Garden City Jane Jacobs Analysis

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What are the goals of the “orthodox” urban planners (Garden Cities” theorists, Le Corbusier etc.) whom Jacob criticizes?

Jane Jacobs throughout Chapter 1 of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” explains her philosophy regarding urban planning that is centered around using the successes and failures of existing cities as a paradigm for urban planning and design. Jacobs claims that cities “are an immense laboratory of trial and error” in which city planning should be based off of “learning, forming and testing” various urban theories. City planning must therefore take after the failures and successes of different types of urban design and not be rooted from utopian idealism. She often criticizes “orthodox” urban planning theory because they are “guided by principles derived from the behavior and appearance of towns, suburbs, tuberculosis sanatoria, fairs and imaginary dream cities” (9). The idealism of orthodox urban planners blinds them from the reality of how cities function in real life and this creates a disconnect between design and how urban reality functions.
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And in doing that he wrote off the “intricate, many-faceted, cultural life of the metropolis” (25). Howard hated cities and thought they were outright centers of evil and moral decay. He essentially set out to “do the city in” and create a utopian pseudo-suburban oasis. Instead of acknowledging the various urban problems such as how “great cities police themselves, or exchange ideas, or operate politically”, and strengthening these functions, he completely dismissed the merits of living in a city and created a new urban model that did not reflect the complexity of real urban

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