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Home » Jeff Speck: 4 Ways to Make a City More Walkable (Transcript)

Jeff Speck: 4 Ways to Make a City More Walkable (Transcript)

Jeff Speck

Here is the full transcript of Jeff Speck’s Talk: 4 ways to make a city more walkable at TED conference.

TRANSCRIPT:

So I’m here to talk to you about the walkable city. What is the walkable city? Well, for want of a better definition, it’s a city in which the car is an optional instrument of freedom, rather than a prosthetic device.

And I’d like to talk about why we need the walkable city, and I’d like to talk about how to do the walkable city. Most of the talks I give these days are about why we need it, but you guys are smart. And also I gave that talk exactly a month ago, and you can see it at TED.com. So today I want to talk about how to do it.

In a lot of time thinking about this, I’ve come up with what I call the general theory of walkability. A bit of a pretentious term, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time, and I’d like to share what I think I’ve figured out.

In the American city, the typical American city — the typical American city is not Washington, DC, or New York, or San Francisco; it’s Grand Rapids or Cedar Rapids or Memphis — in the typical American city in which most people own cars and the temptation is to drive them all the time, if you’re going to get them to walk, then you have to offer a walk that’s as good as a drive or better.

What does that mean? It means you need to offer four things simultaneously: there needs to be a proper reason to walk, the walk has to be safe and feel safe, the walk has to be comfortable and the walk has to be interesting. You need to do all four of these things simultaneously, and that’s the structure of my talk today, to take you through each of those.

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