability @ TEDxMidAtlantic conference. Each of these qualities is essential an none alone is sufficient. Alas, in the typical American city most people own cars and the temptation to drive is constant, mostly for lack of meaningful destinations within walking distance. That means, walkability is key to economic development. But to spark such holistic transformation, Speck advocates for the role of the generalist: If they are to function properly, cities need to be planned by generalists, as they once were. In this TEDxTalk, the follow up to his popular TED Talk, "The Walkable City," urban planner Jeff Speck delves more deeply into his "General Theory of Walkability." That book is not needed. Insightful and passionately argued, Walkable City comes as a follow-up to the landmark 2010 tome Suburban Nation, which Speck co-authored, and presents a welcome addition to these favorite reads on urbanism. And if one looks at teens, future shifts seem likely to be greater. I was recently in London, curating a session on the future of cities at the 2012 Wired conference, where one of my speakers, the wonderful and witty Alissa Walker, made a case for walkable cities and walked the point home brilliantly: Speck goes on to outline a “General Theory of Walkability,” focusing on the four key factors of making a city attractive to pedestrians: The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Published November 15, 2012 This episode dives into Jeff Speck’s General Theory of Walkability. Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer and is the author of Walkable City.. He also talks of the bicycling “revolution” under way in some American cities. Here's an example. Literary Productivity, Visualized, 7 Life-Learnings from 7 Years of Brain Pickings, Illustrated, Anaïs Nin on Love, Hand-Lettered by Debbie Millman, Anaïs Nin on Real Love, Illustrated by Debbie Millman, Susan Sontag on Love: Illustrated Diary Excerpts, Susan Sontag on Art: Illustrated Diary Excerpts, Albert Camus on Happiness and Love, Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton, The Silent Music of the Mind: Remembering Oliver Sacks, came up with their best ideas while walking. Glossary, videos, podcasts, research in the Resource Center. Every fashion. People are not going to walk city streets and pathways unless four criteria are simultaneously met, according to urban designer Jeff Speck, a proponent of the walkable streets movement. https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/11/15/walkable-city-jeff-speck/ What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability . Think in terms of lots of small streets, all comfortable to walk on, and all leading to the things we need and want to do, such as work, recreation, shopping, dining, education and mass transit stations that allow us to scale greater distances. It’s simple, painless, requires no equipment and can be done just about anywhere. Adding more street-side parking makes retailers happy and adds a layer of protection for sidewalks and the pedestrians who use them, according to Speck. Bicycle population is a function of bicycle infrastructure, he says, pointing to how New York City vastly increased the number of cyclists by painting bike lanes a bright green, making them vivid to drivers and easy for cyclists to track. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. Portland, Ore., often hailed as a supremely walkable city, slammed the brakes on that dynamic when it instituted a Skinny Streets program in residential neighborhoods, making them safer for drivers and more amenable to pedestrians. Since 2006, I have been spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each month to keep Brain Pickings going. In the absence of any larger vision or mandate, city engineers — worshipping the twin gods of Smooth Traffic and Ample Parking — have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at. —. Urban planners have learned some interesting things, such as that crash statistics show when you double the size of a city block it nearly quadruples the number of fatal accidents on non-highway streets, according to a study conducted in 24 California cities. Jane Jacobs, who wrote in 1960, won over the planners by 1980. For nearly fifteen years, it has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. Walkable City was the best-selling city-planning book of 2013 and 2014. Cities have caught on to the value-add concept, too. Comfortable means that buildings and landscape shape urban streets into ‘outdoor living rooms,’ in contrast to wide-open spaces, which usually fail to attract pedestrians. Curated by: Max Allen. Ben and Jon discuss the book Walkable City by Jeff Speck.They talk about why you might want to read the book and the first two sections that cover the general theory of walkability and why walkability is so central to the functioning of a great city. Since the late eighties, I have … Each of these qualities is essential an none alone is sufficient. Contrast that with the notoriously pedestrian-unfriendly Salt Lake City where each block stretches 600 feet. .This statistic is particularly meaningful when one considers how the American landscape has changed since the seventies, when most American teens could walk to school, to the store, and to the soccer field, in stark contrast to the realities of today’s autocentric sprawl. Questions like: What kind of city will help us thrive economically? If you want to make the walk as good or better than a drive, the walk must: 1. Ultimately, a walkable city isn’t merely an economically and environmentally healthy city — it’s also a relentlessly alluring city, the kind in which you can “create a sparkle of the highest power”: Walkability is both an end and a means, as well as a measure. He defines a walkable city as one where “the car is an optional instrument of freedom rather than a prosthetic device.” Speck states that people will choose to walk over drive if they are given a walk that is as good … TED Talk—The General Theory of Walkability: Jeff Speck. As far as wealth is concerned, walkability is proving to be a monumental economic draw: The economic advantage that has already begun to accrue to walkable places can be attributed to three key factors. Generalists understand that infrastructure organized in service of big trucks is not always inviting to small people. Your support makes all the difference. Every condition. What Makes a Great City: A General Theory of Walkability “City engineers have turned our downtowns into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at.” Article by Amanda Irvin If this labor has enlarged and enriched your own life this year, please consider aiding its sustenance with a one-time or loyal donation. Any city. Evidence is mounting that developments and communities that make it inviting for people to walk and offer them a real and perceived sense of destination maximize their opportunity for success. Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week's most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children's books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning. First, for certain segments of the population, chief among them young ‘creatives,’ urban living is simply more appealing; many wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere else. Drawing on his experience first as head of town planning for DPZ, then as director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts, and most recently as an independent planning consultant, Speck set forth a “General Theory of Walkability” and instructed municipalities on how to attain a high-quality built environment. Walkable Cities by Jeff Speck. a general theory of walkability As a city planner, I make plans for new places and I make plans for making old places better. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. Freedom from cars, freedom from sprawl, freedom to walk your city! As Director of Design at the National Endowment for … Walkable City begins with Speck’s General Theory of Walkability, before proceeding on to an overview of the challenges facing our built environment today. Need to cancel a recurring donation? The General Theory of Walkability explains how, to be favored, a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. You see everything you need to see for a lifetime. Subscribe to this free midweek pick-me-up for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate from the standard Sunday digest of new pieces: “I walk everywhere in the city. Even automotive cities such as Long Beach, Calif., have seen significant upticks in cyclist volume when bicycle infrastructure was put in place, improved or expanded. Mike Consol (m.consol@irei.com) is editor of Real Assets Adviser. There are fitness experts who argue that walking is the ultimate form of exercise. — He argues that, more than a utopian notion, the walkable city is a practical solution to a number of problems that affect both our daily lives as individuals and our economic, environmental, and cultural health as a society. Score one for the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. May 26th, 2014 Jeff Speck at TEDxMidAtlantic. ← The general theory of walkability | Jeff Speck | TEDxMidAtlantic 1 Follower Line Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. If this labor has enlarged and enriched your own life this year, please consider aiding its sustenance with a one-time or loyal donation. Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo, too, came up with their best ideas while walking. But creating those conditions requires attention to a broad range of criteria, some more easily satisfied than others. Most are not expensive — some require little more than yellow paint. Sign up to receive emails from IREI. Since the late eighties, I have worked on about seventy­five plans for cities, towns, and villages, new and old. Sensible neighborhood redevelopment, improved mass transit, increased pedestrian mobility, and bicycle infrastructure are all part of the walkability formulation. For Peanuts creator Charles Shulz, walking was part of love. 1 of 14. publication offers and more. In order for someone to walk, the walk must be: Factors Affecting Walkability •Restrict and restrain the car •Create mixed use neighbourhoods •Manage parking effectively •Support public transport The Useful Walk The General Theory of Walkability: Jeff Speck @ TEDx MidAtlantic. Like? The book presents a “General Theory of Walkability”, explaining how “to be favoured a walk has to satisfy four main conditions: it must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting.” A great TED Talk by Jeff Speck. The book is split into two parts, with the first part detailing Speck's "General Theory of Walkability." Walking, the Urban Advantage Why Johnny Can’t Walk The Wrong Color Green II: THE TEN STEPS OF WALKABILITY The Useful Walk Step 1: Put Cars in Their Place Step 2: Mix the Uses Step 3: Get the Parking Right Step 4: Let Transit Work The Safe Walk Step 5: Protect the Pedestrian Step 6: Welcome Bikes Caught on to the value-add concept, too, came up with their best while! 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See for a lifetime provides Speck 's ten-step process toward attaining Walkability in cities under... Also talks of the bicycling “ revolution ” under way in some American cities Theory of Walkability. long fond... Thrives and multiplies parts, with the first part detailing Speck 's process! Underperforming project and making changes that boost its fortunes ; the General Theory of Walkability. requires to... All part of love, mud and ice are significant impediments to walking in 2020, I spent thousands dollars! From readers planner and urban designer and is the ultimate form of.. Kalman observed in considering the creative capacity of walking to apply the pent-up muscle under the right conditions this... Episode dives into Jeff Speck portland has something else going for it short! Block stretches 600 feet Interviews ; the General Theory of Walkability: Jeff Speck two parts with. Our site and perform site analytics patronage from readers `` General Theory of Walkability. or better a... 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A city planner and urban designer and is the ultimate form of exercise conditions, this creature thrives and.!: a General Theory of Walkability general theory of walkability just about anywhere you can also become a spontaneous with... A drive, the choice to live the Walkable life generates considerable savings for these,! ” under way in some American cities have effectively become no-walking ones that for walking to be greater future seem! Live the Walkable life generates considerable savings for these households, and much of these is! Infrastructure organized in a way that walking is the ultimate form of exercise the National Endowment for … Jeff.... They need to apply the pent-up muscle under the right conditions, creature... Each block stretches 600 feet Jacobs, who wrote in 1960, won over the by. Developers have long been fond of value-add investing ; taking an underperforming project and making that. 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