Transcript: Jane Jacobs Revisited | Dec 01, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, pale yellow shirt, and striped purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Jane Jacobs revisited. @spaikin, @theagenda"

Steve says FOR MANY URBANITES,
THEIR VISION OF LIVEABLE,
WALKABLE CITIES DRAWS DIRECTLY
ON THE WORK OF AUTHOR AND
ACTIVIST JANE JACOBS.
BUT A DECADE AFTER HER PASSING,
AND IN AN ERA OF SEEMINGLY
UNSTOPPABLE CHANGE, SOME HAVE
BEGUN TO WONDER WHETHER HER
IDEAS OF URBANISM ARE ROOTED IN
THE PAST, AND THUS POSSIBLY ARE NOW Passé?
LET'S GET INTO THIS:
IN CALLICOON, NEW YORK VIA SKYPE, WE WELCOME:
PETER MOSKOWITZ, AUTHOR OF THE
FORTHCOMING "HOW TO KILL A CITY:
GENTRIFICATION, INEQUALITY, AND
THE FIGHT FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD."

Peter is in his early thirties, bald, with a stubble. He's wearing a black sweater and earphones.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a picture of a run-down building adjacent to a newly refurbished building.

Steve continues AND HERE IN STUDIO:
JENNIFER KEESMAAT, CHIEF PLANNER, CITY OF TORONTO...

Jennifer is in her forties, with straight, chin-length blond hair. She's wearing a black blazer over a gray shirt.

Steve continues AND NATHAN STORRING, CO-EDITOR
OF "VITAL LITTLE PLANS: THE SHORT WORKS OF JANE JACOBS."

Nathan is in his twenties, clean-shaven, with short wavy brown hair. He's wearing glasses, a black sweater white shirt, and patterned blue tie.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover has colourful pink, blue and orange rectangles mimicking a city map.

Steve continues PETER, GOOD TO WELCOME YOU IN
ONE OF THE FEW BLUE STATES LEFT
IN AMERICA, AND NICE TO HAVE YOU
TWO WITH US HERE IN OUR TORONTO
STUDIOS.
I WANT TO START, NATHAN, A FEW
MINUTES OFF THE TOP WITH YOU ON
JANE JACOBS, BECAUSE I DON'T
WANT TO ASSUME EVERYBODY HAS
HEARD OF HER, ALTHOUGH SHE IS
OBVIOUSLY LEGENDARY IN SOME PARTS.
FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW, WHO WAS SHE?

The caption changes to "An urban legend."

Nathan says JANE JACOBS WAS A CANADIAN
AMERICAN WRITER AND URBANIST AND
ACTIVIST, MOST FAMOUS FOR HER
1961 BOOK THE DEATH AND LIFE OF
GREAT AMERICAN CITIES.
SHE BASICALLY SPENT HER ENTIRE
CAREER TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HOW
CITIES WORK FROM A PHYSICAL,
SOCIAL, AND ECONOMIC SORT OF
POINT OF VIEW.

A black and white picture shows Jane posing on a street. She's in her fifties, and wears rounded glasses and a fur hat.

Steve says SHE WAS FROM THERE
AND CAME UP HERE.
WHAT TURNED HER INTO AN ACTIVIST?

The caption changes to "Nathan Storring. Co-Editor, 'Vital little plans.'"

Nathan says SURE.
SHE MOVED FROM NEW YORK IN THE
1930s AND SPENT A LOT OF TIME
GETTING TO KNOW THE CITY AND
GETTING INVOLVED IN GREENWICH
VILLAGE.
WHAT TURNED HER INTO AN ACTIVIST
WAS THE CITY'S ATTEMPTS TO TRY
TO CHANGE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD,
FIRST THROUGH A ROAD THROUGH
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK, WHICH IS
A VERY BELOVED PARK IN GREENWICH
VILLAGE, AND THROUGH AN URBAN
RENEWAL SCHEME IN HER
NEIGHBOURHOOD DIRECTLY WHERE SHE
LIVED, ACTUALLY.

Steve says ROBERT MOSES WAS HER NEMESIS.
WHO WAS HE?

A black and white picture shows Robert posing casually against a fence. He's in his fifties, and wears a suit and hat. The Manhattan skyscrapers rise in the distant backround.

