The Life And Death Of Great American Cities By Jane Jacob

1032 words - 4 pages

In Jane Jacobs’s acclaimed The Life and Death of Great American Cities, she intricately articulates urban blight and the ills of metropolitan society by addressing several binaries throughout the course of the text. One of the more culturally significant binaries that Jacobs relies on in her narrative is the effectively paradoxical relationship between diversity and homogeneity in urban environments at the time. In particular, beginning in Chapter 12 throughout Chapter 13, Jacobs is concerned greatly with debunking widely held misconceptions about urban diversity.
Jacobs views diversity as the number of ways in which limited areas of space are allocated, as opposed to having an inherent racial or cultural connotation. Jacobs emphasizes that various types of business and residences are the elements of prospering city neighborhoods. Jacobs begins to explore three main myths. These myths are arguments often cited by city planners against diversity. To begin, the first myth that Jacobs attempts to discredit is that diversity is unattractive. She repudiates this assertion by saying that the opposite is in fact true, in which homogeneity is unappealing. I believe that it is quite detrimental when city planners attempt to create a contrived atmosphere of diversity in order to conceal the existing homogeneity. This is accomplished by artificially building different shapes and styles of buildings to give outsiders the impression of diversity. Jacobs underscores the flaws of contrived diversity in the following excerpt:
But these contrived differences give rise to esthetic difficulties too. Because inherent differences—those that come from genuinely differing uses—are lacking among the buildings and their settings, the contrivances represent the desire merely to appear different.
Essentially, Jacobs says that contrived diversity is just as bad as true homogeneity because contrived diversity is based completely on appearance, not pragmatism, and is therefore dishonest. Jacobs instead champions a combination of aesthetic and practical diversity in the city. Aesthetic differences can come from buildings constructed during different eras. Jacobs adds that having an organic mix of commercial buildings and apartments adds to a city’s diversity and beauty. To conclude her argument, Jacobs states that standard commercial establishments are mixed in with landmarks in functional cities and cites New York as an example. As a native New Yorker, many restaurants, bars and other commercial buildings are located in propinquity to landmarks such as Carnegie Hall and the Empire State Building. Jacobs believes that this combination advocates as the standard for urban planning.
Another myth that Jacobs discusses is that diversity is responsible for traffic congestion. Jacobs’ view is in discord with Robert Moses’ original mission to create cities that would be conducive to automobile transportation. Moses viewed his plans to build bridges and highways through the city...

Find Another Essay On The Life and Death of Great American Cities by Jane Jacob

The Life and Career of Jane Austen

1065 words - 5 pages brother Edward, was adopted by their wealthy cousins, the Knights, and later became the heir to their estate. When Jane spent time with her brother Edward she was able to be a part of his luxurious world. Jane was also exposed to great culture of arts at a young age. Jane visited her brother, Henry, in London and was able to attend theatrical productions, art shows, and social events that allowed her to be around very talented writers. The

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CRAZY HORSE By Russell Freedman

775 words - 3 pages Untitled Alex Olofson Period 2 Ms. Ponsford 11/20/2009 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CRAZY HORSE By Russell Freedman Crazy horse was born in the fall of 1840 near Bear Butte on the Belle Fourche River in South Dakota, in the Black Hills. The actual place and date of his birth are uncertain. He was killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, in 1877, so that he lived barely thirty-three years. The reason I believe they wrote

The American Dream in Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby

1295 words - 5 pages is a mere illusion, focusing on money, power and how to reach it; portraying materialism and wealth as the “American Dream” and self-actualization, as portrayed by Miller in Death of a Salesman. The American Dream came to mean fame and fortune, instead of a promise that shaped a nation. (David Kamp, Vanity Fair) This so- called dream has done incredible damage to our companies and corporations in America. As economic success and

The Death of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

2232 words - 9 pages Ms. OgarekHonors EnglishPeriod 5May 5, 2005The Death of the American DreamWebster's Dictionary defines the American dream as an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity. This dream started as our country started. Our founding fathers had a dream of an America with equal opportunities. This dream was interpreted by those in Europe as an easy way to make money and a good way of life. Immigrants came to

