Is Jane Jacobs blameworthy for gentrification?: Arguments for and against
From time to time, I read about gentrification. That being the case, I’m pleased to share with you a Jan. 2, 2021 Atlantic article entitled: “The Pandemic Disproved Urban Progressives’ Theory About Gentrification: The ‘gentrification-industrial complex’ isn’t who anti-growth progressives think it is.”
A Sept. 27, 2016 Beyond Chron article is entitled: “What keeps cities affordable.”
A key point (repeated in a tweet for the article): Don’t blame Jane Jacobs for Haight-Ashbury gentrification.
An excerpt from the article reads:
Instead, [Jane] Jacobs critics are wrongly blaming her support for historic preservation, mixed-retail and residential uses, and the virtues of city living for the upscale transformation of communities that would have happened had her classic book never been written. In the 1970’s people began restoring rundown Victorians and Brownstones not because they suddenly read Jane Jacobs, but rather because the times brought a recognition of the virtues of preserving historic structures. That some speculated on these renovated properties, and sold these long rented housing units to the highest bidder, was never a process Jane Jacobs encouraged or endorsed.
[End of excerpt]
Is Jane Jacobs blameworthy for gentrification?: Arguments for and against.
Jane Jacobs is variously blamed for gentrification and defended from the charge that she is responsible for it.
A May 6, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “City building guru Jane Jacobs’ legacy is high house prices and sprawl, says former Vancouver Mayor.”
A Sept. 22, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “How the legacy of Jane Jacobs shaped modern day gentrification.”
In the context of Jane’s Walk, which I’ve been involved with for five years as a volunteer, it’s enjoyable to read such articles; they prompt thought regarding what the legacy of Jane Jacobs is, as the years go by.
From my perspective, the Jane’s Walk is great because I don’t know what a Jane’s Walk is. That’s what I like about a Jane’s Walk. My second thought is that Jane Jacobs never sought to set herself up as a guru. Other people set her up in their own minds, in their collective definition of the situation, to play this role. I don’t think she had a lot of use for gurus. That was a key part of her writing. She was not a writer of scriptures. My third thought is that she encouraged people to observe what is in front of their noses, in the ever-changing here and now, and reach their own conclusions.