Durable Growth

City Repair: The concept and the book

Intersection project (from Streets Wiki)

Urbanism has many facets, but walkability is integral to most of them. A goal of much of my blogging is encouraging more new walkable urban development. I also write about enhancing walkability in places where it exists, but is flawed.

It’s also imperative to add walkability to existing neighborhoods […]

Durable Growth

Jeff Speck and walkability still riding high

Walkable marketplace in Italy

Earlier this year, I wrote several times about Jeff Speck, including a review of his “Walkable City”. The book was also a reading selection for Petaluma Urban Chat. We spent several meetings chewing over the lessons imparted by what many consider the urban planning book of 2013.

It’s been a […]

Durable Growth

A ten-minute neighborhood is essential but insufficient for walkability

Wallkable street near Iowa State campus

A walkability rule-of-thumb is that motivated pedestrians will walk to destinations that are ten minutes away before resorting to cars. So time is a fine initial measure of walkability. But it isn’t sufficient. Others factors also affect walkability.

In “Walkable City”, Jeff Speck offers four criteria for a […]

Durable Growth

Five Bs leave Council Bluffs with a failing grade

Council Bluffs sidewalk detail

In “Walkable City”, author Jeff Speck writes about the failures of past urban beautification programs. He recalls “the famous ’Five Bs’ of the eighties – bricks, banners, bandstands, bollards, and berms – that now grace many an abandoned downtown.”

I smiled at the description, picturing a generic deserted downtown with […]

Durable Growth

Pedestrian improvements have to start somewhere

Sidewalk along East Washington

East Washington Street in Petaluma, particularly between the freeway and Petaluma Boulevard, is a miserable place to walk. Four lanes of car traffic, skinny sidewalks directly behind the curbs, and no parking to act as a buffer. I don’t like walking there and cringe when I see others ambulating.

The […]

Durable Growth

A young urbanist in San Clemente

San Clemente pier

During successive summers in the early 1960s, my parents arranged the weekly rental of an apartment in San Clemente, north of San Diego. (This would have been a decade before Richard Nixon made San Clemente famous for the “Western White House”.)

The apartment was a short block uphill from the waterfront […]


Shared streets: Novelty or panacea?

A Poynton intersection. From the video Poynton Regenerated on Amalgamated.

I’ve previous written about the complete streets concept, which aims to give pedestrians and bicyclists facilities equal to those given to drivers. I’ve also written about woonerfs, low speed residential streets in which the distinction between sidewalks and roadways is removed, forcing cars to […]

Durable Growth

“Walkable City” filled with well-polished insights

Healdsburg walkability

“Walkable City” by Jeff Speck doesn’t break much new ground. But it doesn’t need to. Instead, Speck takes a wealth of accumulated wisdom about walkability, polishes it to a warm patina, assembles it in a cohesive format, and presents it back to the reader. An anecdote will help illustrate.

I know an […]