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Great Streets (MIT Press)

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262600231
ISBN-10: 0262600234
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With its thorough chronicling of building heights, tree spacing, relative widths of streets, sidewalks and cartways, this book will undoubtedly serve as a welcome reference tool for designers and urban planners. But for the lay reader, it is also an oddly poetic attempt to capture the undefinable quality that makes a street truly "great." To make his point, Jacobs, chair of the department of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley, uses text and 242 graceful line drawings to explore the magic of some 15 great streets, most of them European, including Barcelona's Ramblas, the Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris, Via dei Giubbonari in Rome and even Venice's Grand Canal. Other well- and lesser-known examples appear in a second section comparing types of streets--boulevards, commercial strips, small-town main streets and residential roads. Finally, Jacobs analyzes those factors that make streets great: buildings of similar height, interesting facades, trees, windows that invite viewing, intersections, beginnings and endings, stopping places and, to be sure, space for leisurely walking. These are necessary qualities, but, as Jacobs warns, do not ensure a great street. "A final ingredient--perhaps the most important--is necessary . . . the magic of design."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Jacobs presents an insightful, richly illustrated compendium of the best examples of streets from all over the world. The streets, both ancient and modern, are analyzed and presented as an instructional sourcebook for the architect, urban planner, and civic-minded reader. Jacobs (city & regional planning, Univ. of California, Berkeley) devotes the first part of the book to 15 of the finest manifestations, ranging from European medieval streets to the grand boulevards of Paris; from the network of finely scaled streets of Bath, England, to Richmond's (Va.) Monument Avenue, a tree-lined residential thoroughfare punctuated with fine civic sculpture. Examples are presented in plain-language text and rich line drawings, supplemented by street plans and sections all drawn to the same scale. One chapter, illustrating one-square-mile maps of street patterns in 50 cities, offers a fascinating comparison of urban fabric literally from Ahmedabad to Zurich. Recommended for architecture and urban planning collections.
- Thomas P.R. Nugent, New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (August 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262600234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262600231
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.8 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wonderful book consideres the civic street from many perspecitives and describes it with poetic attention. The author has spent days on these great streets and brings careful measurement and observation to his carefully crafted text. If everyone planning streets and highways in America read this book and visited one of two of these great streets, it would enable a huge improvement.
This book studies the street not from the simple American perspecitve of high velocity traffic sewar, but from the realities of a place to hang out. eat lunch, shop, socialize, people watch, court, celebrate and be. The read how these places work in this book is to realize how much our desperate focus on the automobile costs us.
Buy this book and photocopy some of its illustrations for your next public hearing on town planning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really very impressed with this book! It's an exceptional insight into what really makes for a pleasant, people-friendly street! I loved it so much, when I finished it, I immediately went back to the beginning and read it all over again! Really, really very good work! You will very much enjoy it if you love planning, architecture, landscape design, or just livable, beautiful neighborhoods!
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By Green Girl on February 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book! The drawings are amazing and they really help backup what the author is saying, regarding density and proportion of streets.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book, both for the beautiful illustrations and for the international view. The drawings and the text works very fine together and give a great value into understanding why some streets work better than others.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for all those interested in understand the full sense of the street. Full of handmade extraordinary drawings. Not technical definitions. Enjoyable and easy to read.
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Format: Paperback
I was first introduced to this book when I decided to redesign several streets within my community. It gave great insight to what often works in various settings, from a local pedestrian street to a grand boulevard. The book is even more compelling because every description is backed up with beautiful illustrations.
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