Seattle: The Future is Now

Describe the kind of neighborhood that Jacobs would consider vibrant, safe, and ideal. When you list a neighborhood characteristic, explain its contribution. (b) Give two examples of how Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck incorporate Jacobs’ recommendations into their discussion about how to build a town. (a) Jane Jacobs was a very well known city analyst, who has devoted much of her career pursuing the idea that cities must be left alone to grow in itself. (Hospers, 2006, p. 723) As an ardent campaigner of cities, Jacobs was consistent in criticizing the kind of city planning that exists.

Jacobs was able to see the significance of being able to recognize the voices of the people and business peoples in developing a better neighborhood. According to Jacobs an ideal and effective kind of neighborhood must possess certain characteristics which are as follows. First Jacobs would suggest that having lively streets 24 hours would be helpful. Having a busy street during day lights alone or during night time would not give an equal opportunity for several different establishments according to Jacobs.

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If majority of people are not out during night time for instance economic movements during night time will be slow. This will be possible if people or residents will be having different roles or functions. (Hospers, 2006, p. 726) In relation to this first consideration Jacobs also believed that population density is a good feature of an effective neighborhood. Nevertheless Jacobs included a qualification for this seemingly odd idea that is the people must be characterized by diverse kinds of household.

This notion still attaches to the idea that an ideal neighborhood needs 24 hours street operations. The variations of small scale, according to her, will definitely complete a whole that would keep local facilities provided. (Hospers, 2006) The third qualification of Jacobs still revolves around the idea of diversification. Not only people should have varied functions but also residential areas. Having buildings of different style, age and function was said to add to the distinct representation of the entire city. (Hospers, 2006)

Jacobs was particular not only to the activities running thru the streets of the city but also to the physical structure of the town which can be demonstrated by this last characterization of Jacobs for an idyllic neighborhood. Jacobs argued that it is advantageous for a city to have “short building blocks and intricate street structure. ” By this Jacobs wanted to show that streets must be designed in such a way that people will not feel limited, a kind that would allow people to discover new routes. (Hospers, 2006, p. 726)

(b) These were some of Jacobs’s idea about how to innovate the current trend of neighborhood and city structuring. Aligned with most of Jacobs precedents are the ideas of Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck. In their book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, they have discussed their criticisms on the current urban planning. The three authors claim that the modern housing developments are posting risks to the people by “devaluating public places, draining public resources and encouraging selfish habits. (Davies, 2001, p. 1526)

With their coinciding points of view, Duane, Plater-Zyberk and Speck’s belief on having the entire neighborhood which includes all institutions like school, home, government and commercial edifices be integrated in secured and accessible setting. Aside from this, Jacob’s idea of having an intricate street structure that would enable people to move around and discover new things, Duane, Plater-Zyberk and Speck have had this idea integrated when they talked about how the highway policies are setting limitations to the people across age for instance about where they can go and not.

(Davies, 2001, p. 1531) II. (a) Suburban Nation, “Seattle: The Future in Now,” and “Los Angeles: Dream of a Different City” all highlight the relationship between environmental sustainability and social sustainability. Please give one example from each, explaining the connection between preserving or cleaning up the natural environment and preserving or creating healthy social environments. [(a) “Suburban Nation, (b) “Seattle,” (c) “Los Angeles”] (a) What is giving the Suburban Nation book a kick are the ecological considerations that are highly incorporated within their urban planning schemes.

The authors of this book were successful in bringing in the message that the physical shape of the environment has a pivotal role in people’s welfare both in the micro and macro level. By contrasting the sprawl and the traditional neighborhood Suburban Nation was able to point out that with the trend of subdivision landscapes, obstructed highways and multi-structured mega malls are all damaging to the entirety of social health. Moreover the preservation of the natural environment would allow people across economic status interact in an environment that is tranquil.

(b) In the PBS Series episode “Seattle: The Future is Now” showed as well that it is indeed an important decision for a city to decide on whether to consider the long term effects of the environmental struggles of the world and take an great leap now to solve them or wait for more all these problems to accumulate while focusing on short term economic gains? The people in Seattle have had their feet moving with their stand of having both sustainability and environmental responsibility. This move was further high lighted by their organization of the Office of Sustainability and Environment.

This body will ensure that their home will be taken cared of which will enable residents live a healthy social milieu. (Edens Lost and Found, 2006) (c) Another film tackling the issue of a city moving forward to address the need for both sustainability and environmental responsiveness is the “Los Angeles: Dream of a Different City. ” The film showed how the efforts especially of residents demonstrate the relationship of preserving the environment and living in a hale and hearty social environment. Several organizations were established in pursuit to saving the Los Angeles, their home.

Among the organizations includes the Tree People, Friends of Los Angeles River, Rivers and Mountains Conservancy and many other organizations all trying to help in providing people with a sustainable development. (Edens Lost and Found, 2007) III. (a) What are the components of the sidewalk economy Duneier describes? (b) Why was Sixth Avenue a sustaining habitat for this economy? (c) Give two examples showing how the informal controls of the sidewalk economy worked well, and two examples of the limitations of these controls

(a) Mitch Duneier in his famous work about the sidewalk life described an economy with the involvement of people with irregular portfolios and are inclined with semi-legal income generating activities yet a constituted social structure that is more or less misinterpreted. Being an “informal body” sidewalk vendors and occupants are as well working with each other in a casual yet more natural way. Occupied with an active economic activity, pricing is among the area of informal cooperation in the sidewalks.

