Lori's Book Nook

Urban design & planning, a fascination

Posted on: July 26, 2006

Years ago, I realized that I only took pictures of buildings and streets when I traveled (Drove my husband to distraction on our honeymoon, 100s of pictures of urban scenes, none of us!).

Then, I discovered that I enjoyed reading about buildings, architecture, urban design when the new 2ndhand bookstore near my opened up with a whole shelf of books on the subject (That bookstore then fizzled…as all the good books sold, and their terrible book acquisition skills took over.)

One of the great books I found was Looking at Cities, by Allan Jacobs, probably one of the most well-known urban planners. This book was written in 1985, and instructs on how to view the elements that make up a city, and learn, well, what can be learned from that observation.

Another book on that shelf, now on mine, was The Social LIfe of Small Urban Spaces, kept in print by the Project for Public Spaces. Cool.

Years later, a friend married a woman who was a Landscape Architect. So she and I had things in common, and one day she had Allan Jacobs Great Streets out of the library. In it, he defines why some streets are great, and other merely mediocre, based on various parameters of visibility, usage, etc.  We went to see the great man himself speak in Vancouver — very interesting.

So, if you look at my wishlist, I still covet one of his books, The Boulevard Book: History, Evolution, Design of Multiway Boulevards. One day.

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