Why cities should be open—and unpredictable

There’s a remarkable photo of Jane Jacobs in Richard Sennett’s new book, Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City, that’s captioned, in part: “In the White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village, she chats happily with the author, unperturbed by the drunk who has passed out between us.” The late, legendary urbanist and the eminent cultural critic were likely debating urban planning—as they were wont to do—over the recumbent form at the bar. Although they often disagreed, both were...

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