Thirty years after its publication, The Death and Life of Great American Cities was described by The New York Times as "perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town planning....[It] can also be seen in a much larger context. It is first of all a work of literature; the descriptions of street life as a kind of ballet and the bitingly satiric account of traditional planning theory can still be read for pleasure even by those who long ago absorbed and appropriated the book's arguments." Jane Jacobs, an editor and writer on architecture in New York City in the early sixties, argued that urban diversity and vitality were being destroyed by powerful architects and city planners. Rigorous, sane, and delightfully epigrammatic, Jacobs's small masterpiece is a blueprint for the humanistic management of cities. It is sensible, knowledgeable, readable, indispensable. The author has written a new foreword for this Modern Library edition.
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A book for today’s urban planners.
Seeing the inconsistency and insanity of so called “urban renewal” and “gentrification” in the nation’s cities, I think more people should read this. It delivers a strong message about the growth and decay of communities and what causes them to be the way they are. With great social change happening everywhere, we can only wonder what to do with the issues we have been left with. I would recommend this book to others because it talks about a conflict most are uncomfortable talking about; I also think that it is important for people to discuss these things because if we don’t we will never grow as a society.