The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jacobs, Jane
Vintage 1961
ISBN 978-0679741954
458pp
Date finished: 1997-11-21

A rising theme in Western thought at the moment is the inability to control certain complicated systems. John Ralston Saul eloquently covered this idea in Voltaire's Bastards, and it's also visible here. Jacobs argues that city planning has adopted certain dogmas--parks are unconditionally good, people like neatly planned neighbourhoods--but that these beliefs are wrong and damaging. I can certainly agree with her on that; there's nothing more boring than a lifeless park, and nothing more interesting than a street of jumbled buildings. Her discussion of cities as organic beings, whose lifeblood consists of the people who live and work there, is one of those profound insights that seems absurdly simple once you've heard it.

Tagged: architecture

Permalink: http://books.amk.ca/1997/11/Death_Life_Great_American_Cities.html

%T The Death and Life of Great American Cities
%@ 1997-11-21
%A Jacobs, Jane
%K architecture
%D 1961
%G ISBN 978-0679741954
%P 458pp
%I Vintage

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