The Death and Life of Great American Cities
About the book
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.
"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."--Harrison Salisbury, The New York Times"One of the most remarkable books ever written about the city... a primary work. The research apparatus is not pretentious--it is the eye and the heart--but it has given us a magnificent study of what gives life and spirit to the city."--William H. Whyte, author of The Organization Man
Jane Jacobs Biography
Jane Jacobs (née Butzner; 4 May 1916 – 25 April 2006) was an American-Canadian journalist, author, theorist, and activist who influenced urban studies, sociology, and economics. Her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) argued that "urban renewal" and "slum clearance" did not respect the needs of city-dwellers.Jacobs organized grassroots efforts to protect neighborhoods from urban renewal and slum clearance – in particular plans by Robert Moses to overhaul her own Greenwich Village neighborhood. She was instrumental in the eventual cancellation of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have passed directly through an area of Manhattan that later became known as SoHo, as well as part of Little Italy and Chinatown. She was arrested in 1968 for inciting a crowd at a public hearing on that project. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she joined the opposition to the Spadina Expressway and the associated network of expressways in Toronto that were planned and under construction.As a woman and a writer who criticized experts in the male-dominated field of urban planning, Jacobs endured scorn from established figures. Routinely, she was described first as a housewife, as she did not have a college degree or any formal training in urban planning; as a result, her lack of credentials was seized upon as grounds for criticism. However, the influence of her concepts eventually was acknowledged by highly respected professionals such as Richard Florida and Robert Lucas.
Early yearsJacobs was born Jane Isabel Butzner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Bess Robison Butzner, a former teacher and nurse and John Decker Butzner, a physician. They were a Protestant family in a heavily Roman Catholic town. Her brother, John Decker Butzner, Jr., served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. After graduation from Scranton High School, she worked for a year as the unpaid assistant to the women's page editor at the Scranton Tribune.
New York CityIn 1935, during the Great Depression, she moved to New York City with her sister Betty. Jane Butzner took an immediate liking to Manhattan's Greenwich Village, which deviated some from the city's grid structure. The sisters soon moved there from Brooklyn.During her early years in Manhattan, Jacobs held a variety of jobs working as a stenographer and freelance writer, writing about working districts in the city. These experiences, she later said, "gave me more of a notion of what was going on in the city and what business was like, what work was like." Her first job was for a trade magazine, as a secretary, then an editor. She sold articles to the Sunday Herald Tribune, Cue magazine, and Vogue.She studied at Columbia University's School of General Studies for two years, taking courses in geology, zoology, law, political science, and economics. About the freedom to pursue study across her wide-ranging interests, she said: For the first time I lik ... Read full biography
|Publisher:||Random House USA Inc|
|Languages:||| English ||
|Publication date:||Dec. 1, 1992|
|First Publication Date:||None|
|Publication City/Country:||New York, United States|