Phil's Reviews > The Death and Life of Great American Cities

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
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's review
Dec 08, 2009

really liked it

Though it is somewhat dated, I still found it helpful in understanding what can contribute to and detract from city vitality, and what leads to what Jacobs calls "The Great Blight of Dullness" which can be found in many cities (and probably all suburbs). She discusses what makes city streets successful as places where people spend time, what contributes to dead areas where people (and then businesses) avoid, housing issues, transportation issues, political forces in cities, etc. She draws mostly from New York, Boston, and Chicago, though touches no other cities as well. It's definitely readable and accessible, though it is rather long. Despite having been written so long ago, so much of it still holds to be true, and I've found myself analyzing the urban spaces around me using the rubric she provides.
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