It’d be pretty tough to read through everything on our list of the best planning books. But if you have 16 minutes, author Jeff Speck shares the basic arguments of his book Walkable City in this TED talk.
Speck’s argument for walkable cities appeals to what just about everyone wants: more money, better health, and a cleaner environment.
In cities that require more driving, residents spend far more of their income on transportation. Physical inactivity, which suburban design encourages, has grave health consequences. And the farther away households are from cities, where it’s easier to share resources, the more carbon dioxide they produce.
Speck acknowledges that it’s hard to challenge people’s established ways of life. But at the same time, there’s good reason to think we’d all be happier if we didn’t view car travel as the norm or spaced out living as what’s best.
"I’d argue that the same thing that makes you sustainable gives you a higher quality of life,” he says. “And that’s living in a walkable neighborhood.”