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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mikael Colville-Andersen: The Modern Day Jane Jacobs | UrbanTimes

Image: Tom Payne
Jane Jacobs was revolutionary. By critiquing the modernist approach of twentieth century urban thinking, she taught us that traditional planning policies oppressed and rejected the single most important element of cities: people. Her ideas sparked decades of urban social movements, resulting in the preservation of inner city neighbourhoods across the globe. In the age of rationalism, she reminded us that cities are complex and chaotic. She reminded us that cities are human. Jane Jacobs (aka “The Crazy Dame”) inspired a generation of urbanists.
She reminded us that cities are human.
While Jacobs’ words continue to reverberate through history, this century we are faced with a new set of challenges. One in particular, dictates the way we govern, design and build urban spaces; it burdens our health care and kills our planet. Today’s greatest urban challenge is the car.
Our addiction to the car has made us crazy. We teach our children to fear the street and we fight wars to ensure we have reliable access to oil. Our obsession with the car controls just about every aspect of our urban lives. Like a drug however, it is destroying us from the inside out, not only is our atmosphere polluted and our streets congested, but every new road, car park and set of traffic lights makes our cities a little less livable. We have once again forgotten that cities are human.


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