2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Timeless Classic,
This review is from: The Death and Life of Great American Cities (50th Anniversary Edition) (Modern Library) (Hardcover)
In her timeless study of what makes cities great, Jane Jacobs believes that cities must be first and foremost a celebration of the diversity and vitality of people. City streets are magical in that they can take people of different races, socio-economic backgrounds, and ethnicity, and carve out a new identity and sense of belonging for them. It's these social bonds (what Jacobs calls the "mixture of primary uses") that make city streets great, and for Jacobs it's the street that brings out what's best about people. Streets that permit people to interact naturally are not only safer but more vibrant and interesting -- leading to a sense of community as well as artistic inspiration. That being the case, streets must be placed paramount, and everything else about a city -- including districts, landmarks, and parks -- must revolve around the life on the streets.
This is a concept that's difficult for city planners to understand, and Jacobs believes that planners are inhibited by a lack of imagination masquerading as grandiosity, and a fear and disgust of people pretending to be foresight.
This is a brilliant book, and is as true and as refreshing and as urgent as it was when it was first published almost half a century ago.