Jane Jacobs's The Death And Life Of Great American Streets

Superior Essays
Location, location, location. It’s the old realtor 's mantra for what the most important feature is when looking at a potential house. If the house is in a bad neighborhood, it may not be suitable for the buyers. In searching for a house, many people will look at how safe the surrounding area is and if it’s not safe they will stray away. Jane Jacobs understood the importance of this and knew how cities could maintain this safety, but warned of what would become of them if they did not stray away from the current city styles. More modern planners, such as Joel Kotkin argue that Jacobs’s lesson is no longer applicable to modern cities because they have different functions than those of the past. This argument is valid in the sense that city …show more content…
In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacobs mentions the importance of creating “a web of public respect and trust” for those who live in your community in the chapter “The uses of sidewalks: contact” (56). When done right, this “general street support” would permit the assumed pleasantries of letting one 's children be without parental supervision and maintaining public relations while “keeping one’s personal affairs to those selected to now them” (Jacobs 56;59). Focusing on the microinteractions that form this safety net, Jacobs portrays the ability for members of a city to not need formal friendships, but rather to be familiar with one another. “The trust of a city street is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk interactions” (Jacobs 56). People who live on streets that have such a public life can allow youth to be free on their own thanks to the development of “eyes on the street” (Jacobs 56). Jacobs provides evidence of this when mentioning an “old-city side, which was full of public places and… sidewalk loitering” where “the children were being kept well in hand” (Jacobs 57). Contrarily, on the opposing project side, unidentifiable children misbehaved by opening a fire hydrant to play in (Jacobs 57). If the parents of the children were known, a passerbyer may have stopped for a moment to tell the adolescents or their parents of the wrongdoing at …show more content…
In other cities, such as Orlando, a domestic lifestyle can still be easily achieved due to an intermingling of society and economics. In Jacobs’s time, all cities were meant to be homes just as much as they were built for businesses. This was over a half a century ago. People have since adjusted to new lifestyles where they understand that families do not have the capability to thrive in industrialized cities. Suburbian life has become safer and gives city workers the opportunity to raise a family and maintain their employment opportunities. This would lead a person to favor Kotkin’s argument of how Jacobs’s is out of her time in the advice she is giving, but these methods of social interaction are not only important in city life but are important in any life. The only reason that suburban life is preferable to urban life is because the types of connections that used to be made in cities can now easily be made in a more rural area. If a community is not able to make the connections that Jacobs has suggested, it will fail in providing safety for it’s inhabitants and thus will fail. In the end, Jacobs was speaking only to the people of her time while Kotkin is part of a different world that has to apply Jacob’s ideology into the aspects of all life not solely city life. Location may not matter as much as the realtor portrays and truly

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