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The Living City: How America's Cities Are Being Revitalized by Thinking Small in a Big Way Paperback – September 1, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0471144250 ISBN-10: 0471144258

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (September 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471144258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471144250
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

THE LIVING CITY

"An intelligent analysis. Sensible, undoctrinaire, even good-humored. An appealing mixture of passion and clinical dispassion."
–Washington Post Book World

"The best antidote I’ve read to the doom-and-gloom prophecies concerning the future of urban America."
–Bill Moyers

"This is fresh and fascinating material; it is essential for understanding not only how to avoid repeating terrible mistakes of the past, but also how to recover from them."
–Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities

From coast to coast across America there are countless urban success stories about rejuvenated neighborhoods and resurgent business districts. Roberta Brandes Gratz defines the phenomenon as "urban husbandry"–the care, management, and preservation of the built environment nurtured by genuine participatory planning efforts of government, urban planners, and average citizens.

About the Author

Roberta Brandes Gratz lives in New York City, where she has been involved in urban matters as a community activist, as executive director of a historic restoration project, and as a reporter for the New York Post. In addition, she lectures and writes on urban affairs.

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By W. Haley on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Gratz explores how and why cities survive, thrive and die and explores why small, incremental change is often a more successful revitalization strategy than super "downtown malls" or sportsplexes.
It turns out the key to a lively and lovely city is people of all socioeconomic brackets who actually LIVE downtown, which attracts business, arts and culture!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on August 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is an invaluable resource for those wishing to know more about the multitude of small projects that have taken place across the United States in recent years which have had a positive impact in their respective city's regeneration process.

Lots of details for those wishing to undertake such a project in their own city.

Information about how to save our built heritage and NOT uproot those who currently reside in these places.

Stories of community design at its best, as well as stories of courage and perserverence.

Reading them restores one's faith in the possibilities of doing good in our inner cities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yuri Artibise on February 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book belongs on the bookshelf alongside Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities and William H. Whyte's City: Rediscovering the Center. While Jacobs discussed what makes a great city and Whyte looks at why cities work the way they do, Gratz completes the trilogy with a look at how great cities are made.

The continuity of ideas is no coincidence. It is rooted-in part-in Gratz's close relationship with Jane Jacobs, who it turn was mentored by Whyte. Moreover like Jacobs and Whyte, Gratz approaches the study of cities from a journalistic perspective. (She spent 15 years as a reporter for The New York Post and has traveled widely to other cities.) Finally, all three authors share a perspective that first-person observation is of paramount importance in understanding the how, what and why of a successful city works.

Although it is over 20 years old, The Living City holds up to the test of time. This is an all the more remarkable feat given the book's reliance on case histories that could have easily become dated. This is largely due to Gratz's deft extraction of timeless lessons from each study. (Another reason is the sad fact that many cities' approach to urban development has not evolved much over the past 20 years.)

The Living City is an invaluable resource for those wishing to know more about the power that small projects have in improving a city. It is required reading for anybody who considers themselves an urban advocate or activist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Levy Hara on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have read a lot of books about the issue and they use to be boring and very dificcult to read. This one is the great exception! I really have enjoyed the way the stories are narrated, and the complete information they provide. As an architect specialized in Urban Economics at Buenos Aires , I have found this book very useful for my own research on the issue.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Labarbera on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
After working on a project with Roberta in New Orleans, it was a delight to read her book. The subject matter was never something that interested me, but she writes it in such a way that it is relateable for everyone, just not architects or city planners. Her style is interesting and her ideas are well thought out.
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The Living City: How America's Cities Are Being Revitalized by Thinking Small in a Big Way
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