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The Death and Life of Great American Cities Paperback – 6 Jan 2000
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"The most refreshing, provacative, stimulating and exciting study of this [great problem] which I have seen. It fairly crackles with bright honesty and common sense" (Harrison Salisbury New York Times)
"One of the most remarkable books ever written about the city... a primary work. The research apparatus is not pretentious it is the eye and the heart but it has given us a magnificent study of what gives life and spirit to the city" (William H. Whyte, author of The Organization Man)
"Perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town planning... Jacobs has a powerful sense of narrative, a lively wit, a talent for surprise and the ability to touch the emotions as well as the mind" (New York Times Book Review)
"An immensely provocative and rewarding book... It challenges comfortable assumptions...but it does so in a manner that is neither rancorous nor contentions" (Jonathan Yardley Washington Post)
A groundbreaking critique of 20th-century urban planning and a classic of post-war social thought.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Cities remains the classic book on how cities work and
how urban planners and others have naively destroyed
functioning cities. It is widely known for its incisive
treatment of those who would tear down functioning neighborhoods
and destroy the lives and livelihoods of people for the sake of a
groundless but intellectually appealing daydream.
But although many see it as a polemic against urban planning,
the best parts of it, the parts that have endeared it to
many who love cities, are quite different. Death and Life
is, first of all, a work of observation. The illustrations
are all around us, she says, and we must go and look. She
shows us parts of the city that are alive -- the streets,
she says, are the city that we see, and it is the streets and
sidewalks that carry the most weight -- and find the patterns
that help us not merely see but understand. She shows us the city as
an ecology -- a system of interactions that is more than
merely the laying out of buildings as if they were a
child's wooden blocks.
But observation can mean simply the noting of objects.
Ms. Jacobs writes beautifully, lovingly, of New York
City and other urban places. Her piece "The Ballet of
Hudson Street" is both an observation of events on the
Greenwich Village street where she lived and a prose poem
describing the comings and goings of the people, the rhythms
of the shopkeepers and the commuters and others who use the
street.Read more ›
The hardback is great as a present, especially as its cover is a photo of Jane herself. I can't help but feel drawn to this revelational work's author, as most readers who enjoy this book will do. So seeing her in her element, conversing and observing, brings one even closer to this very personal work.
Her point about not forcing successful people out via income segregation is well made - especially as this is still regularly suggested in the name of 'fairness'; and her discussions about public transport and the alternative to a proliferation of cars even more so.
Interesting though to consider how many of the advantages of city life (as she understood them) may not now exist - or at any rate may not be so marked - in the Information Age. New ideas, niche products, a wide variety of people: they can all be had virtually.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful book, rightly regarded as a classic, that will challenge your perceptions of out urban space and how we use it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Opinionholder
Happy with purchase. Will help greatly with course of study.Published 20 months ago by Lesley Brunt
Really good seminal text on how insensitive and 'top down' public policy can ruin cities, entrepreneurial activities and the quality of life that we all value in our cities. Read morePublished on 17 April 2015 by Thomas W Quigley
One of the definitive urban planning / crime prevention texts - also is a great readPublished on 3 Jan. 2015 by Mr. S. B. Samuels
This is a breathtaking book, a keynote publication on urban geography and sociology. It is as fresh today as it was when it was written in 1961. Read morePublished on 17 Oct. 2014 by Gary White
A snapshot of New York we don't often hear about. A fascinating and insightful account from the mind and time of Jane Jacobs.Published on 1 July 2013 by Daniel Grbas
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