At the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber’s Annual Real Estate Forum, planner and walkability expert Jeff Speck will help the local real estate community understand what makes a truly walkable neighborhood and how the idea of “complete streets” is the right tool to create better communities.
The Sept. 12 event will also include a panel of developers who will highlight the creative approaches they are taking to create projects that are less car-centric.
“In the typical American city in which most people have cars, you need to offer a compelling reason for people to walk instead of drive, and that means offering a walk that is better than a drive,” said Speck. “To accomplish this we must do four things simultaneously. We need to give people a reason to walk, that walk needs to feel safe, it must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting.”
The term “complete streets” has emerged as the core policy for how streets are being redesigned around the Boston region and around the country. The concept addresses the creation of an avenue that is not just about moving cars, but about creating an interesting place for people to move, whether they do so by walking, biking or public transit.
Speck is one of the nation’s foremost experts on creating a walkable city, which he defines as one in which a car is an option for freedom rather than a singular method of transportation. His recent book “Walkable Cities” focuses on the steps cities need to take in order to create more livable locations.
Following Speck’s talk, Robert Korff of Mark Development, John Twohig of New England Development and an additional panelist to be named later will take part in a panel discussion focused on walkable, mixed use projects.
Korff will discuss the opportunity it sees to create a more walkable Washington Street corridor in Newton by rethinking currently underutilized properties and how they can be used to meet important housing, lifestyle, office and retail goals for the community.
Twohig will discuss New England Development’s mixed-use project in Newburyport that is designed around connectivity, bringing together Newburyport’s harbor area and historic downtown. This connectivity exists both along the water and within the site, creating enlivened public spaces along the river. The project will involve residential, hotel, and commercial uses, as well as an active Marina.
The panel will be moderated by Catherine Carlock, commercial real estate reporter for the Boston Business Journal.
Who: Jeff Speck, city planner and author of “Walkable Cities”
What: Newton-Needham Regional Chamber Real Estate Forum
Where: Sheraton Needham, 100 Cabot Street, Needham, MA
When: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How: Register Here. Please note that there is a fee for this event. The early bird rate ends Aug. 24.