Walkable City, by Jeff Speck

As an architecture student, I read The Death and Life of the Great American City, by Jane Jacobs, often regarded as the standard critique for American urban planning since it was written in 1961. Now, Jeff Speck has written Walkable City, a new standard focusing on solutions to the cities we have created and he supports his points with examples of his own work as a city planner.

Columbia, MO is currently considering solutions to many different problems for our city as it continues to grow: re-writing the C2 zoning as several new development projects have been proposed, expanding the Providence and Stadium intersection, continuing to expand the major arterials and feeder streets, such as the recent Stadium expansion, adding a new arterial and I-70 off ramp at Scott Boulevard, etc. While all of the proposed changes our city officials have proposed will allow Columbia to continue to grow, they will encourage Columbia to grow out and continue the sprawl we have already experienced.

Walkable City does a wonderful job illustrating how this type of growth is not only financially unsustainable for a city, but also how this growth continues to decentralize our city and hurt the growth and value of our city’s core.

“As Boomers Age, Walkable Cities Become More Important” by Henry Grabar

Henry Grabar captures a unique look at the push for a change in how we shape our cities. The push for walkable cities has been widely written about concerning Generation X or Millennials, and even how new technology companies are relocating to walkable cities because their desired employees demand it.

Grabar looks at how the AARP is now a lobbying force getting behind the movement. Our senior generation is larger than ever before and people are looking for the opportunity to age in place. For this to be a reality, a walkable community will be a requirement. Having this section of our community also behind the walkable movement, it is one more reason why the auto centric approach we have taken in the past isn’t one we should continue to move forward with.

In this article on, Joseph Stromberg conducts an interview with Donald Shoup, who is known for his revolutionary theories of parking. This is a brief article but it is a great introduction to Shoup and also contains many links to other related work.

Recently I volunteered with a group involved with rewriting the C2 zoning downtown. During our meetings there were many comments about the constant demand for additional parking in the urban core and whether there should be additional parking garages built or new requirement implemented on all new downtown developments requiring a high number of parking spots. This is certainly a common thought about growth but through Shoup’s work it is clear that it isn’t always the right solution.

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