Monday, May 29, 2006

a follow up ...

... about cities and Jane Jacobs, an article by Elizabeth Farrelly.

In excerpt:
"In fact, our long suburban tradition sprang from England; from Ebenezer Howard's 1902 polemic, Garden Cities of Tomorrow. But the fact that we were relatively late adopters does nothing to take the emotion from the debate: our suburban apologists, from Hugh Stretton through Canberra's Pat Troy (to whom Heartlands is dedicated) to Gleeson and Salt, defend suburbia as one of their own.

"The essential argument is this. Suburbia is something we've always had (wrong). In fact, we bloody near invented it (definitely wrong). We like it, a lot (sure), so we are entitled to go on having it (nuh-uh). This elision, from want to need to birthright, parallels Michael Costa's argument on roads, or the child's on Macca's; we want them, dammit, so we've a right to them.

"But give the last word to the good wizard, Jacobs. She noted that Howard's garden suburb "set spinning powerful and
city-destroying ideas". Howard's ideas, propagated by polemicists such as Lewis Mumford and Le Corbusier, consistently, almost willfully ignored the facts that "the cities of human beings … are as natural as the colonies of prairie dogs or the beds of oysters … [and that] lively, diverse intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration, with energy enough … for
problems and needs outside themselves." Hear, hear." "

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