Saturday, November 15, 2008

Catching up with Jane Jacobs and AY

In case you didn't check back on my coverage last Saturday of an affordable housing panel that served as the First Annual Jane Jacobs Forum, take a look at the lengthy comments from Benjamin Hemric, a Jacobsian who's read a lot more than The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Then take a look at Michael D.D. White's Noticing New York, where he's expanding on his 1/26/08 Brooklyn Paper op-ed, How Jacobs would view Yards, with methodical posts detailing the 47 criteria used in his report card.

One sample:
There is also the question of whether Jane Jacobs' ideas should be treated as any form of "gospel," something she herself would have questioned, though she would have readily endorsed the use of her ideas by those endeavoring to see for themselves and use common sense to reach their own conclusions. Based on things Jane Jacobs said about herself in life, I was tempted to add a standard (in line with her constant empirical questioning) that people, including Ms. Jacobs, should regard themselves as fallible and capable of mistakes. People need to know they are not God. Were this added as criteria #48 the project would not score well on it. Jane Jacobs knew that big plans tend to lead to big mistakes. It is far from clear that the megadeveloper of the Atlantic Yards project adequately comprehends his mistakes or ability to make them. In the face of this, Jane Jacobs, although believing in her own fallibility, was famous for being right when too many others had gotten it wrong.

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