This paper builds on two of the author's earlier pieces, and argues that Jane Jacob's most celebrated book was at its roots a form of NIMBYism and was thus regressive—the antithesis of any model of justice. The first half of the paper situates Jacobs in the now-familiar struggle with Robert Moses but also the bigger picture of redevelopment in mid-century Manhattan. The second half revolves around three aspects of Jacobs' approach to cities; the first is her focus on individual actors, the second a libertarian stance which argues that government was the problem, never the solution, and the third was a claim for universal principles (regarding, for instance, density and land-use), although these were not based upon any empirical evidence. In short, it is argued that while Jacobs was an admirable individual whose struggles have remained inspirational, it is a mistake to attempt to recycle her views in any type of urban design and to use her principles of neighborhood life as a model for how cities should evolve in the future. This is especially true of any considerations of how cities can be transformed into places that are more just.
- Urban design
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management