The Story of Jacob

1295 words - 5 pages intimately involved in Jacob's schemes and deception. God, who was Abraham's constant companion and guide, now appears to be standing on the sidelines, carefully weighing when and where to make an appearance. With Jacob we seem to be dealing no longer with the life of virtuous prophet in the presence of God, but, rather, with a very human and flawed character. There are many lessons that can be learned from the story of Jacob. Most importantly, the

American Dream Derailed in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

1704 words - 7 pages The American dream originated when immigrants came to America searching for new opportunities and a better life. In the early 1900’s all people could do is dream; however, those dreams gave many different meanings to the phrase “American dream”, and for the most part, wealth and hard work play a very large role in the pursuit of “the dream”. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, and Arthur Miller’s drama, Death of a Salesman, both

American Dream in The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman

994 words - 4 pages The American Dream consists in the idea that people can be whoever they want to be, and the American government system will support each individual in order to achieve success and increase their life status. This notion is discussed and criticized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby and by Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman. The protagonists of the books are Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman, they are both examples of tragic heroes

Death of the American Dream in Fitgerald's The Great Gatsby

1556 words - 6 pages outsider, an honest man from the mid-west who witnessed the whole affair as an observer. The Great Gatsby is not about the life and death of James Gatz, but about what James Gatz stood for. It is about the life and death of the old American Dream.

Death of a Salesman, by Athur Miller and The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

1355 words - 5 pages Gatsby and the play Death of a Salesman demonstrate the slow emotional and social downfall of the protagonists Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman with reference to the American dream and female characters such as Daisy Buchanan and Linda Loman. Both protagonists illustrate the notion of individual sacrifice in order to pursue the American dream. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby works to obtain the luxurious components of life. To Gatsby, the American

The Journey of Pip and Jane Eyre: the Story of Great Expectations and Jane Eyre

2312 words - 9 pages In the journey that is coming of age there are many lessons that we have to learn, and one of them is being humble. In both books, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, both main characters learn from the mistakes they have made in their life as we see unfold in the end of both novels. Once these characters learn humility, light is shown upon the errors of their ways and they can move on with their life. The

What did Jacob A. Riis' photographs said about the East Side Slums and the life of immigrants?

808 words - 3 pages number of reasons, but most came seeking political freedom and economic opportunity.# Most Americans looked down on unwanted immigrants and considered any hardships they suffered due to their own personal shortcomings. However, journalist Jacob A. Riis showed the harsh working and living conditions of New York City slums through his powerful and thought-provoking photographs as the cause of Urban poverty.When immigrants first began migrating to

Similar Essays

Jane Jacob’s The Life And Death Of American Cities

2113 words - 8 pages alternatives to dogmatic views as evident in Jane Jacob’s “The Death and Life of American Cities.” Jacob engages with a framework that arises from a space outside the dominant system of modernist, orthodox city planning and rebuilding in the post-war U.S. She begins her book with, “an attack on current city planning and rebuilding... and an attempt to introduce new principles,” (Jacobs, 1961, p. 5) by providing examples on failures of planning in

The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller, And The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1239 words - 5 pages The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald In a majority of literature written in the 20th century, the theme of the ' American Dream" has been a prevalent theme. This dream affects the plot and characters of many novels, and in some books, the intent of the author is to illustrate the reality of the American Dream. However, there is no one definition of the American

Analysis Of The Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacob

2002 words - 9 pages movement in the North, would provoke a great debate over slavery that would tear the nation apart in the bloody American Civil War (1861-65) ("Slavery"). A victim is a person who is embittered or tricked by someone else ("Victim - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary"). Victims of slavery are induced into slave-like corruption through deception, force or coercion. The enslaved are subject to physical abuse and/or emotional

The Two Great Cities Of Greece: Sparta And Athens

1319 words - 6 pages The two great cities of Greece - Sparta and Athens, have adapted similar, yet different laws that shaped them differently. Although Lycurgus was the first lawgiver of Sparta, little is known about his history today as he is overlooked because of the other great known heroes from Sparta. Lycurgus took the first step towards law making that dealt with inequality and injustice, and brought relief among the Leconian citizens. He was seen as a