Vital Little Plans

Jane Jacobs
Random House Canada

“This indispensible anthology is a delight. Simply superb.” - Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner, City of Toronto

“An essential read for those wanting to understand the contradiction and chaos of a woman whose legacy is that we must all think for ourselves.” - Denise Pinto, Executive Director, Jane’s Walk

Vital Little Plans is divided into 5 parts and follows Jane Jacobs chronologically as a writer and a thinker. It includes a poem she wrote, excerpts from her books, articles, conversations, interviews AND an excerpt from her unpublished manuscript.

I asked the editor about the cover treatment for this new book and she said it’s a representation of a city grid and also hints at systems thinking. Jane Jacobs would examine a city block and ask “What makes this city block work? What makes a city work?” Jane looked at successes when others looked at failures.

The editor told me that this collection of short works is ideal for new readers of Jane Jacobs — like me! It’s interesting that we all think we know who and what Jane stood for and use phrases like “What would Jane Jacobs do?” but in reality no one knew because she frequently did the unexpected.

I found this article in NEXT CITY by Nathan Storring, one of the editors of Vital Little Plans. Storring is also a communications associate with Project for Public Spaces and a curator with a focus on interpreting architecture, city planning and other urban topics for the general public. He suggests that we get out on the street, talk to each other, and hash out new ways to live together in these dense, wondrous, unwieldy and unfair places we call cities.

Vital Little Plans is an essential companion to Death & Life and Jacob’s other books on urbanism, economics, politics and ethics. At a time when urban life is booming and people all over the world are moving to cities, the words of Jane Jacobs have never been more significant.

Jane Jacobs (1916 - 2006)

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