The Walkable City: From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond

Mary Soderstrom

The idea that a city might not be walkable would never occur to anyone who lived before 1800. Over the past 200 years there have been dramatic changes to our cities. With the very best intentions, Baron George Eugène Haussmann ruthlessly transformed Paris in the mid-19th century. Its broad boulevards and grand vistas are the direct result of Haussmann's thinking about how to adapt cities to a new age. In North America cities were "redeveloped" to accommodate the automobile and automobile-dependent suburbs. The city was no longer walkable, and in the 1960s activist-writer Jane Jacobs began to critique many of the ideas about how cities should be organized.

Taking us on walks through cities like Paris, New York, Toronto, North Vancouver and Singapore, Mary Soderstrom examines how cites have changed the lives of ordinary citizens-in positive and negative ways. Making the city walkable again is crucial. The author looks to the future and suggests ways in which we can reorganize our lives and our cities.

Véhicule Press
Architecture 2008

Reviews


"Settings are established with an understated deftness. ... While Corriveau sometimes seems to be drawn to more exotic characters, his confident voice, paired with a restrained and minimal prose style, carries these flourishes convincingly. .. These stories are convincingly rendered, with a quiet and controlled use of language that persuasively evokes place and character. Punctuating these realistic portraits are moments of fantasy and escapism [which] provide a lush contrast to the estrangement and unspoken tensions between characters. Corriveau has penned a rich and varied contribution to the short story form." -Montreal Review of Books "He is a writer of talent and stylistic flair." -Montreal Gazette

Mary Soderstrom's Green City: People, Nature & Urban Places was selected as one of the Globe & Mail's 100 Best Books of 2007. She is the author of Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens [Véhicule, 2001]. In fall 2008, Cormorant will be publishing her novel, The Violets of Usambara. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Plant and Garden, and the Globe & Mail. She lives in Montreal and is Quill & Quire's Quebec correspondent.

Other books by Mary Soderstrom:
Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens
Making Waves: The Continuing Portuguese Adventure
Green City: People, Nature and Urban Life
Soderstrom
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