Friday, July 22, 2011

Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte on the City

Before I discuss books in this post, a backstory is necessary to explain how my interest was spurred in this subject.  About four years ago I moved from the downtown core of a moderately sized city with a population of just over one million residents into a new suburban development.  This was prompted by the impending birth of my son, who we thought would have a better start to life away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.  However, the experience turned out to be much different than I expected.  The first sign that something was amiss came the day after we moved in when we decided to take a long walk and explore our neighbourhood.  This took place on a beautiful sunny day on Labour Day weekend.  During this hour long walk I was immediately shocked that we encountered no other people.  Another example is that during my family's walks we often go down a bike/walking path close to our home.  Whenever we make it half way between two intersecting roads I always take a moment to look behind me and what I invariably find is that we are alone on this path.  Ongoing exposure to the suburbs has prompted a burgeoning interest in city planning, social space and what makes cities successful.