New book: The Good City
Relections and Imaginations
The Good City is a series of short, vivid essays on what Allan Jacobs, former San Francisco planning director and Berkeley professor, has seen or done in locales across the world.
Until I opened The Good City, I had always thought of Allan Jacobs as three things: a Berkeley professor (emeritus), a former San Francisco planning director, and an authority on streets and boulevards. I had no idea of his other dimensions — that he had worked as a planner in Pittsburgh and Calcutta (quite a combination, those two), that he had consulted on the huge Pudong development in Shanghai, and that he had grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, when it was, in his words, “a real city.”
I also didn’t know just how human and penetrating a writer Jacobs can be. Like his fellow San Franciscan Dan Solomon (Global City Blues, 2003), Jacobs is a great story-teller who makes fascinating, sometimes mordant forays from architecture and community planning to other, surprisingly varied aspects of life.
The Good City is a series of short, vivid essays on what Jacobs has seen or done in locales across the world. When he was in his thirties, out of the blue he gave up a