The Good City
Reflections and Imaginations
Routledge – 2011 – 198 pages
Cities, Allan B. Jacobs contends, ought to be magnificent, beautiful places to live. They should be places where people can be fulfilled, where they can be what they can be, where there is freedom, love, ideas, excitement, quiet and joy. Cities ought to be the ultimate manifestation of society’s collective achievements.
Allan B. Jacobs is one of the world’s best known planners and urban design practitioners, with a long and distinguished international career. Drawing on his professional experience of almost sixty years, Jacobs guides the reader through the lessons he’s learnt as a planner and lover of cities. Cities from Brazil, Italy, India, Japan, China and the US are featured.
Written with a wonderfully engaging, humorous tone and Jacobs’ own drawings, The Good City transfers lessons on city design, building and urban change to all those willing to help cities become the magnificent, beautiful places they should be - and encourages all inhabitants to learn to appreciate and explore their own cities.
"This is a candid, refreshing book, made even better by drawings that Jacobs has been making on sketch pads throughout his career. Read The Good City and you just might avoid making the world a more soulless place." - Better! Cities & Towns
"Allan Jacobs is a great planner who cares deeply about cities and loves the people who inhabit them. His essays capture decades of observations and wisdom, and are an essential read for every urbanist" - Gary Hack, Professor of City & Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, USA
"The Good City is a personal panoramic tour taking us from Calcutta to San Francisco and covering over half a century. Its author, Allan Jacobs, the urban flâneur "par excellence," reflects on his experience observing cities. This is a must read for any urbanist." - Nezar AlSayyad, Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Urban Design, University of California, Berkeley, USA
"Once again, esteemed professor of planning Allan B. Jacobs has written a very engaging and thought-provoking planning text… Reading like a memoir, The Good City is an excellent book for thoughtful planners who want to think long and hard about their personal and professional ties to cities where they have lived and worked." - Annalise Fonza, Journal of Planning Education and Research 32(4)
Part 1: Experiencing Cities An Introduction. Part 2: Learning From Calcutta Why India. Part 3: Learning in Italy Walls and Gates. Being Apart. Gianicolo Busts. Via Costa Masciarelli: A Question of Values. Part 4: City People—Fragments Traffic Cop. Excellent! Immigrants. Practicing. Part 5: Breaking and Making Community Cleveland and the Unmaking of City. The Etcher of Caprano. Liberty Bakery. Stopping By. Curitiba and the Making of Community. Part 6: World Class Cities Memos on Pudong. Part 7: City Certainties Traffic is Not a Problem. Parking is Not a Problem. Things Can Get Better or Worse. What You Believe Counts. Part 8: San Francisco Reflecting on San Francisco. The Civil Service Giants. Part 9: The Good City
Allan B. Jacobs has almost 60 years of active city planning and urban design practice, research and teaching experience in major American and world cities. He has served as San Francisco’s planning director during the 1960s and 70s, a period of both confrontation and historic urban design achievement. Prior to that Jacobs worked in Cleveland, Pittsburgh during its "renaissance" years, and Calcutta, India, before teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. He has consulted and worked in Curitiba, Brazil, Rome, Japan, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Vancouver, and many US cities. Presently, he is Professor Emeritus at the Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley, and Professor in the Graduate School there.