Why KC Should Want to Be More Walkable – and How It Can Be

Jeff Speck, Eric Bunch
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
12:00 pm
Cities are made to be walked – or should be, given the economic, environmental, and medical benefits. 

How far is Kansas City from being truly walkable? Jeff Speck, one of the nation’s most influential city planners and urban designers, takes a close look in a special lunchtime conversation with city Councilman Eric Bunch. Walkability hinges on an environment that is simultaneously useful, safe, comfortable, and interesting. Among other things, that entails moderate-speed streets flanked by friendly-faced, mixed-use buildings that hug the sidewalk and hide their parking lots. 

Speck lays out a how-to for KC. 

Now head of Speck & Associates, a Boston-based design firm serving municipalities, nonprofits, and private developers, Speck is the former director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts. There, he presided over the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design. He also spent 10 years as director of town planning at DPZ & Co., the principal firm behind the New Urbanism movement.  

He is the author or co-author of three books including Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, the best-selling city-planning title of the past decade. Speck's TED talks and YouTube videos have drawn more than 5 million viewers. 

Bunch is serving his first term on the Kansas City council following a decade of work in community advocacy, neighborhood planning, and transportation policy. He is a co-founder and the current director of strategic initiatives of BikeWalkKC, which advocates for walkability and provides educational programming to thousands of students across the region.

Watch the presentation live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.