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Thanks, I hadn't heard of Jane Jacobs.

Her books are not stocked by online booksellers in the UK, but they sell for a couple of quid second-hand on Amazon.co.uk...

The Guardian: Obituary: Jane Jacobs (April 28 2006)

Influential fantasies about the perfect urban settlement had aggregated in the US over the previous 75 years into the dominant planning concept that she mocked as the "Radiant Garden City Beautiful", RGCB. "Cataclysmic money" was spent razing extant if tatty inner city zones, with their diverse uses, their self-generated social and economic energy vibrating on crowded sidewalks. They were to be replaced with RGCB public projects, segregated by income (therefore by colour: Jacobs was a fierce civil rights activist), with dwelling towers soaring above ornamental planting; by isolated civic and cultural precincts; by shopping malls dominated by retail cartels; by car parks linked by expressways. Together, these would aggregate into the city as a work of art, the vision of heroic egotists in generational revolt against the 19th century.

Everything would be provided: Jacobs thought everything "was the worst thing we can provide" and cited a preacher's prophecy that there would be gnashing of teeth in hell. A child asked: "What if you don't have teeth?" "Teeth will be provided." "That's it," Jacobs said, "the spirit of the designed city: Teeth Will Be Provided for You."

...

Jacobs met her arch-enemy, New York City master-planner and builder Robert Moses, who overrode residents to obliterate entire districts for automobile access to Manhattan. She recalled him, in a fury at her attempt to thwart his grand designs, yelling, "There is nobody against this - NOBODY, NOBODY, NOBODY, but a bunch of ... a bunch of MOTHERS!" and stomping out. She protested against his expressway ambitions through the 1960s, and was arrested on charges of riot and criminal mischief. The Janeites won that battle, too; Roger Starr, NYC housing administrator, acknowledged that despite Jacobs's homespun manner, "What a dear, sweet character she isn't."



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 3rd, 2008 at 05:50:25 AM EST
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