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In this classic text, Jane Jacobs set out to produce an attack on current city planning and rebuilding and to introduce new principles by which these should be governed. The result is one of the most stimulating books on cities ever written.
Throughout the post-war period, planners temperamentally unsympathetic to cities have been let loose on our urban environment. Inspired by the ideals of the Garden City or Le Corbusier's Radiant City, they have dreamt up ambitious projects based on self-contained neighbourhoods, super-blocks, rigid 'scientific' plans and endless acres of grass. Yet they seldom stop to look at what actually works on the ground.
The real vitality of cities, argues Jacobs, lies in their diversity, architectural variety, teeming street life and human scale. It is only when we appreciate such fundamental realities that we can hope to create cities that are safe, interesting and economically viable, as well as places that people want to live in.
'Perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town planning... Jacobs has a powerful sense of narrative, a lively wit, a talent for surprise and the ability to touch the emotions as well as the mind' New York Times Book Review
In this indispensable book, urban visionary Jane Jacobs argues that as agrarianism gives way to a technology-based future, we’re at risk of cultural collapse. Jacobs—renowned author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities and The Economy of Cities—pinpoints five pillars of our culture that are in serious decay: community and family; higher education; the effective practice of science; taxation, and government; and the self-regulation of the learned professions. The corrosion of these pillars, Jacobs argues, is linked to societal ills such as environmental crisis, racism, and the growing gulf between rich and poor.
But this is a hopeful book as well as a warning. Drawing on a vast frame of reference—from fifteenth-century Chinese shipbuilding to Ireland’s cultural rebirth—Jacobs suggests how the cycles of decay can be arrested and our way of life renewed. Invigorating and accessible, Dark Age Ahead is not only the crowning achievement of Jane Jacobs’ career, but one of the most important works of our time.
Popular no sólo entre profesionales, el libro es una fuerte crítica de las políticas de renovación urbanística de los años cincuenta, que destruían comunidades y creaban espacios urbanos aislados y antinaturales. Jacobs defiende la abolición de los reglamentos de ordenación territorial y el restablecimiento de mercados libres de tierra, lo que daría como resultado barrios densos y de uso mixto. Frecuentemente cita el Greenwich Village neoyorkino como ejemplo de una comunidad urbana dinámica. Riguroso, lúcido y deliciosamente epigramático, Muerte y vida es un programa para la gestión humanista de las ciudades. Sensato, documentado, ameno e indispensable.
No one did more to change how we look at cities than Jane Jacobs, the visionary urbanist and economic thinker whose 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities started a global conversation that remains profoundly relevant more than half a century later.
Vital Little Plans is an essential companion to Death and Life and Jacobs’s other books on urbanism, economics, politics, and ethics. It offers readers a unique survey of her entire career in forty short pieces that have never been collected in a single volume, from charming and incisive urban vignettes from the 1930s to the raw materials of her two unfinished books of the 2000s, together with introductions and annotations by editors Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring. Readers will find classics here, including Jacobs’s breakout article “Downtown Is for People,” as well as lesser-known gems like her speech at the inaugural Earth Day and a host of other rare or previously unavailable essays, articles, speeches, interviews, and lectures. Some pieces shed light on the development of her most famous insights, while others explore topics rarely dissected in her major works, from globalization to feminism to universal health care.
With this book, published in Jacobs’s centenary year, contemporary readers—whether well versed in her ideas or new to her writing—are finally able to appreciate the full scope of her remarkable voice and vision. At a time when urban life is booming and people all over the world are moving to cities, the words of Jane Jacobs have never been more significant. Vital Little Plans weaves a lifetime of ideas from the most prominent urbanist of the twentieth century into a book that’s indispensable to life in the twenty-first.
Praise for Vital Little Plans
“Jacobs’s work . . . was a singularly accurate prediction of the future we live in.”—The New Republic
“In Vital Little Plans, a new collection of the short writings and speeches of Jane Jacobs, one of the most influential thinkers on the built environment, editors Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring have done readers a great service.”—The Huffington Post
“A wonderful new anthology that captures [Jacobs’s] confident prose and her empathetic, patient eye for the way humans live and work together.”—The Globe and Mail
“[A timely reminder] of the clarity and originality of [Jane Jacobs’s] thought.”—Toronto Star
“[Vital Little Plans] comes to the foreground for [Jane Jacobs’s] centennial, and in a time when more of Jacobs’s prescient wisdom is needed.”—Metropolis
“[Jacobs] changed the debate on urban planning. . . . As [Vital Little Plans] shows, she never stopped refining her observations about how cities thrived.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[Jane Jacobs] was one of three people I have met in a lifetime of meeting people who had an aura of sainthood about them. . . .
In this eye-opening work of economic theory, Jane Jacobs argues that it is cities—not nations—that are the drivers of wealth. Challenging centuries of economic orthodoxy, in Cities and the Wealth of Nations the beloved author contends that healthy cities are constantly evolving to replace imported goods with locally-produced alternatives, spurring a cycle of vibrant economic growth. Intelligently argued and drawing on examples from around the world and across the ages, here Jacobs radically changes the way we view our cities—and our entire economy.
In Systems of Survival, Jane Jacobs identifies two distinct moral syndromes—one governing commerce, the other, politics—and explores what happens when these two syndromes collide. She looks at business fraud and criminal enterprise, government’s overextended subsidies to agriculture, and transit police who abuse the system the are supposed to enforce, and asks us to consider instances in which snobbery is a virtue and industry a vice. In this work of profound insight and elegance, Jacobs gives us a new way of seeing all our public transactions and encourages us towards the best use of our natural inclinations.
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.
"An unforgettable...story of a remarkable woman who lived a heroic life."--The New York Times
The CBC Massey Lectures, Canada's preeminent public lecture series, are for many of us a highly anticipated annual feast of ideas. However, some of the finest lectures, by some of the greatest minds of modern times, have been lost for many years -- unavailable to the public in any form.
Important thinkers whose Massey Lectures are lamentably out of print include the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., John Kenneth Galbraith, Jane Jacobs, Paul Goodman, and Eric Kierans. Each of these lecturers spoke on a subject at the heart of their intellectual and spiritual concerns -- King on race and prejudice, Galbraith on economics and poverty, Jacobs on Canadian cities and Quebec separatism, Goodman on the moral ambiguity of America, Kierans on globalism and the nation-state -- and their words are not only of considerable historical significance but remain hugely relevant to the problems we face today. At last, a selection of these lost lectures is available to a world so hungry for, and yet in such short supply of, innovative ideas.
The Lost Massey Lectures includes an introduction by Bernie Lucht, who has been the executive producer of CBC Radio's Ideas and the Massey Lectures since 1984.
Starting from the premise that human beings "exist wholly within nature as part of natural order in every respect," Jane Jacobs has focused her singular eye on the natural world in order to discover the fundamental models for a vibrant economy. The lessons she discloses come from fields as diverse as ecology, evolution, and cell biology. Written in the form of a Platonic dialogue among five fictional characters, The Nature of Economies is as astonishingly accessible and clear as it is irrepressibly brilliant and wise–a groundbreaking yet humane study destined to become another world-altering classic.