Annapolis Mayor’s Book Club
In November 2005, an unusual evening forum began meeting in Annapolis. Its goal was to find ways to make cities more vibrant. The Mayor’s Book Club, as it was called, used as its main text Jane Jacobs’ 1961 classic on city planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The discussions, led by Touchstones moderator Dan Sullivan, had a profound influence on participants many of whose ideas about cities were completely turned around. The club is different from other book clubs in that it is not all academic – the club plans to apply its lessons and give practical advice to City Hall on zoning, parks, sidewalks and building use. In the book – a fierce critique of urban renewal, public housing project designs and highway-building fashions in the 1950’s and 1960’s – Jacobs says, “There is a widespread belief that Americans hate cities.” The Mayor’s Book Club of Annapolis is proof that many Americans want to be involved in creating vibrant and thriving communities within their home cities, which they love deeply.