Jane Jacobs

There are only a few urban design texts that are truly timeless. Recently, I was asked for a recommendation for the best “Urban Design” book to read. My mind flipped through the hundreds of texts from the ancients, the classics, and even the modern. My mind returned to Jane Jacob’s book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities“.

I assume that during the last 40 plus years since it original printing, that all of today’s planners and urbanists have read this book. I am almost afraid to use it as starting point, because her writing is so commonly referenced. Surprisingly enough, very few people have read it. Recently, I found that my entire department only knew this book, and no one had ever read it.

I really recommend that everyone take the time to read “The Death and Life of Great American Cities“. You will not be disappointed, and will finish with a new perspective on the built world.

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