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Better Places, Better Lives: A Biography of James Rouse Collector's and Revised and Updated to Include New Develop a Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Rouse's most notable accomplishments, including the new community of Columbia, MD, and the festival marketplaces in Boston and Baltimore, by themselves warrant providing an account of his life. What is remarkable is how much more he did, in both suburban and central city environments. He also interacted with and occasionally partnered with many of the other urban visionaries during the last half of the 20th century.
I come away from reading this book with admiration for what Rouse accomplished but awareness of the limits and consequences of his work. In some respects, he demonstrated how to do very well the major new phenomena that emerged in American urban life in the post-War period, including shopping centers and suburban subdivisions, but by and large the architecture of these developments was bland and they ended up having many of the same negative consquences for American urban life that their less successful examples did. He also, to his credit, tried to tackle the negative impacts these suburban phenomena had for central city life, understandably with mixed success, ranging from major demolition and clearance projects under urban renewal, to neighborhood rehabilitation, to the festival marketplace.