The Death and Life of New Urbanism

I adored this post, from the Urbanophile, discussing the New Urbanist appropriation of Jane Jacobs – and the flawed logic behind that ideology.  Jacobs was an advocate of a bottom-up and chaotic urban experience, with density and diversity (of both population and form) as the only two necessary ingredients for great cities.  She celebrated cities for their uniqueness, the multiplicity of urban futures that different places could present.  The New Urbanists, conversely, seem to take divergent potentiality not as a great premise, but as a nuisance.  Perhaps the central issue that Jacobs, who wrote as an untrained private citizen, can never truly be co-opted by planners, because centralized control and planning is largely what she was advocating against. The New Urbanists seek to create perfect towns; what Jacobs described was something much more beautiful, which is real cities.

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