The General Theory of Walkability


A great TED Talk by Jeff Speck

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, lectures, and built work, advocates internationally for more walkable cities. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he oversaw the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and created the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a federal program that helps state governors fight suburban sprawl.

He is the co-author of Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream as well as The Smart Growth Manual. His recent book, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time – which the Christian Science Monitor called “timely and important, a delightful, insightful, irreverent work” – was the best-selling planning/design title of 2013 – 2015.




Road Relationships

Road relationships are a two-way street.

A healthy passion for safety is key to a healthy road relationship.

Useful short videos and links to answer questions of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Watch as Dr. Wheeler answers questions sent in from people with real road relationship issues. Dr. Wheeler is the master of clear direction, sound advice and positive guidance for both motorists and bicyclists. Together, we can work to improve our road relationships and drive change in Grand Rapids.


Streetfilms: Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets

“Fixing the Great Mistake.” This video explores three studies in “Livable Streets” that measured, for the first time, the effect of traffic on our social interactions and how we perceive our own homes and neighborhoods.

“Fixing the Great Mistake” is a new Streetfilms series that examines what went wrong in the early part of the 20th Century, when our cities began catering to the automobile, and how those decisions continue to affect our lives today.


London Illustrates the Benefits – and Risks – of Compact Growth


“Increasing the number of people living and working in an area can generate huge benefits for a city – if managed well. Productivity rises as people spend less time and money travelling and can share knowledge and ideas more freely. Businesses can reduce production costs when they have access to more suppliers and workers. And it’s cheaper to provide services such as health care, waste collection and transport when more people use them.

But there are also risks. For the first time, researchers have estimated the monetary value of these benefits, finding both positives and negatives for urban residents. Their findings are published in the first working paper from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, a network of more than 20 organizations committed to enhancing the economic, social and environmental performance of cities.”


“A more compact city is not a silver bullet, however: there are also risks associated with increasing population density. Careful urban planning is required to mitigate these risks, and deliver the potential economic and environmental benefits.

First, a 10 percent increase in the number of people living and working in an area can lead to more congestion, with an estimated cost of $35 per person a year. Significant investment in public transport, cycling lanes and pedestrian walkways is essential to ensure that people can move around the city without cars.

Second, this increase in density increases housing costs by $240 per person per year. Such growth in housing prices might benefit people who own their own homes or rent out property, but it is a challenge for renters. As low-income households are more likely to rent, there is a risk that compact city policies exacerbate inequality.”

Governments can avoid an increase in housing costs through policies to increase housing supply. A steady flow of new homes coming on to the market can have a downward effect on housing prices, which may outweigh the upward effect caused by increasing population density.”

Acknowledging the growth of population in the city and the need to maintain and encourage diversity in existing neighborhoods, Asbury Park is currently developing affordable housing in Springwood Ave.

The Renaissance Village Set To Begin Construction

Where is the world’s most walkable city?

Asbury Park is working on making the city safe and accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists, and we will see continued improvement in livability and business.

In cities all over the world there is a proven an economic benefit.  Many European cities have vast walking plazas filled with people socializing, shopping and dining…and zero cars.

Janette Sadik-Kahn former transportation commissioner for New York City says:

“We changed the city from places people wanted to park to places people wanted to be – street space to seat space,” she said. “On 23rd St, where three streets meet, we created 65,000 sq ft of public space. People choose to sit on the street rather than the park.”

“For decades the simple act of walking was largely overlooked by city planners but, no matter how you choose to get around your city, the chances are that you are a pedestrian at some point during the day.”

“North American, Australian and Canadian cities, which were built for cars, have the challenge of retrofitting walking infrastructure.”

The Renaissance Village Set To Begin Construction

Exciting development which will also include safer transportation for residents around the city.

Mayor “Moor has said the two projects also fall in line with the Interfaith Neighbors Turf Club project that will bring 20 additional units along Springwood Avenue across from Springwood Avenue Park. What makes the Turf Club project unique is that it will not only offer many first time home buyers an affordable option but an adjacent income property. The 10 duplex format will be developed in phases with each owner occupied home featuring a ground floor one bedroom unit and second story two bedroom option.

Construction to upgrade the sewer line under the Springwood Avenue railroad crossing is set to get underway during the same time frame.

“Springwood Avenue in the next year will be worse than Sunset Avenue when the bridge was being rebuilt because there will be jack and boring the railroad tracks,” he said at a recent Asbury Park Homeowners Association meeting.

Among the collaborative efforts, will be to look at sharing project development needs to stay costs and ensuring an unencumbered route of travel for neighboring residents and houses of worship in the area, he said.”

The Renaissance Village Set To Begin Construction

15 Innovations That Shaped the City

A Sidewalk Talk series that explores some of the major advances in urban technology, design, and policy across history — from Roman sewers to real-time transit.

“Take the safety bicycle. After bursting onto the scene in the late 19th century as a great new form of personal transportation, the bike gave rise to the Good Roads Movement, which by urging better road creation ironically made it easier for cars to conquer city streets. Only today, as cities prioritize bike infrastructure and embrace bike-share technology, has cycling started to fulfill its initial hopes of mobility freedom.”