Thursday, July 20, 2006

Revisiting Jane Jacobs One More Time

Metropolis columnist Karrie Jacobs has a really well crafted piece about all the wrong-headed assumptions that are made about Jane Jacobs, making some of the very same points that I did in a recent Polis post. Karrie (no relation to Jane) admits that she never actually read The Death and Life of Great American Cities until recently, and when she did after Jane's death in April, she realized that much of what is attributed to Jane is just wrong. She was not opposed to modern architecture or to all things "big," nor was she a precursor to the New Urbanist movement. She criticized the Garden City movement, the real precursor to New Urbanism, dismissing it as "harmony and order imposed and frozen by authoritarian planning." Ouch. Jane was a master at evisceration, using her pen like an X-acto knife.

Karrie also applies what she thinks would be a more nuanced Jacobsian criticism to Atlantic Yards. Well worth a full read.

Jane Jacobs Revisited [Metropolis]
Jane Jacobs In Memorium [Polis]