Monday, March 31, 2008

Jane Jacobs in Practice

Sears Crosstown from VECA GreenlineAs I continue my slow read of Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities, I have a question:

are there any cities who have explicitly implemented Jacobs' strategies in their planning practice?

I don't think Memphis has had much of her analysis, much less her practice.

Searching for an answer to the question above, I came upon the essay "Localism" by James Howard Kunstler, urbanist and social critic. It starts at farmers markets, ends with a vision of a post-Peak Oil urbanism, design and culture, and along the way gives us this:
Localism, in this sense, is very much related to the current craze for styling one’s endeavors as “green.” Tom Friedman cheerleads for “green” globalism in his New York Times column while Time Magazine runs “Greencast” programs on its website, and all kinds of specialists design green cars, green light bulbs, green toilets, green campuses, and green corporate headquarters (all the better for hawking those Cheez Doodles). Much of this activity can be described, to borrow a locution from public relations, as blowing green smoke up our own collective ass. Such, alas, is the sorry state of our culture nowadays that just pretending to mean well, for most people and institutions, is good enough.

I had originally come upon Kunstler via a link to his Eyesore of the Month, small essays on recent world-class starchitect atrocities. Here's my favorite.

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Blogger nathanwberry said...

is it just me or is all this "going green" wasting energy?
nice, uh ... museum?

4:11 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

The idea behind it is real and good, but the Marketing Machine, which can't bear subtlety and maybe honesty, has got a hold of it. It's "Green Mission Accomplished!" And we ignore practices completely contradictory in our rah-rah-ing for green widgets.

Thanks for the comment about the pontoon boat ride to New Orleans. When I was a kid, my dad took my brothers and sisters on a trip from Pickwick, up the Tennessee River, across the Ohio River and then down the Mississippi to Memphis. We also used to camp out on MS River sandbars with his houseboat. I have to think how I'm ever going to do what you did. Hmmmmm.....

By the way, beautiful pictures on your site. Particularly the many moods of the Sears Crosstown Tower. And is that the roof swimming pool of the 3rd street Holiday Inn?

10:31 PM  
Blogger nathanwberry said...

the whole boat thing took a bit of planning on my friends' part. i just got on and contributed in any way i could for the rest of their trip. which means i quickly became the crew chef and spare pilot.

the pool is from another building. but it is a holiday inn.
the one you are thinking of might be the howard johnson at jefferson and second?

2:34 AM  

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