1. The plan must anticipate all that is needed

    Ebenezer Howard set spinning powerful and city-destroying ideas: He conceived that the way to deal with the city’s functions was to sort and sift out of the whole certain simple uses, and to arrange each of these in relative self-containment.

    And he conceived of good planning as a series of static acts; in each case the plan must anticipate all that is needed and be protected, after it is built, against any but the most minor subsequent changes.

    1. ​Same name in the same basket​
  2. The city's most vital organs

    Streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city, are its most vital organs.

    They serve many purposes besides carrying vehicles, and city sidewalks—the pedestrian parts of the streets—serve many purposes besides carrying pedestrians. These uses are bound up with circulation but are not identical with it and in their own right they are at least as basic as circulation to the proper workings of cities.

    1. ​The right overlap​
  3. Eyes on the street

    You can’t make people use streets they have no reason to use. You can’t make people watch streets they do not want to watch. Safety on the streets by surveillance and mutual policing of one another sounds grim, but in real life it is not grim. The safety of the street works best, most casually, and with least frequent taint of hostility or suspicion precisely where people are using and most enjoying the city streets voluntarily and are least conscious, normally, that they are policing.

    1. ​To deter crime​
  4. Equipped to handle strangers

    A city street equipped to handle strangers, and to make a safety asset, in itself, out of the presence of strangers, as the streets of successful city neighborhoods always do, must have three main qualities:

    1. First, there must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space.
    2. Second, there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street.
    3. And third, the sidewalk must have users on it fairly continuously.
  5. The sight of people attracts still other people

    This last point, that the sight of people attracts still other people, is something that city planners and city architectural designers seem to find incomprehensible. They operate on the premise that city people seek the sight of emptiness, obvious order and quiet. Nothing could be less true—People’s love of watching activity and other people is constantly evident in cities everywhere.

    This trait reaches an almost ludicrous extreme on upper Broadway in New York, where the street is divided by a narrow central mall, right in the middle of traffic. At the cross-street intersections of this long north-south mall, benches have been placed behind big concrete buffers and on any day when the weather is even barely tolerable these benches are filled with people at block after block after block, watching the pedestrians who cross the mall in front of them, watching the traffic, watching the people on the busy sidewalks, watching each other. Eventually Broadway reaches Columbia University and Barnard College, one to the right, the other to the left. Here all is obvious order and quiet, no more stores, no more activity generated by the stores, almost no more pedestrians crossing—and no more watchers. The benches are there but they go empty in even the finest weather. I have tried them and can see why. No place could be more boring. Even the students of these institutions shun the solitude. They are doing their outdoor loitering, outdoor homework and general street watching on the steps overlooking the busiest campus crossing.

  6. I know the deep night ballet and its seasons best

    This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance—not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any one place is always replete with new improvisations.

    1. ​The stoop is a space of spectatorship​
  7. Togetherness

    “Togetherness” is a fittingly nauseating name for an old ideal in planning theory. This ideal is that if anything is shared among people, much should be shared. “Togetherness,” apparently a spiritual resource of the new suburbs, works destructively in cities. The requirement that much shall be shared drives city people apart.

    When an area of a city lacks a sidewalk life, the people of the place must enlarge their private lives if they are to have anything approaching equivalent contact with their neighbors. They must settle for some form of “togetherness,” in which more is shared with one another than in the life of the sidewalks, or else they must settle for lack of contact. Inevitably the outcome is one or the other; it has to be; and either has distressing results.

    City residential planning that depends, for contact among neighbors, on personal sharing of this sort, and that cultivates it, often does work well socially, if rather narrowly, for self-selected upper-middle-class people. It solves easy problems for an easy kind of population. So far as I have been able to discover, it fails to work, however, even on its own terms, with any other kind of population.

    1. ​Doing community​
  8. Self-appointed public characters

    The social structure of sidewalk life hangs partly on what can be called self-appointed public characters. A public character is anyone who is in frequent contact with a wide circle of people and who is sufficiently interested to make himself a public character. A public character need have no special talents or wisdom to fulfill his function—although he often does. He just needs to be present, and there need to be enough of his counterparts. His main qualification is that he is public, that he talks to lots of different people. In this way, news travels that is of sidewalk interest.

