on 1 March 2013
Jane Jacobs is the Edmund Burke of urban planning. I doubt there's any compliment higher than that. In Death and Life she takes on the modernist planners and their grand projects, visions of 'urban renewal' and single-use neighborhoods, that she says create uneconomical, unnatural, isolated and deadening urban spaces.
Jacobs instead champions four factors that generate not only vibrancy, but economic viability.
1. Mixed uses, with different street activities at different times of the day
2. Short blocks, which allow high pedestrian permeability
3. A mixture of old and new buildings of various ages (and states of repair)
The examples here are a bit dated, but the book will make you think about your own environment and how we experience and use cities.