Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing a comparative book review for my Urban Geography class. One book is 40 years the other’s senior.
The first work I’ve chosen is The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs. (1961) This was an obvious choice for me for five reasons: the book is iconic in my future profession, it was written by a woman, its perspective is one common among many I’ll be working with in the future (initially outside my profession as a concerned citizen, but becoming more knowledgeable over time), it covers a wide range of topics, and the age is ripe for comparing to my second text.
The book I will be comparing Jacobs to is The American City: What Works and What Doesn’t (2nd Ed.) by Alexander Garvin. (2002) This is written in a textbook tone, making comparisons systematic and easy to summarize. What I’d really like to see is a technique either be praised or shunned by Jacobs, and the same be treated oppositely by Garvin 40 years later.
You are all, of course, welcome to join me in my readings and analyze with me. All arguments are appreciated here.
Let’s see if some faith in human advancement can be restored after this analysis 40 years in the making…