Jane Jacobs wins book award
As a counter example, of course :P
As counter example, again.
As counter example, again!
"Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles is an example of one grand exercise after another in superficially contrived distinction, for several miles of innately monotonous office buildings" - Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
St. James Town was originally designed to house young "swinging single" middle class residents but the apartments lacked appeal and the area quickly became much poorer.
JJ: ... And I began to notice how everything was being covered up and I thought that was kinda sick.
JHK: So the whole streamlining of the 30s bugged you?
JJ: That’s right. So I remember very well what was in my mind "that we become so feckless as a people that we no longer care how things work." It was those skirts on the locomotives that I was thinking about and how this had extended to "we didn’t care how our cities worked anymore." We didn’t care to show where the entrances were in buildings and things like that. That’s all I meant. It was not some enormous comment on abstract American society. And I thought this is a real decadence of some sort.
JJ: ... there are two ways you encounter things in the world that are different. One is everything that comes in reinforces what you already believe and everything that you know. The other thing is that you stay flexible enough or curious enough and maybe unsure of yourself enough, or may be you are more sure of yourself—I don’t know which it is—that the new things that come in keep reforming your world view. ... And a lot of these people—what I am getting at—they learn something and they are so sure of it and it’s a terrible threat to them—an emotional threat. I don’t think it’s so much of an intellectual threat even. But an emotional threat that their whole worldview will have to go through that upsetting thing of being confused.
What impressed me is the way the children would latch on to an idea (we could call it belief, but that has its own baggage) based on the information they were given in class. Even though they could reason fairly well, they would stall when they realized that their reasoning was in conflict with the idea that they had interpolated from the lesson. Many believed that the bulb holder was an integral part of getting the bulb to light up, for example. Once they reached that kind of impasse they didn't have a strong instinct to get down to experimenting to see what would actually work.
JJ: Well, I don’t’ know whether we will because of the oil markets or what. But I know things won’t go on as they are now. People who try to predict the future by extrapolating in a line of more of what exists—they are always wrong. I am not saying how it is going to go. But it is not going to go the same. This is a continuation of what I was actually saying about the revolt against Victorianism. Here comes a generation or two that just can’t stand what the previous generations did. And for whatever reasons it is they want to expunge it. And they are absolutely ruthless with the remnants of it. But I don’t think of it as an economic or political trainwreck. I think of it as one of these great generational upheavals that’s coming. And I think that part of the growing popularity of the New Urbanism is not simply because it is so rational, and not simply because people care so much about community or even understand it, or the relation of sprawl to the ruination of the natural world. But they just don’t like what is around. And they will be ruthless with it.
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