Having no official guiding principles or rules for instance it is then expected that there are going to be points of clashing interest for instance sidewalk occupants are competing when it comes to location. Aside from these, having middle-class consumers and residents is another component of the sidewalk social structure. In addition to this another interesting characterization of a street sidewalk is the vendors’ ability to regulate the sidewalk at some certain level. (b) The Sixth Avenue has been a good place for such an economy. The dynamic activities in the sidewalk give life to the seemingly dead space neighboring housing projects.

The physical aspect of the Sixth Avenue also was a factor that made it altered from being plainly a public passageway to a booming market place. (c) Among the factors definitive of a sidewalk life is the peoples’ ability to regulate the sidewalk. For instance small fights in the street need not to be fixed by police officers since the ‘older’ people vending on the sidewalks are able to fix such. (Hospers, 2006) Moreover, people vending in the sidewalk who are earning their living by staying in a spot of the walkway at the same time acts as eyes of the street.

Going back to the notions of Jane Jacobs about urban planning, we can recall that Jacob believed that having activities in the streets for 24 hours would provide people with safer neighborhood. With this, vendors can actually contribute in keeping the sidewalks somehow crime free. (Hopper, 2001) However despite being able to do something good for the immediate neighborhood and the society it self there are still restrictions on how the sidewalk vendors have their informal control over their social setting. The mere fact that they cannot control their own place is a huge restriction in itself.

Vendors do not own their location thus any time there is a threat of having their items and other things be thrown by police officials, thus making their control over spatial consideration weak. The above-mentioned strength over having been able to defer possible criminal cases to flourish the sidewalks being the eyes of the streets is also a source of the vendors’ informal control being restricted. Having them on the streets is viewed negative since their existence is related by some as a pre-requisite for more criminal case possibility which will be discussed in this paper later on.

(Koskinen, 2001) IV. (a. ) What is ‘broken windows’ theory? (b. ) Compare this with Jacobs’ ideas about deterring crime. (c. ) Explain Duneier’s criticism of the broken windows theory as applied to the Greenwich Village vendors and panhandlers he studied. (d. ) Describe the alternative ‘fixed windows’ theory that Duneier proposes. (a) The control over the sidewalk vending and its ‘social structure’ by politician was said to be substantiated by the broken window theory. The broken window theory was pioneered by James Q.

Wilsons and George Kellings. This theory was said to be inspired by Phillip Zimbardo’s experiment. Based on the results of Zimbardo’s study broken and unattended car were vandalized more swiftly than unattended car in chief condition. (Koskinen, 2001) (b) According to this theory, a broken window left unfixed will soon result to more broken windows. What is mirrored according to the theory by a broken window unrepaired is that people on the building do not have concern about the place.

In a similar manner, an antisocial and unmanageable behavior of people which are left unattended will later on lead to more destructive social behavior in the large scale (DeLong, 2002). The fear for safety in relation to this broken window theory was seen as a reason why sidewalk economic and social activities were repelled by the government officials and politicians. With Duneier’s extensive ethnographic work he was able to look at this association to be somewhat unreasonable thus seeing the politicians’ control over the sidewalk activities to be unfounded.

The association of the sidewalk occupants to negative social behavior display is a simplified analogy that unfortunately is contributing to the social reality of the world. (b) Trying to look back at Jane Jacobs’s analysis of a safe neighborhood we may be reminded that Jacobs believed that there is a need for people to have social and economic activity 24 hours. Jacobs believed that this will make a neighborhood safer. People doing activities on the streets will be the eyes that will discourage criminal acts to take place. (Hospers, 2006)

(c) Just like Jacobs, Duneier has an entirely opposing idea with the application of the broken window theory to the control of the sidewalk activities. In the similar manner, Duneier believes that having vendors on the sidewalks is actually transforming the passageways into an active profitable center of activities. Duneier argued that the presence of black poor men on the streets does not in any case imply an unattended street that is heavily associated with high probability of crimes to take place. (Hopper, 2001) (d) In response to this broken window policy, Duneier came up with his own premise.

Duneier called it the ‘fixed window theory’ wherein he used the same logic as the broken window theory only in a direct contradiction to it. The theory revolved around the idea that if the government would only do its part in helping people from prisoners start their new life, the government will definitely be involving itself in the production of better citizens. Moreover Duneier stated that some deeds that are seemingly disorderly in the eyes of the casual majority actually are “bringing about community controls rather than leading to their breakdown.


Davies, M. S. (2001). Understanding Sprawl: Lessons from Architecture for Legal Scholars. Michigan law Review , 1520-1535. DeLong, J. (2002). Broken Window Theory. Retrieved June 7, 2010, from HR Clean: http://www. hrclean. org/brokenwindow. shtml Edens Lost and Found. (2007). Edens Lost and Found. Retrieved June 6, 2010, from Edens Lost and Found Web Site: http://www. edenslostandfound. org/home/preview. php? id=220 Edens Lost and Found. (2006). Seattle: The Future is Now: The Pbs Series.

Retrieved June 6, 2010, from Edens Lost and Found Web Site: http://www. edenslostandfound. org/home/preview. php? id=47 Hopper, K. (2001). Review. The Social Service Review , 173-177. Hospers, G. -J. (2006). Jane Jacobs: her life and work. European Planning Studies , 723-732. Koskinen, I. (2001). Review. Acta Sociologica , 98-100. Supreme Court of New York Appellate Divisio, First Department. (2007). Retrieved June 7, 2010, from Marx Legal Web Site: http://www. scribd. com/doc/18948376/Marx-Legal


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