Friday TED Talk: Jeff Speck's Walkable City

Later this month Danish urbanist and liveable cities planning guru Professor Jan Gehl is coming to London to personally present his film about how our cities work; "The Human Scale".  Tickets are already on sale for the January 23rd screening at the Hackney Empire Theatre, and selling fast.

In the run up to his visit, we've been hosting a series of different streets, cities, people and cycling Ted Talks here at ibikelondon -just the ticket for stimulating debate about people and place.
To celebrate his visit (and do read the report he wrote on street conditions in London under the previous Mayoral administration if you have a chance) we are hosting a different streets, cities, people and cycling TED Talk here on ibikelondon every Friday - perfect for a bit of lunch time learning!

This Friday we're hearing from American city planner and author of the book The Walkable City Jeff Speck.  Speck believes that sprawl within our urban environment is the root of many societal ill, and that addressing this issue will not only lead to a healthier and happier nation but also a more emotionally resilient economy.

Are we moving towards a new values system in our approach to cities?  Are the places which were once considered to be dangerous, dirty and unhealthy now the best places to live and raise families?  And do the guidelines that Speck lays out for improving our cities for walking, also improve conditions for cyclists?  Indeed, once you remove the bicycle, are cyclists just fast moving pedestrians after all, and would they share in the same benefits?
Jan Gehl will present "The Human Scale" at Hackney Empire Theatre on January 23rd 2014 - buy your tickets online now.
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Paul M said...

I once had a client whose US HQ was in Houston, Texas - in an office complex above the Westin Galleria, an up-market shopping mall just outside the West Loop freeway, five miles from the city centre.

You could see the city centre in the distance, a bit like looking at Canary Wharf from Primrose Hill, but there is no way that you could have walked there. For starters, there were no sidewalks. Clearly nothing was provided for pedestrians and no-one walked anywhere. No-one cycled either for that matter. I went out for a walk one morning, but the only reason that was safe to do was because it was 5am - to my body clock that was 11am because for short trips to the USA I try to stay on UK time.

In fact some of the neighbourhoods I walked through, had they had sidewalks, would have been pleasant to walk through, as long as you like a good, long, walk!

Houston is a sprawly city - its outer beltway is longer than the M25 and yet the population it encircles is less than a fifth of the equivalent area of Greater London. It is full of humungous SUVs, driven by equally humungous people. When you see this, it is easy to imagine that the human race might be extinct before the end of this century.

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