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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jane Jacobs died today

I read her most famous book, 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' (1961), decades ago. It discussed the factors that make cities either vibrant and friendly or lifeless and scary. Unfortunately, what AP says in her obit isn't really true:
Jane Jacobs, an author and community activist of singular influence whose classic "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" transformed ideas about urban planning, died Tuesday, her publisher said.
We would live in a much better country if they had actually transformed urban planning ideas. Instead, we forged ahead with mindless sprawl driven by cheap gasoline and the teamwork of developers and politicians putting their own wealth and re-elections ahead of any sensible use of the land. We are paying for it big time now, and will continue to do so.