Comparative Book Review Dismay


At the beginning of this project, I had prepared to discuss five topics found in both Jacobs’ and Garvin’s books. But after reading four and dropping one for sanity’s sake, I’ve found that there just isn’t enough in common between the two to complete the topic I was most looking forward to- historic preservation. Jacobs, while she did discuss the need for old buildings economically, was about a decade at the front-end of the historic preservation movement in the US; The first federal tax incentives promoting home owners to restore and maintain their home properly was enacted about thirteen years after The Life and Death of Great American Cities was published. Garvin was very thorough and in-depth about how to finance a historic preservation district and was very informative. So, I’ll have to wrap-up without that last piece. Look forward to seeing the final cut, condensed to 3-5 pages, shortly.

Darn you, hasty ambition without thorough preparation!

On a completely awesome note: I have an interview to blog for a global company in twelve hours! Send all the good juju!

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Comparative Book Review #4: Parks


Jacobs opens with, “Parks are volatile places,” and, “Ask a houser. . .  a zoner. . . a planner. . . [they] will envision a future of more open space. More open space for what? For muggings?” [116,117] Do not take this for black-and-white face value, however, she’s not a cynic through and through- as we all know by now. Garvin begins his chapter with the concept that simply due to parks’ huge area (by the norm) they make a, “major impact on the development and character of every city.”  But after Jacobs continues her argument, I see that it is easily argued the influence may be paid the other way around; a park’s success and use (sheer number of bodies, perhaps not doing what the park was intended, as illustrated later) is impacted by surrounding use. She strongly states throughout the chapter that surrounding buildings must be of mixed use in order for a park to be successful. “Parks are not automatically anything.” [119] Continue reading

Comparative Book Review #3: Revitalizing Neighborhoods


This is, of course, the one time Jane Jacobs gets precise and focuses mainly on NY projects and Alexander Garvin paints with a broad brush more than using specific examples. But there are views that can be used in more than their intended concepts on Jacob’s side, and Garvin finally finds the bullet point feature in Word and summarizes his thoughts clearly and concisely. Let’s hope Garvin stay on his feet…

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Comparative Book Review #2: Sidewalks and Planning for Pedestrians.


While the tones of either book could not be more different (Jacobs: novel, Garvin: textbook), the theories behind their words are very much the same. However, the modern text has completely ignored the obvious…

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Comparative Book Review #1: Introducing the Books


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. Continue reading