In 2012, in a book called Walkable City, Jeff Speck set out to help small and mid-sized communities provide their residents “a quality of life that makes them want to stay.” As Speck saw it, some big cities, including New York and Portland, Oregon, had been making impressive strides toward good urban design, but in smaller communities, officials’ daily decisions were, “more often than not, making their [residents’] lives worse.”
Walkable City, with its on-the-ground stories and its spirited advocacy of pedestrian-oriented design, was a lively, highly readable guide. 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. The one thing missing from Walkable City was illustrations.
Now Speck has produced a successor volume, Walkable City Rules. It abounds with illustrations—charts, graphs, photos, maps, plans. The text itself is organized into short pieces—each only a page or two long—supplying concise guidance on 101 topics.