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October 21, 2010

Reflections on What We See: Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs, and the lessons for New York and beyond

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder takes a second look at What We See, the compendium of essays reflecting on Jane Jacobs and her work published this spring, and, no surprise, Atlantic Yards makes an appearance or two.

Note that, when the book was published in May, [Stephen A.] Goldsmith (former Planning Director in Salt Lake City) told Gothamist in an interview:

Large scale projects such as transit infrastructure aside, what we see today are developers who like to fake authenticity at a large scale, who appropriate front porches or mixed-use development as though these ingredients will salvage bad ideas. The ability to design and build large scale projects such as Atlantic Yards has not been stopped, and as as result the people of Brooklyn will have to endure still-unknown consequences of these poor choices.
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In an epilogue titled Jane's Cup of Tea, civic and social organizer Mary Rowe reflects:

Jane was not sentimental. I had always understood the word to describe a kind of saccharine-sweet, closing fondness for something in the past, but Jane corrected my misunderstanding of the term. To be sentimental was to remember something in an idealized way, which was anathema to her. Many of Jane's reflections about why government policies (and their makers) were so often anti-city were rooted in her observations of this culture's penchant for rural sentimentality.

Were some Atlantic Yards opponents sentimental about not changing neighborhoods? Yes. But they also came up with practical potential solutions.

Are some Atlantic Yards supporters sentimental? Isn't attachment to 10,000 phantom jobs sentimental?

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Posted by eric at October 21, 2010 3:38 PM