  9. If children are transferred from a lively city street

    In real life, what significant change does occur if children are transferred from a lively city street to the usual park or to the usual public or project playground?

    In most cases (not all, fortunately), the most significant change is this: The children have moved from under the eyes of a high numerical ratio of adults, into a place where the ratio of adults is low or even nil. To think this represents an improvement in city child rearing is pure daydreaming.

    1. ​The ground plane​

    Sennett discusses playgrounds and childhood learning to some extent in The Craftsman. The linked extract isn't quite what Jacobs is getting at, but it's the closest I've got recorded at this point.

    A Pattern Language also has a number of patterns dealing with childhood and adolescent growth.

  10. They act on their environment

    Little tots are decorative and relatively docile, but older children are noisy and energetic, and they act on their environment instead of just letting it act on them. Since the environment is already “perfect” this will not do.

    Alexander recommends playgrounds composed of movable, destructible, composable objects and tools. Things that children can build and be creative with. Things that are made to be messed with.

  11. Men are not an abstraction

    Placing work and commerce near residences, but buffering it off, in the tradition set by Garden City theory, is fully as matriarchal an arrangement as if the residences were miles away from work and from men. Men are not an abstraction. They are either around, in person, or they are not. Working places and commerce must be mingled right in with residences if men, like the men who work on or near Hudson Street, for example, are to be around city children in daily life—men who are part of normal daily life, as opposed to men who put in an occasional playground appearance while they substitute for women or imitate the occupations of women.

    1. ​9. Scattered Work​
  12. Wide sidewalks

    The narrower the sidewalks, the more sedentary incidental play becomes.

    Sidewalks thirty or thirty-five feet wide can accommodate virtually any demand of incidental play put upon them—along with trees to shade the activities, and sufficient space for pedestrian circulation and adult public sidewalk life and loitering. Few sidewalks of this luxurious width can be found. Sidewalk width is invariably sacrificed for vehicular width, partly because city sidewalks are conventionally considered to be purely space for pedestrian travel and access to buildings.

  13. The boon of life and appreciation

    Conventionally, neighborhood parks or parklike open spaces are considered boons conferred on the deprived populations of cities. Let us turn this thought around, and consider city parks deprived places that need the boon of life and appreciation conferred on them.

  14. Indeterminate land oozes

    City people would have to devote themselves to park use as if it were a business (or as the leisured indigent do) to justify, for example, the plethora of malls, promenades, playgrounds, parks and indeterminate land oozes afforded in typical Radiant Garden City schemes.

    City districts with relatively large amounts of generalized park, like Morningside Heights or Harlem, seldom develop intense community focus on a park and intense love for it.

  15. Sentimentality plays with sweet intentions

    Neighborhood is a word that has come to sound like a Valentine. As a sentimental concept, “neighborhood” is harmful to city planning. It leads to attempts at warping city life into imitations of town or suburban life. Sentimentality plays with sweet intentions in place of good sense.

    We shall have something solid to chew on if we think of city neighborhoods as mundane organs of self-government. Our failures with city neighborhoods are, ultimately, failures in localized self-government. And our successes are successes at localized self-government.

  16. The doctrine of salvation by bricks

    When we try to justify good shelter instead on the pretentious grounds that it will work social or family miracles we fool ourselves. Reinhold Niebuhr has called this particular self-deception, “The doctrine of salvation by bricks.”

    1. ​When our forces are resolved​
    2. ​The doctrine of salvation by blocks​

    And yet, there is something to the idea that truly "good" buildings and places (in the quality-that-has-no-name sense) do have the power to shape and improve the lives led within it, and even to heal people.

  17. City neighborhoods cannot be self-contained

    Whatever city neighborhoods may be, or may not be, and whatever usefulness they may have, or may be coaxed into having, their qualities cannot work at cross-purposes to thoroughgoing city mobility and fluidity of use, without economically weakening the city of which they are a part. The lack of either economic or social self-containment is natural and necessary to city neighborhoods—simply because they are parts of cities. Isaacs is right when he implies that the conception of neighborhood in cities is meaningless—so long as we think of neighborhoods as being self-contained units to any significant degree, modeled upon town neighborhoods.

