Hailed by the "New York Times Book Review "as perhaps the single most influential work in the history of town planning, Jane Jacobs s The" Death and Life of Great American Cities "was instantly recognized as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1961. Read more...
Hailed by the "New York Times Book Review "as perhaps the single most influential work in the history of town planning, Jane Jacobs s The" Death and Life of Great American Cities "was instantly recognized as a masterpiece upon its publication in 1961. In the decades that followed, Jacobs remained a brilliant and revered commentator on architecture, urban life, and economics until her death in 2006. These interviews capture Jacobs at her very best and are an essential reminder of why Jacobs was and remains unrivaled in her analyses and her ability to cut through cant and received wisdom."
- ISBN-13: 9781612195346
- ISBN-10: 1612195342
- Publisher: Melville House Publishing
- Publish Date: April 2016
- Page Count: 128
- Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.3 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-02
- Reviewer: Staff
This collection of four lively exchanges with Jacobs (1916–2006), the doyenne of urban planning, encompasses the boon of sharpened reflections on those topics that were her focus and novel thoughts on those that were not. In an interview for the October 1962 issue of Mademoiselle, conducted shortly after the publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs extols "informed, intelligent improvisation" as the formula for great urban development: "All plans—business, your children's education, whatever—are made like this, playing it by ear all along the way." Later interviews offer rarer insights. Speaking to Roberta Brandes Gratz about Manhattan's 1976 Westway project, she points similar efforts of proponents of Lower Manhattan Expressway in the 1960s to present the project as a housing scheme: "The grandiose land-development scheme is a red herring to sell the project." She argues that development would happen without a new highway, and time has vindicated her view. A lengthy interview with James Howard Kunstler features a retelling of her sole encounter with Robert Moses and musings on the planning fever that gripped the architecture world at mid-century: "Intelligent people, to a great extent, are captives of their time and place." Her last interview, conducted in 2005 by Robin Philpot, offers some more unexpected thoughts: sympathy for the Quebec independence movement, hostility to the Euro, and other proof of her taste for decentralization far beyond urban plans. (Apr.)