Why not? It’s Jane’s Walk weekend and I just finished reading her last book, Dark Age Ahead.
I went to Vimeo and found this 8-year old piece that had a bit of Jane Jacobs flavour. 3+ minutes
So what has happened, 8 years later? The 4 storey zoning restriction mentioned? Gone. A condo is going in, 4 times that tall. 16 storeys, approved by the OMB. In this Toronto Star story, the Gladstone Hotel spokesperson (across the street) tries to make the best of it.
Dark Age Ahead, the last book by Jane Jacobs, is so packed with ideas, supporting anecdotes and data, I am feeling overwhelmed. What can I take away from it, that will stick in my memory and help inform my views?
Memory is key. A Dark Age is one were whole societies forget what they are doing, why they are doing it and how it is done. Jacobs doesn’t say that Western society is definitely going to plunge into a Dark Age, but it’s obvious that she thinks we are ripe.
When she is being optimistic, Jacobs offers approaches that may help. For example:
Let things grow (not make things grow, note). Don’t defoliate environments into deserts, as the ancients did in the Middle East and don’t let little startups be gobbled by big corporations the minute they show a profit.
Be skeptical, like a scientist. Value observation and evidence over propaganda.
Favour smaller and more flexible over massive and rigid. One size fits all … badly.
Nuture your culture’s arts. The emotions they convey, especially in song, sustain motivation and memory. (Distinguish between authentic arts and those of propagandists.)
Do the work of being human. There are no social programs, legal systems or engineering schemes capable of replacing human acts of kindness and consideration for one another.