The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs

It’s been a year and a half since I read the first two parts of this book — when I unpacked my books, I put the ones I hadn’t read on the top shelf so I would remember to read or finish them.

While some chapters are a bit dry for casual reading, it’s not too hard to figure out which chapters and sections are skimmable if you going for a non-intensive reading. So much of Jacobs’s theory is based on solid common sense that it’s a bit astounding that the same bad decisions (or worse decisions) around planning are made today. Reading this has given me a new observational base and vocabulary for why some neighborhoods and towns seem to “work” and why some don’t.