  18. City districts

    Districts have to help bring the resources of a city down to where they are needed by street neighborhoods, and they have to help translate the experiences of real life, in street neighborhoods, into policies and purposes of their city as a whole. And they have to help maintain an area that is usable, in a civilized way, not only for its own residents but for other users—workers, customers, visitors—from the city as a whole.

    To accomplish these functions, an effective district has to be large enough to count as a force in the life of the city as a whole. The “ideal” neighborhood of planning theory is useless for such a role. A district has to be big and powerful enough to fight city hall. Nothing less is to any purpose.

    1. ​Paths, edges, districts, nodes, landmarks​
  19. The "ideal" neighborhood

    The “ideal” neighborhood of planning and zoning theory, too large in scale to possess any competence or meaning as a street neighborhood, is at the same time too small in scale to operate as a district. It is unfit for anything. It will not serve as even a point of departure. Like the belief in medical bloodletting, it was a wrong turn in the search for understanding.

  20. Such places are forever way stations

    Neighborhood accommodations for fixed, bodiless, statistical people are accommodations for instability. The people in them, as statistics, may stay the same. But the people in them, as people, do not. Such places are forever way stations.

  21. The blind men who felt the elephant

    It is so easy to fall into the trap of contemplating a city’s uses one at a time, by categories. Indeed, just this—analysis of cities, use by use—has become a customary planning tactic. The findings on various categories of use are then put together into “broad, overall pictures.”

    The overall pictures such methods yield are about as useful as the picture assembled by the blind men who felt the elephant and pooled their findings. The elephant lumbered on, oblivious to the notion that he was a leaf, a snake, a wall, tree trunks and a rope all somehow stuck together.

    1. ​The blind men and the elephant​
    2. ​The group of blind mullahs​
  22. Exuberant diversity in a city's streets

    To generate exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts, four conditions are indispensable:

    1. The district, and indeed as many of its internal parts as possible, must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two. These must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place for different purposes, but who are able to use many facilities in common.
    2. Most blocks must be short; that is, streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent.
    3. The district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce. This mingling must be fairly close-grained.
    4. There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people, for whatever purposes they may be there. This includes dense concentration in the case of people who are there because of residence.
  23. Primary uses

    Any primary use whatever, by itself is relatively ineffectual as a creator of city diversity. If it is combined with another primary use that brings people in and out and puts them on the street at the same time, nothing has been accomplished. In practical terms, we cannot even call these differing primary uses.

    Movie theaters and restaurants, for example, often can be considered as a single destination for a night out. They don't typically bring different groups of people to the same place at different times.

  24. Secondary diversity

    Secondary diversity is a name for the enterprises that grow in response to the presence of primary uses, to serve the people the primary uses draw.

    If secondary diversity flourishes sufficiently and contains enough that is unusual or unique, it seemingly can and does become, in its accumulation, a primary use itself. People come specifically for it. This is what happens in good shopping districts or even, to a humble extent, on Hudson Street.

  25. A city's chessmen

    One land-use economist, Larry Smith, has aptly called office buildings chess pieces. “You have used up those chess pieces already,” he is said to have told a planner who was trying to revitalize an unrealistic number of spots with dreamy plans for new office buildings. All primary uses, whether offices, dwellings or concert halls, are a city’s chessmen. Those that move differently from one another must be employed in concert to accomplish much. And as in chess, a pawn can be converted to a queen. But city building has this difference from chess: The number of pieces is not fixed by the rules. If well deployed, the pieces multiply.

  26. Frequent streets are not an end in themselves

    Frequent streets are not an end in themselves. They are a means toward an end. If that end—generating diversity and catalyzing the plans of many people besides planners—is thwarted by too repressive zoning, or by regimented construction that precludes the flexible growth of diversity, nothing significant can be accomplished by short blocks.

