Monday, September 23rd, 2013

·   Are we turning our cities into places that are easy to get to but not worth arriving at?

·   How can ‘typical’ cities provide their citizens a quality of life that makes them want to stay?

·   Where can spending the least money (on city enhancement) make the most difference?

Renowned US author, city planner and architectural designer Jeff Speck believes the answers to these questions come down to one key factor – walkability. 

Speck, who will be in Perth in October to present a public lecture, has dedicated his career to what makes cities thrive.  He believes in building walkable urban places for economic, social, healthy and environmental benefits. 

His US experience has great resonance in Australia, and particularly for Perth, as it undergoes a transformation, which may hopefully improve its liveability and walkability, and shed the ‘Why Melbourne is hipper than Perth’ tag.

Speck explains in his latest book Walkable City – How Downtown Can Save America, how cities can no longer be designed around catering for increasing numbers of cars as populations grow.

“More and more Americans are being attracted to places that offer the economy, excitement, and street life that cannot be found in the auto zone,” Speck said.

“To these people malls are for teenagers, bicycles are cooler than cars, and a great night out includes being able to drink and not drive.

“Cities that have recently combined reinvestment in their downtown cores with the creation of transformative transit biking facilities are the current relocation places of choice, for those who have a choice.

“For those who don’t, it could be said that every city has an obligation to free its residents from the burden of auto dependence.  When a city does, everyone benefits, including the city.”

Western Australians will be able to learn Speck’s Ten Steps of Walkability and views on healthy urbanisation when he is in Perth next month for a public lecture presented by the State Library of Western Australia.

The Walkability Mandate – A public forum with Jeff Speck is a one-off event on 16 October from 6pm to 8.30pm at the State Theatre Centre in Perth. Jeff will explore the theories in his latest book and share his practical and jargon-free insights on how vibrancy, liveability, and a pedestrian-friendly city are achievable.

Following his presentation, there will be an audience Q&A for guests to compare Perth’s progress to Jeff’s experience in the US. Jeff’s books will also be available for signing and sale.

The evening is presented by the State Library of Western Australia in association with writingWA, Consult Australia and the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and sponsored by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

Tickets cost $45 including a drink and canapé on arrival and are available from Group discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

For more information on Jeff Speck visit or follow him on Twitter @JeffSpeckAICP


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Urban planing, city, development, walkability, pedestrian, walking, architecture, author, books, lecture, Perth, Western Australia



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