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City Planner Jeff Speck, The Future of the Suburbs, June 12, 2022

The Future of the Suburbs
City Planner Jeff Speck

Sunday, June 12, 2022, 2:00 p.m.
Community Room, Needham Free Public Library
1139 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02494

Friends of the Library Annual Meeting

Free and open to the public
Sponsored by the Friends of the Needham Public Library

This will be an in-person event in the Library's Community Room.


Join city planner and urban designer Jeff Speck for a timely discussion of planning for the suburbs of the future. Suburbs laid out in the late twentieth century, including much of Needham, often prioritize automotive convenience over almost all other considerations, leading to congestion and economic inefficiency. Speck will discuss how communities built around the needs of the automobile can be redesigned and reimagined to increase safety, sustainability, and sense of place.

Speck advocates internationally for more walkable cities and has delivered multiple TED talks on the subject. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he presided over the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design. Prior to his federal appointment, Speck spent ten years as Director of Town Planning at DPZ & Co., the principal firm behind the New Urbanism movement. Since 2007, he has led Speck & Associates, a private design consultancy serving mainly American cities. With Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Speck is the co-author of Suburban Nation, which the Wall Street Journal calls "the urbanist's bible."

Speck's 2012 book Walkable City was the bestselling city-planning title of the past decade and has been translated into seven languages. He is also the writer of The Smart Growth Manual and Walkable City Rules. Speck has been named a fellow of both the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Congress for New Urbanism. He is the 2022 recipient of the Seaside Prize, whose former awardees include Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander.

A very brief Friends annual meeting will precede Speck's presentation.

The program is free and open to the public. However, space is limited to the room's capacity (approximately 80 guests), so registration is required. Please register here.


For general information about programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the schedule of future programs, click here.