  27. The economic value of old buildings

    But the economic value of old buildings is irreplaceable at will. It is created by time. This economic requisite for diversity is a requisite that vital city neighborhoods can only inherit, and then sustain over the years.

    1. ​Things that shine and glitter​
    2. ​New ideas must use old buildings​

    Like chopping down a hundred year old tree to make way for a new house, or pressure washing away the patina of age on a stone walkway. Time is the one thing that can't be built.

  28. highdensityandovercrowding

    They hated both equally, in any case, and coupled them like ham and eggs, so that to this day housers and planners pop out the phrase as if it were one word, “highdensityandovercrowding.”

  29. Dwelling densities and diversity

    The reason dwelling densities can begin repressing diversity if they get too high is this: At some point, to accommodate so many dwellings on the land, standardization of the buildings must set in. This is fatal, because great diversity in age and types of buildings has a direct, explicit connection with diversity of population, diversity of enterprises and diversity of scenes.

    Among all the various kinds of buildings (old or new) in a city, some kinds are always less efficient than others in adding dwellings to the land. A three-story building will get fewer dwellings onto a given number of square feet of land than a five-story building; a five-story building, fewer than a ten-story building. If you want to go up far enough, the number of dwellings that can go onto a given plot of land is stupendous—as Le Corbusier demonstrated with his schemes for a city of repetitive skyscrapers in a park.

    But in this process of packing dwellings on given acreages of land, it does not do to get too efficient, and it never did. There must be leeway for variety among buildings. All those variations that are of less than maximum efficiency get crowded out. Maximum efficiency, or anything approaching it, means standardization.

  30. Scenes of thoroughgoing sameness

    In places stamped with the monotony and repetition of sameness you move, but in moving you seem to have gotten nowhere.

    North is the same as south, or east as west. Sometimes north, south, east and west are all alike, as they are when you stand within the grounds of a large project. It takes differences—many differences—cropping up in different directions to keep us oriented.

    Scenes of thoroughgoing sameness lack these natural announcements of direction and movement, or are scantly furnished with them, and so they are deeply confusing. This is a kind of chaos.

    1. ​The Image of the City​
    2. ​The Great Blight of Dullness​
  31. Googie architecture

    Where uses are in actual fact homogeneous, we often find that deliberate distinctions and differences are contrived among the buildings. But these contrived differences give rise to esthetic difficulties too. Because inherent differences—those that come from genuinely differing uses—are lacking among the buildings and their settings, the contrivances represent the desire merely to appear different.

    Some of the more blatant manifestations of this phenomenon were well described, back in 1952, by Douglas Haskell, editor of Architectural Forum, under the term “googie architecture.” Googie architecture could then be seen in its finest flowering among the essentially homogeneous and standardized enterprises of roadside commercial strips: hot-dog stands in the shape of hot dogs, ice-cream stands in the shape of ice-cream cones. These are obvious examples of virtual sameness trying, by dint of exhibitionism, to appear unique and different from their similar commercial neighbors. Mr. Haskell pointed out that the same impulses to look special (in spite of not being special) were at work also in more sophisticated construction: weird roofs, weird stairs, weird colors, weird signs, weird anything.

    1. ​Ducks and decorated sheds​
  32. Art is the one medium in which one cannot lie successfully

    When we build, say, a business area in which all (or practically all) are engaged in earning their livings, or a residential area in which everyone is deep in the demands of domesticity, or a shopping area dedicated to the exchange of cash and commodities—in short, where the pattern of human activity contains only one element, it is impossible for the architecture to achieve a convincing variety—convincing of the known facts of human variation. The designer may vary color, texture and form until his drawing instruments buckle under the strain, proving once more that art is the one medium in which one cannot lie successfully.

  33. The air doesn't know about zoning boundaries

    Work uses suggest another bugaboo: reeking smokestacks and flying ash. Of course reeking smokestacks and flying ash are harmful, but it does not follow that intensive city manufacturing (most of which produces no such nasty by-products) or other work uses must be segregated from dwellings. Indeed, the notion that reek or fumes are to be combated by zoning and land-sorting classifications at all is ridiculous. The air doesn’t know about zoning boundaries. Regulations specifically aimed at the smoke or the reek itself are to the point.

