John Brinckerhoff Jackson (4)

I need to complete my sequence of posts on John Brinckerhoff Jackson, because I have discovered that he is crucial to the invention of what he called ‘odology’, that is, the study of the American road.   ‘Odology is the science or study of roads or journeys and, by extension, the study of streets and superhighways and trails and paths, how they are used, where they lead, and how they come into existence.   Odology is part geography, planning, and part engineering – engineering as in construction, and unhappily as in social engineering as well.   That is why the discipline has a brilliant future’.   For cross-continental travel, he recommends George Stewart’s US 40:  Cross Section of the United States of America which he described as the ‘best and most original guide book yet produced’.   And it hasn’t escaped my attention that he influenced, if not inspired, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas, although naughtily he did not credit Denise in his review (he had his faults).

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