chapter  2
19 Pages

Of love affairs and other stories

ByPeter Norton

Jane Jacobs never wrote of “Complete Streets,” but in other terms she championed them as the “life” of cities. “How can you know what to try with traffic,” she asked, “until you know how the city itself works, and what else it needs to do with its streets?” (Jacobs 1961, p. 7). Less well known today, however, is an indirect reply to her appeal that many millions more Americans heard. Just two weeks after Random House released The Death and Life of Great American Cities, NBC Television presented an hour-long defense of all things automotive.1 Though their visions could not have been more different, both works exemplified the use of stories-characters, settings, and plots-to influence discussions of streets.