Sunday, August 23, 2015
From Planetizen — The Power of
Jane Jacobs' "Web Way of Thinking"
On the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Michael Mehaffy refuted the contrarians and clarified Jacobs' lasting "Top 10" observations found in the incredibly influential book.
MICHAEL MEHAFFY Planetizen Dec. 15, 2011 Just now we are nearing the end of the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs' hugely influential book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The year has seen a remarkable series of re-assessments and, in some cases, revisionisms. Planner Thomas Campanella has criticized Jacobs' "evisceration" of planning,which created a vacuum into which privatizing interests rushed; economist Ed Glaeser has argued that Jacobs fed gentrification with her call for preservation of some old buildings instead of all new towers; and sociologist Sharon Zukin attacked Jacobs' alleged fantasy of the "social-less" urban block. Most recently, my friend Anthony Flint suggested that Jacobs was a libertarian with a mixed legacy of NIMBYism.
What I find remarkable about these accounts – speaking as an instructor who regularly uses her texts - is that in almost all cases these were things that Jacobs herself simply never said. Read more: The Power of Jane Jacobs' "Web Way of Thinking" | Planetizen: The Urban Planning, Design, and Development Network