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Jacobs the death and life

“The Uses of Sidewalks: Safety,” in The Death and Life of Great American Cities


The Death and Life of Great American Cities


Vintage Books, New York, pp. 29–54



Jacobs’s writings, along with the work of the advocacy planners of the late 1960s and 1970s, mounted a powerful critique of the planning establishment as epitomized by Robert Moses and the postwar urban renewal projects that rebuilt large portions of American cities. Aspects of Jacobs’s work inspire many of the small-scale, community-oriented interventions currently reordering U.S. cities. In this chapter Jacobs claims that the street is much more than the functional architecture of the city; it is a diverse public space and a site through which pedestrians become active participants in the formation and safety of city life. She describes the everyday interactions along its length as “the scene of an intricate sidewalk ballet.”

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