Great Streets

Front Cover
MIT Press, 1995 - Architecture - 331 pages
7 Reviews

Which are the world's best streets, and what are the physical, designablecharacteristics that make them great? To answer these questions, Allan Jacobs has surveyed streetusers and design professionals and has studied a wide array of street types and urban spaces aroundthe world. With more than 200 illustrations, all prepared by the author, along with analysis andstatistics, Great Streets offers a wealth of information on street dimensions, plans, sections, andpatterns of use, all systematically compared. It also reveals Jacobs's eye for the telling human andsocial details that bring streets and communities to life.An extensive introduction discusses theimportance of streets in creating communities and criteria for identifying the best streets. Theessays that follow examine 15 particularly fine streets, ranging from medieval streets in Rome andCopenhagen to Venice's Grand Canal, from Parisian boulevards to tree-lined residential streets inAmerican cities. Jacobs also looks at several streets that were once very fine but are lesssuccessful today, such as Market Street in San Francisco, identifying the factors that figure intheir decline.To broaden his coverage, Jacobs adds briefer treatments of more than 30 other streetsarranged by street type, including streets from Australia, Japan, and classical antiquity inaddition to European and North American examples. For each of these streets he has prepared plans,sections, and maps, all drawn at the same scales to facilitate comparisons, along with perspectiveviews and drawings of significant design details.Another remarkable feature of this book is a set of50 one square-mile maps, each reproduced at the same scale, of the street plans of representativecities around the world. These reveal much about the texture of the cities' street patterns andhence of their urban life. Jacobs's analysis of the maps adds much original data derived from them,including changes of street patterns over time.Jacobs concludes by summarizing the practical designqualities and strategies that have contributed most to the making of great streets.

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Review: Great Streets

User Review  - Sudhir Bhatia - Goodreads

I use it in my design courses to demonstrate how city and street patters shown at the same size and scale can give insights into the differences between culture, social interaction, infrastructure demands, and governance. A good example of data visualization. Read full review

Review: Great Streets

User Review  - Abigail - Goodreads

superb illustrations, give a different perspective and opens you up to ideas and concepts that you may not fully register when you're in some of the spaces being described. Read full review

About the author (1995)

Allan B. Jacobs is Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley.

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