The Left's adulation of Jane Jacobs fucking baffles me. She was an uneducated NIMBYist redlining bitch.
Jacobs' whole schtick was "don't tear up rich white neighborhoods." The only sidewalks she gave a shit about were the ones in close proximity to her neighbors. Her actions created some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world. Yet whenever any anti-zoning Amazonian dweeb wants to say anything about zoning, they whip out Jane Jacobs.
As Thomas observed, “Nineteenth century families were expected to be public and fought to achieve their privacy. Part of the sense of community that often characterized the nineteenth-century village resulted from the forms of social interaction that the porch facilitated. Twentieth-century man has achieved the sense of privacy in his patio, but in doing so he has lost part of his public nature which is essential to strong attachments and a deep sense of belonging or feelings of community.” The chef’s kiss comes with the advent of the doorbell camera, which casts our gaze into the public as a mode of surveillance rather than civic interest.
The "nineteenth century families" everyone wanted to emulate had butlers and gate houses. Privacy has always been the goal. These chin-stroking academics like to point at the good old boisterous 1850s as if it were a Norman Rockwell painting rather than a Reconstructive shithole rife with inequality and racial hatred.
What most interested me in Jacobs’s discussion was her insistence that these casual sidewalk contacts were mostly with people with whom we do not ordinarily desire any deeper relationship.
Oh but make no mistake: those casual sidewalk contacts were of the same ethnographic makeup as Jacobs. She went to jail to assure it remained that way. She was the Phyllis Schlafly of urban planning.
Given the material structure of suburban life, people tend to operate with two categories of relationships: those they know relatively well and those who remain strangers altogether. There is little or no space in between.
This is utter fucking unsupported nonsense. I could pick the dozen or so people I see on my walk out of a line-up. I know the people at the businesses I frequent but I do not know their names. There's an absolute gradient here, and Jacobs' insistence that the only social mixing you need is within a short walk of your home is Thurston Howell-grade NIMBYism. It's fuckin' weird, man, I'm tellin' ya. The idea that you might have a casual familiarity with the regulars on the bus never entered Jacobs' mind.
But sure, something something social media, as if Facebook has fuckall to do with urban planning. Public discourse is shaped by the elevator effect while social media discourse is shaped by road rage. Read this passage and tell me Mark Zuckerberg didn't engineer exactly this "town called perfect" mechanism into Facebook.
“The trust of a city street,” she writes, “is formed over time from many, many little public sidewalk contacts. It grows out of people stopping by at the bar for a beer, getting advice from the grocer and giving advice to the newsstand man, comparing opinions with other customers at the bakery and nodding hello to the two boys drinking pop on the stoop ….”