I just went back to re-read this book, ten years on, to get a re-assessment of its worth and validity in the light of recent events. Sad to say, apart from having correctly predicted the US housing crash, it doesn't hold up very well. Jacobs betrays her own prejudices and socio-economic bias, presenting her opinions as facts, the very sin she decries in those who oppose her. I suppose she meant well but in several places she comes across as ill-informed and willfully blind to facts that would weaken her argument.
Case in point is her ludicrous assertion that closing a roadway makes traffic "disappear"! When I drove to work every day in Toronto for 17 years and found my regular route closed or congested, I did what everyone else did: I took another route. By her admission, she never drove or owned a car. How could she possibly know what she was talking about? At the other end of the urban-rural spectrum, she states on pg. 162 that former "bread baskets" have become redundant, indicating that we have a surplus of arable farmland -- that despite a world population that has more than doubled in just the past few years. She seemed to be unaware that vast areas of farmland in areas such as the Great Plains, North Africa and Australia are becoming much less productive due to widespread and chronic drought. Gaffes such as that, along with many others destroy her credibility, which is unfortunate because we need people with the courage (and the academic rigor to support it) to challenge today's leaders and help us find real solutions to real issues. This book doesn't cut it.