  34. The greatest flaw in city zoning

    Raskin, in his essay on variety, suggested that the greatest flaw in city zoning is that it permits monotony. I think this is correct. Perhaps the next greatest flaw is that it ignores scale of use, where this is an important consideration, or confuses it with kind of use.

  35. But then the knoll was gone

    These banks were making the same mistake as a family I know who bought an acre in the country on which to build a house. For many years, while they lacked the money to build, they visited the site regularly and picnicked on a knoll, the site’s most attractive feature. They liked so much to visualize themselves as always there, that when they finally built they put the house on the knoll. But then the knoll was gone. Somehow they had not realized they would destroy it and lose it by supplanting it with themselves.

    1. ​104. Site Repair​
  36. So many tactics, so well entrenched

    I am going to deal with several subjects that, in themselves, are already well recognized as within the province of city planning: subsidized dwellings, traffic, city visual design, analytical methods. These are all matters for which conventional modern planning does have objectives and therefore does possess tactics—so many tactics, so well entrenched, that when their purposes are questioned they are generally justified in terms of the conditions laid down by still other tactics (e.g., We must do this for the purpose of getting the federal loan guarantees). We become the prisoners of our tactics, seldom looking behind them at the strategies.

    1. ​Lost purposes​
  37. A warning against the limitations of my own prescriptions

    It is always necessary to check tactics against the specific needs that become evident in specific places. We should always be asking, “Does this device do the job needed here? And if not, what would?” Deliberate, periodic changes in tactics of subsidy would afford opportunity to meet new needs that become apparent over time, but that nobody can foresee in advance. This observation is, obliquely, a warning against the limitations of my own prescriptions in this book. I think they make sense for things as they are, which is the only place ever possible to begin. But that does not mean that they would make the best sense, or even good sense, after our cities had undergone substantial improvement and great increase in vitality.

  38. Choked by their own redundancy

    We went awry by replacing, in effect, each horse on the crowded city streets with half a dozen or so mechanized vehicles, instead of using each mechanized vehicle to replace half a dozen or so horses. The mechanical vehicles, in their overabundance, work slothfully and idle much. As one consequence of such low efficiency, the powerful and speedy vehicles, choked by their own redundancy, don’t move much faster than horses.

  39. The order of life

    Like the housers who face a blank if they try to think what to do besides income-sorting projects, or the highwaymen who face a blank if they try to think what to do besides accommodate more cars, just so, architects who venture into city design often face a blank in trying to create visual order in cities except by substituting the order of art for the very different order of life.

    1. ​A city cannot be a work of art​
  40. Complex systems of functional order

    To see complex systems of functional order as order, and not as chaos, takes understanding. The leaves dropping from the trees in the autumn, the interior of an airplane engine, the entrails of a dissected rabbit, the city desk of a newspaper, all appear to be chaos if they are seen without comprehension. Once they are understood as systems of order, they actually look different.

    1. ​Order Out of Chaos​
  41. Think better of it

    This is, of course, the best way to salvage any kind of sorted-out project, up to the time it is actually built: Think better of it.

  42. Places, services, techniques

    It is not enough for administrators in most fields to understand specific services and techniques. They must understand, and understand thoroughly, specific places.

  43. Nature, sentimentalized

    Nature, sentimentalized and considered as the antithesis of cities, is apparently assumed to consist of grass, fresh air and little else, and this ludicrous disrespect results in the devastation of nature even formally and publicly preserved in the form of a pet.

  44. The kind of problem a city is

    Dr. Weaver lists three stages of development in the history of scientific thought: (1) ability to deal with problems of simplicity; (2) ability to deal with problems of disorganized complexity; and (3) ability to deal with problems of organized complexity.

    The history of modern thought about cities is unfortunately very different from the history of modern thought about the life sciences. The theorists of conventional modern city planning have consistently mistaken cities as problems of simplicity and of disorganized complexity, and have tried to analyze and treat them thus.

    1. ​Order Out of Chaos​
    2. ​Order Without Design​