Why did I love this book?
Jacobs provides a broad, theoretical account of the characteristics of successful cities based on detailed observational analysis grounded in statistics. A journalist, Jacobs goes deep into the weeds on the functions of sidewalks, parks, and neighborhoods demonstrating the limits of categorizing and then counting. Her analysis highlights the necessity of mingled diversity - spaces used in multiple ways by diverse people at different times - in creating vibrant cities. In a seminal paper titled More is Different, the physicist Phillip Anderson described how emergent phenomena cannot be exhibited in a system’s constituent parts: wetness does not exist in water molecules; culture cannot reside in a single person, and as Jacobs so brilliantly explains, the life of city also does not exist in the parts, that is, in the parks, schools, businesses, and neighborhood. Instead, it emerges through the messy, beautiful interactions among the people who occupy those spaces.