137. Jeff Speck – Walkable City: Building Better Places

This week my guest is Jeff Speck, a city planner and urban designer who advocates internationally for more walkable cities. His book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time was written not just for designers, but to also convert generalists to his cause. Walkability doesn’t just impact city planning; it has huge effects on economics, health, and the environment. Jeff’s TEDtalks on the subject has been viewed over 4 million times.

We built our cities to accommodate pedestrians for centuries and they worked well. Now we’re building our cities structured around the idea of everyone driving cars and they are significantly less efficient. Separating the work, home, and hobby aspects of our lives through city planning has created less livable, less equitable environments. Jeff shares the ways our government and laws have made walkability more difficult and how he and other city planners have been working to change those laws and add value to communities. This is a slow process, but Jeff says every city across the US could benefit from a walkability report.

We remind listeners that there are sacrifices to be made by living in a more walkable environment, but the benefits can significantly outweigh them.

“You should have as good a time you can while you’re alive, while giving as good a time to as many others as you can.” – Jeff Speck

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Life is about having as good a time as you can
  • Jeff’s skill in collecting and communicating ideas
  • Why sprawl is the worth thing we’ve ever invented
  • The economic argument for walkability
  • The health argument for walkability
  • The environmental argument for walkability
  • How millennials living priorities have changed now that they’re having children
  • Why is America like this?
  • Focus as a commodity and writing in Italy
  • Who is the reader Jeff has in mind when writing
  • Getting your ideas out into the world – public speaking vs. writing books

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