Jane Jacobs: A Wake-Up Call For American Cities

In her latest book, influential urbanist Jane Jacobs' offers a solution for suburban sprawl and a warning for North American cities.
May 13, 2004, 8am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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"Cities, the true economic engines of North American culture, are being starved of the money they need by national, provincial and state governments and having more and more services downloaded on them....

According to Ms. Jacobs, dark ages occur when cultures are confronted with such radical jolts that their fundamental institutions cannot adapt adequately. She considers the jolt that is whacking our time the most significant since the agrarian revolution sent the hunter-gatherer culture into oblivion 10,000 years ago...

Perhaps that explains her Dalai Lama-esque remedy for suburban sprawl: treat it as a first phase. Stop yelling about what already exists and, with a boost from demographics (all the suddenly old baby boomers, either with empty houses or looking for downsized shelter), adjust fiscal and other policies to encourage a second phase where suburbanites infill their backyards with new residential accommodation, invite shops and other commerce into the midst of their desiccated tracts and convert limited-access arterial roads into lively boulevards."

Thanks to Abhijeet Chavan

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Published on Monday, October 24, 2005 in The Globe and Mail
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