Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog Post No. 2011-9: More on Jane Jacobs - metropolophilia, people!

In the spirit of two fine traditions here at RTUF -- Jane Jacobs and media commentary -- I offer up the recent cross-posting of Santa Monica Lookout News columnist Frank Gruber over at the Huffington Post -- Proxy Wars: More on Reconsidering Jane Jacobs. Having not yet read the American Planning Association-published retrospective on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Death and Life of Great American Cities containing the three essays Gruber is criticizing, I will not pass judgment on them myself. I will, however, simply note that I really like Gruber's shorthand for the essential importance of Jacobs and her unique place in urban history in this country. It comes in the context of examining one essayist's attempt to lay the alleged sins of New Urbanism at the feet of Jacobs and vice-versa, but Gruber uses that context to make a much wider point:

What the New Urbanists take from Jane Jacobs is what nearly every other planner or urbanist working today takes from Jacobs regardless in what context they work: a set of pro-urban values. Love of the city.What was revolutionary about Jacobs in 1961, 15 years into a half-century of sprawl, was not that she stood up to Robert Moses, urban renewal and Modernism, but that she proclaimed her love for city life.
Everyone else was saying, "Get Out!" and she was saying "Stay!"

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