Monday, June 05, 2017

Jane Jacobs predicted what's happening to SF


From yesterday's SF Chronicle (‘How to Kill a City,’ by Peter Moskowitz):

Midway through “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” one of the most influential books on urban ecology, Jane Jacobs sounded an alarm. Writing from the West Village, the book was in part a love letter to her neighborhood, which worked, she argued, because it was quirky and diverse, a swirl of tight-knit humanity that looked out for each other.

But that could all change. “First, we must understand that self-destruction of diversity is caused by success, not failure,” she wrote. People would gravitate to a neighborhood like the West Village, causing rents to rise. Soon the area would be filled with the “winners of the competition” who “form a narrow segment of population of users.” The quirk disappears. “Both visually and functionally,” she predicted, “the place becomes more monotonous.”

The book was published in 1961, amid white flight and disinvestment from urban cores; some readers might have wondered what Jacobs was so worried about. Now, of course, we know. Today, the West Village is 90 percent white, with a typical one-bedroom apartment fetching $4,000 a month. It is safe and sparkling and dreadful. The small townhouse where Jacobs wrote her defining work is now a real estate office...

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2 Comments:

At 5:35 PM, Anonymous sfthen said...

The NYTimes just did story on the death and life of Bleeker Street noting all the empty storefronts in what was once a vibrant neighborhood. Bleeker Street got bike lanes a decade ago so one would expect business to be booming. Just like Valencia Street. What happened? They couldn't be wrong could they?

The New Urbanist on Bicycles crowd loves to cite Jane Jacobs but overlook the fact that she never mentioned bicycles in her book! Doesn't even seem like they actually read her book as she rails against their kind, the folk who think their top-down planning can solve all the problems.

 
At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, i am sick of drug dealers in my west soma neighborhood, and the users that follow. I am sick of the street people shooting up then crashing out here, that sick and piss here. I am sick of the guys on the little bikes breaking into cars, now during day time. I was born here and don't plan to move, i will not be affected by what i consider to be the positive impacts as our area rebuilds itself.

 

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