The Death and Life of Great American Cities

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Vintage Books, 1992 - Architecture - 458 pages
15 Reviews
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Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and keenly detailed, a monumental work that provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.

The most refreshing, provacative, stimulating and exciting study of this [great problem] which I have seen. It fairly crackles with bright honesty and common sense. --The New York Times

A direct and fundamentally optimistic indictment of the short-sightedness and intellectual arrogance that has characterized much of urban planning in this century, The Death and Life of Great American Cities has, since its first publication in 1961, become the standard against which all endeavors in that field are measured.

In prose of outstanding immediacy, Jane Jacobs writes about what makes streets safe or unsafe; about what constitutes a neighborhood, and what function it serves within the larger organism of the city; about why some neighborhoods remain impoverished while others regenerate themselves. She writes about the salutary role of funeral parlors and tenement windows, the dangers of too much development money and too little diversity.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mrgan - LibraryThing

I'm in agreement with everything so far and I'm sure the rest of the book is fine, but it's rather drawn out and, in another reviewer's phrase, "easy to put down". Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

It took me a long time to read this book but at no time did I feel like stopping. It's just that I had to take my time to digest all the important messages Jacobs gave in the book and then think about ... Read full review

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Contents

Introduction
3
Part One THE PECULIAR NATURE OF CITIES
27
safety
29
contact
55
assimilating children
74
The uses of neighborhood parks
89
The uses of city neighborhoods
112
Part Two THE CONDITIONS FOR CITY DIVERSITY
141
Part Three FORCES OF DECLINE AND REGENERATION
239
The selfdestruction of diversity
241
The curse of border vacuums
257
Unslumming and slumming
270
Gradual money and cataclysmic money
291
Part Four DIFFERENT TACTICS
319
Subsidizing dwellings 32 1
321
Erosion of cities or attrition of automobiles 338 18
338

The generators of diversity
143
The need for primary mixed uses
152
The need for small blocks
178
The need for aged buildings
187
The need for concentration
200
Some myths about diversity
222
its limitations and possibilities
372
Salvaging projects
392
Governing and planning districts
405
The kind of problem a city is
428
Index
449
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Jane Jacobs was the legendary author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a work that has never gone out of print and that has transformed the disciplines of urban planning and city architecture. Her other major works include The Economy of Cities, Systems of Survival, The Nature of Economies and Dark Age Ahead. She died in 2006.

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