Book Club, Wednesday 24th October – Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”


[Rescheduled from 17th Oct, sorry for any inconvenience]

I propose Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities“, which is one of those books I hear endlessly referred to but have never actually read.

I’m a little nervous that it’s now 50 years old, and may seem on the one hand a little dated, on the other a bit ‘obvious’ (although many of the issues she writes about are clearly still major urban problems. Perhaps this should be the theme of our discussion: have Jacobs’ tirade against modernist planning become a new orthodoxy (or at least the lip-service that planners and architects all have to pay)?

And I think we can add some balance by picking more recent books for future meetings. I’ve been invited to join a panel debate in November, entitled “The Triumph of the City?“, and thought we might consider a book co-written by another of the panelists, Alastair Donald – “The Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs“.

As ever, all book suggestions welcome, especially for German or Berlin-based writing on architecture and urbanism that would have broad appeal (and isn’t just about the war…). Possible future book suggestions: Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Colin Rowe’s Collage Cities, and more.

7.30 pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.

Categories : Books   Event


  1. Where is this Book Club? Is that a lecture about Jane Jacobs’ book?

    Maria, September 20, 2012
  2. Hi Maria,

    venue is at the cafe that I run, called Hudon’s, Boppstrasse 1 (corner of Schoenleinstr).

    The idea is that anyone who wants to come along reads the book beforehand, then we discuss it as a group (much like a book club for general fiction). We had our first one a few weeks ago, which went well – basically I introduced the book (actually we did 2 books) which then opened out into a broader discussion, especially about the subject of Rem Koolhaas and his influence.

    Hope to see you in october!


    admin, September 21, 2012
  3. [...] Wednesday 24th Oct – architecture book club – Jane Jacobs’ “Death & Life of Great American Cities” (see earlier post, below). [...]

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