Jeff Speck



Seaside Prize Winner 2022

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who, through writing, lectures, public service, and built work, advocates internationally for city planning at the pedestrian scale. He is best known for his book Walkable City, one of the most influential and widely read city planning texts of the current era.

While studying architectural history and design in the US and Italy, Mr. Speck became enamored with the work and lectures of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. After two summer internships, he joined the firm full-time upon graduation in 1993, and quickly became director of town planning.

Over the subsequent ten years, Jeff managed more than forty of the firm’s projects including Middleton Hills, Rosemary Beach, Heulebrug (Belgium), and downtown plans for Baton Rouge and Fort Myers. He also convinced Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk to turn their lectures into a book, which he drafted. Suburban Nation became the best-selling planning title of its decade, winning many converts to the cause of the New Urbanism.

Thanks in part to the book’s success, Mr. Speck was appointed Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he presided over the Mayors' Institute on City Design and created the Governors' Institute on Community Design. After four years in this role, he founded Speck & Associates, a private design consultancy now based in Brookline, MA.

Important work of Speck & Associates includes the Lowell Downtown Evolution Plan, walkability studies for fifteen different cities, and vision plans for two transit-oriented developments along the Long Island Rail Road. He also led street design for Project 180 in Oklahoma City, which has rebuilt 50 blocks of downtown city streets.

Jeff Speck’s books have been published in nine languages. With Andres Duany and Mike Lydon, he also wrote The Smart Growth Manual (2010). His most recent book, Walkable City Rules, was named a Planetizen “Best Book” of 2018. His TED talks and YouTube videos have been viewed more than five million times.

Watch a preview of Speck’s documentary on walkable cities and how Seaside inspired his work.