Download Great Streets: Allan B. Jacobs's Masterpiece on Urban Design
Allan Jacobs Great Streets Ebook Download
If you are interested in urban design, architecture, or city planning, you might want to read Great Streets, a book by Allan B. Jacobs. In this book, Jacobs compares hundreds of streets around the world to determine the design and other elements that make some of them great. He also provides a wealth of information on street dimensions, plans, sections, and patterns of use, all systematically compared. Moreover, he reveals his eye for the telling human and social details that bring streets and communities to life.
allan jacobs great streets ebook download
In this article, we will give you an overview of what this book is about and why it is worth reading. We will also tell you how you can download an ebook version of it for free. But first, let's see why streets are so important in creating communities.
The Importance of Streets in Creating Communities
Streets are more than just transportation corridors. They are also public spaces where people interact, socialize, shop, play, work, protest, celebrate, and more. Streets shape the social and cultural life of cities and towns. They reflect their history, identity, diversity, and vitality.
As Jacobs writes in his introduction:
"Streets are settings for activities that bring people together. They are places where children may skip rope or shoot marbles; where people may stroll or sit; where they may meet, talk, and perhaps argue; where they may see and be seen. Streets are public places, and as such they are part of the common wealth, the public trust. They are places where people can be free to walk, to play, to speak their minds."
Therefore, the design and quality of streets have a significant impact on the well-being and happiness of people. Good streets can foster a sense of community, belonging, and pride. Bad streets can alienate, isolate, and depress people. That's why it is crucial to understand what makes some streets great and how to create more of them.
The Criteria for Identifying the Best Streets
Which are the world's best streets, and what are the physical, designable characteristics that make them great? To answer these questions, Jacobs has surveyed street users and design professionals and has studied a wide array of street types and urban spaces around the world. He has also drawn on his own experience as an urban designer and planner.
Based on his research, he has developed a set of criteria for identifying the best streets. These criteria include:
The street should be comfortable to walk along and to cross.
The street should have a clear identity and image.
The street should have a variety of activities and uses.
The street should have a sense of enclosure and definition.
The street should have transparency and permeability.
The street should have continuity and consistency.
The street should have quality in the details.
The street should have a special design feature or element.
These criteria are not absolute or universal. They may vary depending on the context, purpose, and preference of each street. However, they provide a useful framework for evaluating and comparing different streets.
The Examples of Great Streets Around the World
To illustrate his criteria, Jacobs has selected 15 particularly fine streets from different countries and continents. He has analyzed them in detail, using plans, cross sections, maps, photographs, sketches, and statistics. He has also described their history, context, design, use, and appeal.
The 15 fine streets that Jacobs examines are:
Roslyn Place in Pittsburgh, USA: a short residential street with brick paving and no curbs or sidewalks.
Via dei Giubbonari in Rome, Italy: a medieval shopping street with narrow width and irregular shape.
Stroget in Copenhagen, Denmark: a pedestrianized street system with a variety of activities and spaces.
Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona, Spain: a grand boulevard with elegant buildings and distinctive pavement patterns.
Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence, France: a tree-lined avenue with fountains, cafes, and mansions.
Avenue Montaigne in Paris, France: a fashionable street with luxury shops and hotels.
Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris, France: a lively student street with bookstores, cinemas, and restaurants.
The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy: a waterway that serves as the main artery of the city.
Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, France: a famous avenue with monuments, gardens, and traffic.
Via del Corso in Rome, Italy: a historic street that connects major landmarks and squares.
Market Street in San Francisco, USA: a major thoroughfare that has declined in quality over time.
The Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain: a vibrant promenade with kiosks, performers, and markets.
Monument Avenue in Richmond, USA: a residential boulevard with statues of Confederate leaders.
Richards Road at Mills College in Oakland, USA: a country road with eucalyptus trees.
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla in Rome, Italy: a road that runs along the ruins of ancient baths.
The Features of Great Streets
In this section, we will look at some of the common features that great streets share. We will see how they can be recognized by their dimensions, plans, sections, patterns of use, and human details. We will also see how these features contribute to the performance and appeal of streets.
The Dimensions of Great Streets