Roads, Jacobs argues, "civilise us" and reflect our societal priorities. But as a rash of recent cyclist deaths in London - several after collisions with trucks - illustrate, how we determine ownership of our streets may need adjustment to reflect our changing transportation priorities. "How can the variety of road users - pedestrians, bikes, cars, trucks - co-exist in a safe and civilised way?" he asks.
"The cyclist/lorry conflict is the most extreme of examples. In extremis, it exemplifies a crisis in the nature of our city's streets. Currently we imagine roads as a universal resource, a system that makes little differentiation between its users, or the nature of their use. Those interests, I'd argue, are not all public."