The Death and Life of Great American Cities

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1989 - Social Science - 480 pages
386 Reviews
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. Compassionate, bracingly indignant, and always keenly detailed, Jane Jacobs's monumental work provides an essential framework for assessing the vitality of all cities.

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Vibrant, vigorous writing. - Goodreads
A great introduction into how to think about cities. - Goodreads
Anecdotal, romanticized, easy to read. - Goodreads
Also, she was a helluva writer. - Goodreads
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Great book!

Review: The Death and Life of Great American Cities

User Review  - Linda - Goodreads

A must read. This old classic gets more obviously relevant the older it gets. Oh but if we had only heard her wisdom and followed her advice half a century ago. Read full review


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About the author (1989)

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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