Economics

Jane's Convictions

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janejacobs

Writing in the Journal of Libertarian Studies, Pierre Desrochers reviews Alice Alexiou's recent biography of the urban theorist Jane Jacobs [pdf]. Not just an assessment of Alexiou's efforts, the essay is a sympathetic if sometimes critical assessment of Jacobs' thought.

Elsewhere in Reason: An appreciation of Jacobs. An interview with Jacobs. An obit for Jacobs.

NEXT: McClintock!

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  1. It’s funny to read praise for Jane Jacobs in these parts, as Toronto’s alt-weeklies seem to consider her a socialist icon.

  2. SxCx, it is surprising, because she believes the public realm (parks, sidewalks, town squares) is something to be protected, not privatized. Also she believes that people should be able to live a normal human life without owning a car, which I am sure is a ridiculous notion for many in these parts.

  3. people should be able to live a normal human life without owning a car

    Should be”? How so?

  4. ed, her ideas, (as well as I understand them without having read any of her books), are descriptive – observations about how cities function and change over time, but also, normative – thoughts about how human environments *should* be arranged, that is, how humans should live on the earth and with one another.

  5. So…this is a blog link to a review of a third person telling someone else’s life story…?

  6. Frankly I think the alt-weeklies are kidding themselves, considering Jacobs’ main target was central planning. It’s only funny to read about her here because for a long time, I only heard about her through rags like Now and Eye.

  7. Well, as least she’s finally done with Sergio. He treated her like a ragdoll, I hear.

  8. From one of the links:

    while it contains much interesting material, it shows little appreciation of Jacobs’ Canadian background

    Which isn’t surprising, because her background was American.

    Toronto’s alt-weeklies seem to consider her a socialist icon.

    Yeah, her views don’t necessarily fit into the traditional categories, do they.

  9. “Also she believes that people should be able to live a normal human life without owning a car, which I am sure is a ridiculous notion for many in these parts.”

    Oh yes. I love the transit-and-cities-are-evil libertarians, who can’t envision private transit (think Japan) and hardly ever find anything wrong with urban planning when it forces low density and building height.

  10. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with public transit, as long as nobody else gets on my bus.

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