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The Death and Life of Great American Cities Paperback – Dec 1 1992
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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, The 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
From the Inside Flap
A classic since its publication in 1961, this book is the defintive statement on American cities: what makes them safe, how they function, and why all too many official attempts at saving them have failed.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Jacobs is able to show that the real problem with cities isn't overpopulation - rather, it is exactly the opposite! The major problem with cities today is that they aren't dense enough. Empty sidewalks are inviting only to criminals. Children, shop keepers, and families hate an empty sidewalk.
Furthermore, city planners compound the situation by moving businesses (and therefore commerce) away from residences - thus resulting in a further decline of sidewalk traffic.
If you're going to be involved in city government, planning, or land use, you should definitely read this book. I'm a small government conservative, and lots of other conservatives are scared by Jacobs -- but let me tell you -- this is the future of America. We should accept and embrace this urban challenge.
It took me five weeks to finish Cities. During my first two days I was spellbound by the lengthy introduction; so much so that I read it through twice. All I could talk about was how visionary Jacobs was. That is no exaggeration; I did in fact rave about the introduction to several people, including to my partner who has a degree in urban planning. I could see Jacobs's genius in the introduction alone, and after I finished reading it the first time, I felt I had to read it over again. It was so full of valuable insights, that had I been given a highlighter to mark the key points, I would have given every sentence a golden hue.
For good reason Cities has earned its reputation as a groundbreaking work on city planning. Jacobs was not afraid to turn the prevailing orthodoxy on urban planning upside down by calling some of its prevailing attitudes foolish. Her views which shook the 1960's are now on university curricula. Some of her theories seem so basic now, that even one like myself who is not schooled in urban design can see the sense in them. How could her ideas have been so controversial over fifty years ago? I feel that her outright challenge of the orthodoxy really threw her urban colleagues. Jacobs rocked the boat, which had been idly floating by for decades.Read more ›
This is the best book I have read.
In response to the reviewer from N.H. who said Jacobs vindicates conservatism: I don't completely agree. Jacobs' work criticizes liberal reliance on big government housing/urban renewal projects, but is equally critical of big government highway projects that a lot of conservatives seem to like.
This is a book about understanding cities and understanding scientifically what makes them thrive and sustain themselves. It also delves into the history of the forces that made them what they are, and the methods that will need to be brought to bear if we intend to create life again in our downtowns.
Jacobs really lays it down, giving us a comprehensive look at how great cities work. I'd recommend this book to students of city planning, Architecture, and anybody who is interested in developing an understanding of why things are the way they are.
Most recent customer reviews
an important book for anybody interested in urban planning. some of Jacobs' ideas seem non-intuitive at first, worth a second read.Published 3 months ago by Ben Stansfield
A must read in urbanism. Offer a very critical view of the evolution of the art and science, and a clear opinion about what's going on in our cities. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Horizen
Ms Jacobs wrote this book during the big period of central urban planning (and destruction), and explained how cities work from the bottom up, rather than the city-hall planning... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
the book had a little bit of wear on the pages, meaning they were dog eared. It was probably due to the shipping.Published on Oct. 3 2013 by Michael Catalfamo
I'd agree with most of the glowing praise for this book. It's fantastic. Good classic read about cities, and it's still relevant. BUT... I must say that this edition is awful. Read morePublished on July 26 2012 by N Burge
Required reading! An excellent ongoing resource for planning professionals and communities. Can we please have this for Kindle? I do not want to buy the paper copy.Published on July 12 2012 by Plannerjax
This book should be required reading for all city planners, building contractors, Architects, and design professionals. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2010 by E. L. Abrams
It would be perfect if there was a French translation available. If so I'd buy it without thinking twice! Read morePublished on July 14 2009 by Maria I. Zerboni
This is a great book. I read it on the subway and never lost interest. Even today it helps open your eyes to bad planning that occurs in cities that kills what otherwise could be... Read morePublished on March 16 2004 by Steven G. Smith
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