Jane Jacobs’s “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” talks about city planning. In her work, the author highlights the activities that occur on Hudson Street, where she lives. She effectively demonstrates the day-to-day activities in that street. Therefore, this book is quite applicable to the author. The book describes Jacobs’ daily activities in the street she lives in and the problems that she has encountered there due to a lack of space. In addition, she suggests how various government authorities can do their jobs efficiently by viewing buildings not as pieces of architecture but as useful elements that are employed in a way to solve problems within the city and also how these buildings can be used to solve social ills. In other words, buildings are used as an “urban laboratory”.
The author uses imagery and vivid description to demonstrate the daily activities that occur in the street where she lives in. For example, “In late afternoons, the children who live on Hudson Street are to be seen everywhere. They fill the sidewalks and spill into the street, playing ball and running errands for their mothers”. She also gives vivid descriptions of some of the people who are residents of Hudson Street:
The author says “Two new entrances are being made from the wings: well-dressed and even elegant women and men with brief cases emerge from doorways and side streets.” She describes the improvements being done on the street (Litscher, 2017). She says that “Construction is always underway. Both sides of the street are being repaved, the whole street is being relined with sewers, a whole new electrical and phone system is being installed”. The author speaks about the improvement of Hudson Street. Also, she says “But it (Hudson Street) also has a great potential for becoming as fine an urban neighborhood as any in the country”. Jacobs describes how various buildings on Hudson Street can be used to solve social ills such as isolation, fearfulness, and architectural ugliness. For example, “Isolation is certainly one of the factors which produce fearfulness and makes cities uninhabitable by normal people”.
Litscher, M. (2017). Jane Jacobs: The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In Schlüsselwerke der Stadtforschung (pp. 367-394). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.