September 12: Newton-Needham Regional Chamber event on Walkability

Walkability the focus at Regional Real Estate Event by the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
Jeff Speck will Address the Factors Which Help Create a Truly Walkable Neighborhood with Examples the Boston Region

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 Online. Please note that there is a fee for this event.

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.


About the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing economic and cultural vitality through advocacy, education, and networking. The chamber is not affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or any other national organization. More information available at


LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series Continues

The LWVMA Steering Committee for Environmental Action and Advocacy, in partnership with local Leagues, is presenting a series of regional forums in 2017. The first forum of the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series, “On the Path to 100% Renewable Energy,” was held in Worcester May 2, co-sponsored by the Worcester Area LWV. Four forums are planned for the fall in Boston, Winchester, Lexington and Falmouth.

We will kick off the series in the fall with a forum at the New England Aquarium’s Omni Theater Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. This event is part of the Aquarium’s Lecture Series, and is co-sponsored by LWVMA, the Aquarium, and the UMass Boston School for the Environment. The speaker, Dr. Ellen Douglas, will address extreme events and climate change. She will discuss observations of our changing climate, what changes may be in the future for Boston and beyond, and plans for adapting to these changes.

The remaining forums are planned for Winchester Oct. 4 (7 p.m., refreshments at 6:30 p.m.), with a presentation on the Health Benefits of Carbon Pricing; Lexington Oct. 19 (7 p.m.), with a discussion of greening the grid; and Falmouth (date and time TBD).

Send your thoughts on Washington Place to City Council today!

On Monday night, the Newton City Council will vote on the permit for the proposed Washington Place project in Newtonville.  LWVN supports this proposal because it includes 160 units of housing close to transit and amenities, 25% affordable to low- and middle-income households, village center revitalization, pedestrian and traffic improvements, LEED Gold certification, transit subsidies, and ZipCar and bike facilities, among other benefits.  [See the next post for a link to the LWVN letter in support of this project.]

Make your voice heard today by emailing your comments to

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