Nathan says ROBERT MOSES WAS KNOWN AS THE
MASTER BUILDER OF NEW YORK.
HE HELD A LARGE NUMBER OF
DIFFERENT POSITIONS ON BOARDS
AND IN AGENCIES IN THE CITY, AND
WAS KNOWN FOR HIS URBAN RENEWAL
SCHEMES, INCLUDING BOTH CREATING
LUXURY AND PUBLIC HOUSING, AND
THEN ALSO HIGHWAYS.
THAT'S REALLY HIS BIG CLAIM TO FAME.

Steve says SHE EVENTUALLY LEFT
NEW YORK, CAME TO TORONTO.
HOW COME?

Another black and white picture shows Jane posing on a sidewalk in a residential neighbourhood.

Nathan says WELL, DURING THE VIETNAM WAR,
SHE WAS INVOLVED WITH SOME OF
THE PROTESTS, AND BOTH OF HER
SONS AGREED THAT THEY WOULD
RATHER SERVE TIME IN JAIL THAN
SERVE IN THE ARMY DURING THAT
TIME, AND SO THE FAMILY MADE A
COLLECTIVE DECISION TO MOVE TO
TORONTO TO ESCAPE THE DRAFT.

Steve says AND ONE OF THE BIG
FIGHTS THAT SHE HAD WHEN SHE WAS
HERE, AGAIN, FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE
BEEN IN THE CAPITAL FOR A LONG
TIME, THEY WILL REMEMBER THIS.
FOR THOSE WHO DON'T, IT MAY MEAN
NOTHING, THE SPADINA EXPRESSWAY.
WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?

Nathan says THAT'S RIGHT.
SHE HAD JUST LEFT NEW YORK AND
SHE HAD FOUGHT AN EXPRESSWAY,
THE LOWER MANHATTAN EXPRESSWAY,
ACROSS SOME OF THE MOST VALUABLE
PROPERTY, WHICH IS WILD.
WHEN SHE SET DOWN IN TORONTO,
HER FIRST APARTMENT WAS ON
SPADINA AND SHE FOUND ANOTHER
EXPRESSWAY WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO
GO THROUGH HER HOUSE.
SO SHE JOINED THE FIGHT TO
PUT... RESCUE THE SPADINA
EXPRESSWAY AND SUCCEEDED.

Steve says SHE SUCCEEDED
BECAUSE WHO CANCELLED IT?

Nathan says BILL DAVIS, PREMIER BILL DAVIS.

Steve says THAT WAS A CHEAP
PLUG FOR MY BOOK, THAT'S ALL.
HERE WE GO.
I'M DOING A CHEAP PLUG FOR YOUR
BOOK NOW.
THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM "VITAL LITTLE PLANS."

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Urban flight." The quote reads "Jacobs and her colleagues also saw that American cities in the postwar era faced grave problems: People were fleeing to the suburbs, factories and offices followed hard on their heels, and swaths of so-called 'slums' and 'blight' spread in neighbourhoods left behind near downtown... Forum's editors believed in cities, so when the federal government authorized subsidies for public housing programs and privately backed urban renewal projects, the magazine applauded."
Quoted from Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storing, "Vital Little Plans." 2016.

Steve says HOW DID ALL OF THAT LEAD JANE TO
WRITE HER SEMINAL BOOK 55 YEARS
AGO, "GREAT AMERICAN CITIES"?

The caption changes to "Nathan Storring, @natestorring"

Nathan says THAT MOMENT YOU TOOK OUT, SHE WAS
WORKING FOR A MAGAZINE CALLED
ARCHITECTURAL FORUM, WHICH IS A
WELL-KNOWN ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE
IN THE UNITED STATES.
AS THAT SAYS, SHE AND ALL THE
PEOPLE SHE WORKED WITH REALLY
BELIEVED IN URBAN RENEWAL
ORIGINALLY BECAUSE THEY WERE
FIGHTING AGAINST THE URGE TO
KIND OF FLEE TO THE SUBURBS AND
BELIEVED IN TRYING TO SAVE THE
CITY SOMEHOW.
BUT THEN AS SHE STARTED ACTUALLY
REVIEWING SOME OF THESE PLACES
AND GOT A CHANCE TO VISIT THEM
IN REAL LIFE, SHE REALIZED
SOMETHING WAS WRONG, SOMETHING
WASN'T WORKING.
PEOPLE OUT ON THE STREET WEREN'T
ENJOYING THESE PUBLIC SPACES,
THEY WERE KIND OF DEAD SOMEHOW.
SO THAT LED HER TO TRY AND
FIGURE OUT WHAT EXACTLY MAKES
CITY STREETS WORK.

