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Jeff Speck: The walkable city
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Description

What makes a place walkable? What do design professionals, engineers, developers, and public officials need to know if they are to make, streets, landscapes, and communities more attractive to pedestrians? Join Jeff Speck for a comprehensive two-day course on the most effective arguments, techniques, and tools for reshaping places in support of walking, biking, and transit, including a design charrette with Somerville chief planner George Proakis.

We’ll start by asking why walkability is desirable: most communities support the concept of walkability as a matter of course, but this commitment can waver in the face of countervailing pressures from entrenched interests. You will learn the most powerful economic, epidemiological, and environmental arguments for making a sustained investment in walking, biking, and transit.

The central segment of the course will focus in great depth on the following ten strategies for making better places: Put Cars in Their Place; Mix the Uses; Get Parking Right; Let Transit Work; Protect the Pedestrian; Welcome Bikes; Shape the Spaces; Plant Trees; Make Friendly and Unique Faces; and Pick Your Winners.

Jeff Speck has completed 14 Walkability Studies for American municipalities over the past ten years, and will show you how to complete such a plans for your community.

Finally, you’ll get some hands-on experience. The nearby City of Somerville has been working on the redevelopment of neighborhoods surrounding new rail stations on the MBTA’s planned Green Line extension. City of Somerville chief planner George Proakis will join the class for a half-day mini-charrette, during which you will visit several locations in Somerville and return to the classroom to design possible solutions by applying the walkability principles you have learned.

Design Charrette

Finally, you’ll get some hands-on experience. The nearby City of Somerville has been working on the redevelopment of neighborhoods surrounding new rail stations on the MBTA’s planned Green Line extension. City of Somerville chief planner George Proakis will join the class for a half-day mini-charrette, during which you will visit several locations in Somerville and return to the classroom to design possible solutions by applying the walkability principles you have learned.

Dinner Exploration

Off the clock and weather permitting, the class will transit/walk to an optional dinner along some of Boston’s most memorable and instructive throughfares.*

*Optional dinner not included in tuition.

The Ten Steps of Walkability

The central segment of the course will focus in great depth on the following ten strategies for making better places:

  • Put Cars in Their Place: Equitable planning around the automobile.
  • Mix the Uses: Strategies for getting more housing downtown.
  • Get Parking Right: The wisdom of Donald Shoup.
  • Let Transit Work: Creating transit riders by choice.
  • Protect the Pedestrian: All the details that embody the Safe Walk.
  • Welcome Bikes: Current best practices in cycle networks.
  • Shape the Spaces: The role of figural space.
  • Plant Trees: Monetizing the manifold benefits of street trees.
  • Make Friendly and Unique Faces: Active facades and the role of architects.
  • Pick Your Winners: Urban Triage as a technique for expanding success.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the most power economic, epidemiological, and environmental arguments for making a sustained investment in walking, biking, and transit.
  • Discuss ten strategies for making better places: The Ten Steps of Walkability.
  • Learn how to do a walkability plan.
  • Brainstorm and charrette the redevelopment of three neighborhoods surrounding new rail stations in the MBTA’s planned Green Line expansion.

Who should attend

Design professionals, engineers, developers, and public officials.

Experts

Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Hon. ASLA, Speck & Associates LLC, Brookline MA, is a city planner and architectural designer who, through writing, lectures, and built work, advocates internationally for smart growth and sustainable design. As Director of Design at the National Endowment fo...
George Proakis, AICP is the Director of Planning for the City of Somerville, a community of 77,000 on four square miles. In Somerville, George recently worked on the new SomerVision comprehensive plan and is coordinating the development of the new Somerville by Design neighborhood planning proces...
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