Walkability Social Policy discussed in “Walkable City” by Jeff Speck

Walkable City book jacket with no mention in index of disabled or handicapped peopleWalkability and vibrancy are not the only features that make for livable cities. Social policy that embraces universal design serves all residents.

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America,  One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck, 2012, (coauthor of Suburban Nation)

There are several words I am getting really sick of hearing when listening to city planners discuss how to develop our city for “walkability.” The first word is “walkability.” I have multiple sclerosis and have trouble walking at all. The planners and politicians are obsessed with “getting rid of cars downtown” even though our city has an aging population majority. We also have a higher than average number of people with disabilities, some “invisible,” like MS, as well as visible mobility issues (wheelchair users).

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The Nature of Economies by Jane Jacobs

book jacketThe Nature of Economies by Jane Jacobs (2000) [author 1916-2006]

The book jacket flap praises this book as a modern urban classic. The book “is written in the form of a Platonic dialogue” which I hate.

“The conversation over coffee among five contemporary New Yorkers. . . discuss[es]: Does economic life obey the same rules as those governing the system in nature? For example, can the way fields and forests maximize their intakes and uses of sunlight teach us something about how economics expend wealth and jobs and can do this in environmental beneficial ways?”

Wikipedia has a good article on her writings and activism.

The book is difficult to read despite what reviewers say. The drifty conversation model makes it difficult to follow a theme. The multiple personalities that express various points of view are difficult to grasp as entire characters. A novel would build some backstory so the points of view would have something on which to anchor their views.

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