Jane Jacobs dead at 89

She was a great lady. Go read some of her books if you haven’t already, especially _The Death and Life of Great American Cities_. The New York Times has one of the more definitive obituaries. Farewell, Ms. Jacobs. You and Beijing’s Hutong. As you wrote: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”

2 thoughts on “Jane Jacobs dead at 89”

  • Martina

    I had to think of Jane Jacobs while taking a breather from a work dinner in Houston, standing on a nearly deserted parking lot in front of a chain restaurant, being surrounded by acres of empty parking lots and strip malls…What the hell are we doing? For a second I felt that I might as well have been on the moon — alone in a wasteland. People stepped out of the restaurant and I smiled, happy for the company. They stared at me emptily, climbed in their cars and sped away. I slunk back into the happy-happy-themed restaurant.

  • Christian Edstrom
    Christian Edstrom April 27, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    One thing in the NY Times obituary that made me a bit sad was the mention of jacobean features such as ground-floor retail recently being used as a selling point in suburban developments.

    It made me think of Orenco Station in Hillsboro, with its sterile, inert, mall-like appearance. And it struck me — why is Orenco Station such a poor facsimile of the West Village? Because it’s surrounded by a gigantic parking lot on one side and a major artery on the other, and basically unable to be walked to.

    Jane knew that the primacy of automobiles ruined neighborhoods and suburban planners need to realize that too.

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