Jane Jacobs and the CityPeter L. Laurence
AuthorUniversity of Pennsylvania Press, 2012
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities is one of the most important books written on cities, having influenced generations of architects, city planners, and others interested in urban life and design. However, little is known about Jacobs's own experiences and influences before its publication. While prevailing stereotypes present Jacobs as a naïve or gifted genius with a limited geographical, experiential, and intellectual horizon, Jane Jacobs and the City shows that Death and Life was the result of a twenty-five year writing career that led her to already have become one of the most important writers on cities before her great book was published. It offers a closer and more critical look at Jacobs's lifework as a whole, and examines her writing, important experiences and influences, and early support for urban renewal, expanding the histories of modern architecture and American cities associated with her.
Peter L. Laurence is director of graduate studies and assistant professor of architecture at Clemson University. He received his MS in architectural history and theory and PhD in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and his MArch from Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Interests in the epistemological bases of architectural and urban theory have informed more than ten years of research on Jane Jacobs and The Death and Life of Great American Cities. His essays on Jacobs and the histories of architectural criticism and urban design have been published in the Journal of Urban Design, the Journal of Architectural Education, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Reconsidering Jane Jacobs, and two other forthcoming collections. His prior research projects received support from the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, Clemson University, the Rockefeller Archive Center, and the Rockefeller Foundation. His second book project is a Routledge guide to Jacobs's Death and Life.
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