Steve says OKAY.
THANKS FOR THAT TABLE-SETTER, AS
IT WERE.
LET'S GO TO THE CHIEF PLANNER.
I WANT TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH OF
JANE JACOBS AND HER THEORIES AND
MISSION INFORMS WHAT YOU DO
RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Jennifer Keesmaat. City of Toronto."
Then, it changes again to "Death and life of cities."

Jennifer says I WOULD SAY THAT I'M A STUDENT OF JANE JACOBS.
THE VERY FIRST PLANNING BOOK I
READ, IF YOU CAN EVEN CALL IT A
PLANNING BOOK, WAS "DEATH AND
LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES."
THANKS THE MOMENT I KIND OF SAID
A HA, THERE'S SOMETHING RICH AND
DYNAMIC THE WAY SHE WAS THINKING
AND TALKING ABOUT CITIES.
IT ISN'T STATIC.
PEOPLE SAY IF WE APPLY HER
IDEAS... HER IDEAS ARE DYNAMIC,
THEY'RE A SET OF PRINCIPLES THAT
CAN MANIFEST IN A VARIETY OF
DIFFERENT WAYS.
SO I WOULD SAY THAT THE CULTURE
OF THE CITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT,
THE PRINCIPLES THAT WE BRING TO
OUR EVERYDAY PRACTICE ARE
ENTIRELY ROOTED IN THE THINKING
AND THE TRAINING THAT BOTH
MYSELF AND SUBSEQUENT CHIEF
PLANNERS IN THE CITY OF TORONTO
WHO WERE IN FACT VERY GOOD
FRIENDS OF JANE JACOBS HAVE HAD.
SO HER LEGACY IS, YOU KNOW, IT'S
DEEP AND IT'S BROAD AND IT
TOUCHES A WHOLE VARIETY OF
FACETS ABOUT HOW WE THINK ABOUT
URBAN AND CITY LIFE IN THE CITY
OF TORONTO.

Steve says PETER, LET ME GET
YOUR TAKE ON THAT.
DO YOU THINK JANE JACOBS WAS
RIGHT ABOUT HOW CITIES OUGHT TO
BE PLANNED?

The caption changes to "Peter Moskowitz. Author, 'How to kill a city.'"

Peter says WELL, THAT'S A COMPLICATED QUESTION.
I THINK SHE WAS HALF RIGHT BUT I
THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH
JANE JACOBS IS THAT SHE WAS
OVERLY FOCUSED ON AESTHETICS, ON
THINGS LIKE SMALL STREETS AND
VARIED SIZES OF BUILDINGS AND
THAT'S ALL WELL AND GOOD AND I
GREW UP TWO BLOCKS AWAY FROM
WHERE JANE JACOBS WROTE "DEATH
AND LIFE" RIGHT ON HUDSON
STREET, AND IT IS A BEAUTIFUL
NEIGHBOURHOOD TO GROW UP IN.
BUT WHEN YOU FOCUS ON SOLELY
AESTHETIC FACTORS THAT MAKE UP A
NEIGHBOURHOOD, YOU MISS THE
ECONOMIC COMPONENT.
AND I THINK THAT WAS A BIG
FAILING OF JANE JACOBS.
SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WEST
VILLAGE NOW WHERE JANE JACOBS
WROTE THAT BOOK AND WHAT SHE
USED AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE
PERFECT AMERICAN NEIGHBOURHOOD,
ONLY MILLIONAIRES AND
BILLIONAIRES CAN ONLY AFFORD TO
LIVE THERE.
SO WITHOUT THE ECONOMIC
CRITIQUE, JANE JACOBS' THINKING
IS LIMITED IN MY OPINION.

Steve says FLESH THAT OUT FOR
US, PETER.
WHEN YOU SAY SHE IS HALF RIGHT,
OBVIOUSLY YOU THINK SHE IS HALF
WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING.
WHAT'S THE ECONOMIC COMPONENT
YOU THINK SHE MISSED?

