Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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City Journal on Jane Jacobs’ Legacy

with 2 comments

Treating Jane Jacobs as a folk hero … risks misinterpreting her work as uniformly favoring the preservation of charming older neighborhoods populated by David Brooks’s “bourgeois bohemians.” But it also risks overstating the extent to which her vision has prevailed. It’s difficult to imagine her having a kind word to say, for instance, about the proposed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, where eminent-domain power is to be used for massive clearance and the construction of subsidized high-rises and a sports arena. It’s classic old-style urban renewal, dressed up with plans to use a big-name architect. Sports stadia—the only significant public works to be built in New York recently—are particularly out of keeping with Jacobs’s view that major public facilities should attract people throughout the day and night, not just intermittently.

Also not fully appreciated is Jacobs’s celebration of neighborhoods like Boston’s North End, which, when she wrote about it, was a collection of brick walk-ups from which residents of modest means could watch the streets. In other words, poor neighborhoods could be good neighborhoods. Today, elaborately subsidized apartments for the poor continue to be supported at all levels of government, in the process creating utterly nonorganic communities, in which income groups are mixed for ideological reasons.—Howard Husock, City Journal

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Written by Elizabeth

August 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Posted in City-Dwelling

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. I worship Jane Jacobs work, and I don’t see how anyone reading Jacobs could possibly interpret her being for static preservation or giant stadium developments. I guess I’ll have to read the article.

    erinelizabeth

    August 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

  2. I can’t see the sports stadium thing, but I can see it being interpreted as for static preservationism, I think …

    Elizabeth

    August 11, 2009 at 9:13 am


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City Journal on Jane Jacobs’ Legacy

with 2 comments

Treating Jane Jacobs as a folk hero … risks misinterpreting her work as uniformly favoring the preservation of charming older neighborhoods populated by David Brooks’s “bourgeois bohemians.” But it also risks overstating the extent to which her vision has prevailed. It’s difficult to imagine her having a kind word to say, for instance, about the proposed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, where eminent-domain power is to be used for massive clearance and the construction of subsidized high-rises and a sports arena. It’s classic old-style urban renewal, dressed up with plans to use a big-name architect. Sports stadia—the only significant public works to be built in New York recently—are particularly out of keeping with Jacobs’s view that major public facilities should attract people throughout the day and night, not just intermittently.

Also not fully appreciated is Jacobs’s celebration of neighborhoods like Boston’s North End, which, when she wrote about it, was a collection of brick walk-ups from which residents of modest means could watch the streets. In other words, poor neighborhoods could be good neighborhoods. Today, elaborately subsidized apartments for the poor continue to be supported at all levels of government, in the process creating utterly nonorganic communities, in which income groups are mixed for ideological reasons.—Howard Husock, City Journal

Written by Elizabeth

August 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Posted in City-Dwelling

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I worship Jane Jacobs work, and I don’t see how anyone reading Jacobs could possibly interpret her being for static preservation or giant stadium developments. I guess I’ll have to read the article.

    erinelizabeth

    August 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

  2. I can’t see the sports stadium thing, but I can see it being interpreted as for static preservationism, I think …

    Elizabeth

    August 11, 2009 at 9:13 am


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