The left has suddenly rediscovered Jane Jacobs as their hero of “diversity” and re-writers her works to fit their narrative in helping rebuild the Democrat Party after its epic fail and loss to President Donald Trump. So who is Jane Jacobs? What works did she produce? What philosophy did she put forth? What insight can we garner from her wisdom, if any?
In Jane Jacobs’ work: “Dark Age Ahead,” 2004, a couple of years before she died, she talks about how in the United States and countries with rural areas, that 70-80% of the people are poor, contrasted with vibrant cities where there are fewer poor people, when those cities are designed correctly.
Unfortunately, and realize I don’t mean to pick on an old lady, just because she’s old, or just because she’s a socialist, but in these statements and conclusions in her work she’s mixing and conflating outcomes with perceived causality. You see, cities suck from rural areas, suck away the money, water, energy, wealth, and tax monies. Cities are endless in their needs; urban transportation, low-income housing, and they manipulate markets to keep it going. Just like our universities living in a false la la land economy.
I’d argue every point with Jane here if she were still alive today, and I’ve been to every city in the US, and despise Agenda 21 and the socialists who want to pack people into cities, thinking it is more efficient. Without the rural areas the city would collapse as they require goods from all over to make it work. Sorry, but her claims are just nonsense, and if we are really looking for a philosopher on how to go about human civilization, we’d be much smarter to take into account the philosophy of Ayn Rand, not Jane Jacobs. Further, if we look at the urban planning in Portland OR, where she had a hand, it’s not all that viable now in hindsight. Although to her credit she did predict its fall.
What good is building great master planned cities if you can’t afford to pay for them, how about China that invested in huge cities where no one lives, with all the amenities, now falling apart, in debt and weeds growing through the sidewalks unmaintained. Beware of urban planners, technocrats, and remember the Urban Plight and Urban Flight of the past, these ideas are not so novel as proclaimed, nor are they the answer. After reading her final work, it seems she inherently understood these challenges, but kept to her original concepts of walkable cities, with open space, parks, and open areas with short blocks to create vibrancy. That’s not enough.
She acknowledges the complexity in urban planning but constantly goes back to committee based planning involving everyone, yet, all we get when that’s done is human politics, increased costs and thus, unaffordable developments causing needs for price controls, more spending, and more people inadvertently packed in like rats, and we all know what happens when we put a lot of rats together.
I find it interesting for the leftist political base today to use her works to promote their growing agenda to put people into little living spaces like college dorms in big cities – and claim it’s best for all and will somehow garner increased quality of life? Not so, indeed, the socialists and leftist political elites are totally jaded argument and misread of Jane Jacobs misread of history – typical leftist pretenda-intellectual elite talking out their rear ends.
This work is now being used as hate-speech against Donald Trump, that’s the only reason her books are now popular again. It’s a misread of her work, further she had a misread of history as well. Besides Donald Trump knows a thing or two about building cities, cleaning up slum areas (check out Atlantic City near the casino he built), or the issues with low-income housing, he ought to know, he built a number of those large buildings under government contract.
Those who rose up and elected Trump realize this and the anti-Trump protesters are paid propaganda for a political purpose organized and funded by leftist groups who have more hate within that anything we’ve ever seen. To hell with those who use Jacobs’ work as a launching point for their socialist, PC views against the fabric of America. We celebrate diversity here, but ramming PC down people’s throats is not noble.
Jane Jacobs is not the pillar of intellect she’s made out to be as Leftists in the US attempt to re-write what she said from her own re-writing of history and mold it to their world views. Ayn Rand was more correct than Jacobs. And cities suck the wealth and taxes from the entire surrounding areas to exist, water, power, food, everything. The UN’s Agenda 21 is bull, and is causing a complete and unnecessary false promise. This is another leftist bunch of BS, of course the left also enjoys channeling Karl Marx.
Perhaps, we should allow the left to put forth these arguments and then show them how their solutions have caused our problems, and are not the solutions, AKA: “the road to hell is always paved with the greatest intentions,” why even Hugo Chavez believed he was doing what was best for Venezuela, we know how that turned out. Maybe, the left needs to more carefully re-read Jane Jacobs’ works before using this dead woman’s name to promote their failing agendas. Think on this.
Recommended Further Study:
(1) YouTube Video: “Robert Kanigel, “Eyes on the Street”: Jane Jacobs banned from Harvard,” on CSPAN BookTV Channel. Posted on February 1, 2017.
(2) Urban Gateway Website – Article; “Dark Age Ahead: Understanding Jane Jacobs in the Trump Era”
(3) World News (dot) com Website – Article; “Did Jane Jacobs Predict the Rise of Trump? Ever prescient, her final book outlined a coming dark age-and how to get through it,” by Richard Florida.
(4) YouTube Video: ”
(5) Book: “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs, 1961.