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The Urban Thought of Jane Jacobs - Essay Example

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Jane Jacobs is regarded as one of the foremost stalwarts of urban formulation and a great exponent of infrastructure of cities and the method the cities work or should work. Jane Jacobs' first book was published in the 1960 named The Death and Life of Great American Cities and immediately was recognized as an assaulting figure who shattered all fundamental concepts of urban planning.
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The Urban Thought of Jane Jacobs

Download file to see previous pages... These books presented an in dept look into the perspective urban economics, growth of open ended methods and the basic essentiality of dynamism in the thought process. In 1992 she published another book named Systems of Survival that looked into the aspects of political philosophy and the interpretation of political philosophies but here also the theme remained attached to the functionality of urbanization and development related to urbanization and its ultimate consequences.
The method of Jane Jacobs is quite different from her contemporaries who indulge into the aspects of thought process related to the facet of urban planning. Her basic mode of operation is a combination of different subjects like sociology, journalism and literature here the ultimate result is a well written book the looks at the parameters of a city from the perspective of the street-corners or sidewalks. He is not a person whose perspective or notion about a city develops from the cushion and air conditioned chambered point of view but she is more of a down to earth person when it comes to determining the nature of a city with its vibe and day to day affairs.
Jane Jacobs believes that the basic health of a city depends on several variables. According to belief a healthy city must be serendipitous, spontaneous, messy and organic in nature. But at the same time she indicates that the cities to be really healthy they must formulate a planning where there would be use of mixed lands and not just a compilation of concrete structures that have just office parks and business plazas. She believes that the city must have human diversity, a good economic infrastructure and should have an agricultural mode. There should not be only office structure that replace densely populated neighborhoods for city beautification or slum clearance but should be targeted towards redevelopment plan that focus on diversity and well being. In her words "it (cities) should be like itself. Every city has differences, from its history, from its site, and so on. These are important. One of the most dismal things is when you go to a city and it's like 12 others you've seen. That's not interesting, and it's not really truthful." (Steigerwald, 1)
It should be remembered in this context that Jane Jacobs never had the luxury of professional training in city planning. In fact the only qualification she had was her diploma from high school. This is an extraordinary feat considering the fact that her radical ideas as published in The Death and Life of Great American Cities reveals the freshness of a mind that indulges deeply into the solution statements of deep rooted problems associated with city planning and improvement. Thus her ideas of the variables to make a city more livable became very popular among many segments of thinkers of the subject and few even started to consider her writing as fundamental as the Bible. However, it should be remembered that the popularity of Jacobs also depended on the activities that she was involved outside the parameters of writing books and her active participation with civic activism and New York protection wings made her yet more popular. It should also be noted that though she was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania she later moved to Toronto and lived there till her last breath.
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