Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jane Jacobs 1916-2006

One of my heroes is dead. The great Jane Jacobs, writer and activist and theorist of urban planning died on 25 April. She was 89. Her seminal work was The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Many years ago I wrote an article called "Imaginary Cities: Writing about the city". I quoted Jacobs, thus, while discussing the sentimentalising of nature against the urban:

"It is neither love for nature nor respect for nature that leads to this schizophrenic attitude. Instead, it is a sentimental desire to toy, rather patronisingly, with some insipid, standardised, suburbanised shadow of nature — apparently in sheer disbelief that we and our cities, just by virtue of being, are a legitimate part of nature too, and involved with it in much deeper and more inescapable ways than grass trimming, sunbathing, and contemplative uplift."
(The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jonathon Cape, 1961, p. 445.)

2 comments:

Andrew said...

sorry to hear that. A

Robert said...

i dont know if you are from Toronto or not

but John Downing from the Sun did such a hatchet job on Jacobs, i was tempted to go to his office and choke him

i work just down the street so dont rule it out yet :)