The caption changes to "Peter Moskowitz, @stuff_i_wrote"

Peter says WELL, I
THINK "DEATH AND LIFE" KIND OF
IGNORES THE NEED TO PROTECT
CITIES FROM GENTRIFICATION, WHAT
WE CALL GENTRIFICATION, AND WHAT
JANE JACOBS CALLS SUCCESS.
SHE SAID ONE OF THE GREATEST
THREATS IS A NEIGHBOURHOOD'S OWN
SUCCESS.
WHEN IT DOES WELL, HAS THE
AESTHETIC FEATURES, THE
BUILDINGS, STREETS, PARKS, WHEN
IT DOES WELL, WHEN THAT ATTRACTS
PEOPLE, WHAT THAT ENDS UP DOING
IS PRIVILEGING THOSE WHO CAN
AFFORD TO MOVE INTO THAT
NEIGHBOURHOOD AND WHO APPRECIATE
THOSE FEATURES OF A
NEIGHBOURHOOD.
SO WITHOUT PROTECTIONS FOR THE
POOR, WITHOUT THINGS LIKE RENT
CONTROL OR RENT REGULATION,
YOU'RE REALLY INEVITABLY GOING
TO HAVE THE NICE NEIGHBOURHOODS,
THE JACOBS' FAVOURITE
NEIGHBOURHOODS BECOME THE RICH
NEIGHBOURHOODS.

Steve says WOULD YOU AGREE,
JENNIFER, THAT JANE JACOBS MAY
HAVE MISSED THE BUS ON THIS ONE?

The caption changes to "Jennifer Keesmaat, @jen_keesmaat"

Jennifer says JANE HAS
SUCH AN INCREDIBLE BODY OF WORK
THAT I THINK IT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THAT ENTIRE
BODY OF WORK TO UNDERSTAND HER
THINKING THROUGH THAT BODY OF
WORK, BECAUSE SHE WROTE A LOT
ABOUT ECONOMIES OF CITIES AND
THE COMPLEXITY OF THE ECONOMIES
OF CITY AND IN FACT WAS ONE OF
THE EARLY THINKERS TO RECOGNIZE
CITIES AS HAVING THEIR OWN
ECONOMY AS OPPOSED TO BEING A
SUBSET OF A LARGER ECONOMIC
CONTEXT.
BUT SHE ALSO INHERENTLY
ADVOCATED FOR DIVERSITY.
I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S
OFTEN IN SOME WAYS MISUNDERSTOOD
OR MISINTERPRETED, THE
GRANULARITY THAT COMES WITH
MAKING A GREAT PLACE IS
CONNECTED TO A WHOLE VARIETY OF
DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIVERSITY,
BOTH IN TERMS OF HOW PEOPLE
MOVE, BUT ALSO IN TERMS OF
HOUSING, ALSO IN TERMS OF
DIFFERENT TENURES.

Steve says AND INCOMES TOO, I ASSUME?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram."

Jennifer says INCOMES
TOO, OF COURSE.
THE BEST MANIFESTATION OF JANE
JACOBS' THINKING, THE ABSOLUTE
BEST EXAMPLE WE HAVE IN THE
TORONTO CONTEXT IS IN FACT ST.
LAWRENCE NEIGHBOURHOOD WHICH HAS
STOOD THE TEST OF TIME.
45 YEARS LATER, IT'S AN AREA
THAT IS NOT GENTRIFIED, IT WAS
BUILT TO LIFT PEOPLE OUT OF
POVERTY, AND GUESS WHAT, IT'S
DONE EXACTLY THAT.
IT WAS ALSO BUILT TO BE A
DYNAMIC WALKABLE PLACE THAT HAD
A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY, AN
INTEGRATION OF USES, AND AN
INTEGRATION OF A WHOLE VARIETY
OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT
SOCIOECONOMIC STRATA.
SO IF WE SEE THAT AS A
MANIFESTATION OF THOSE IDEAS, I
THINK IT'S A PRETTY GOOD
COUNTERPOINT TO THE IDEA THAT
SHE FORGOT A BIG PIECE.
THERE ARE NOT MANY PLACES I
THINK IN THE WORLD THAT YOU CAN
ACTUALLY SAY HAVE DONE SUCH A
GOOD JOB AT GETTING ALL OF THE
CRITICAL PIECES, THE MIX RIGHT
TO DELIVER A COMMUNITY WHERE
PEOPLE CAN THRIVE, AND ST.
LAWRENCE NEIGHBOURHOOD RIGHT
HERE IN THE CITY OF TORONTO IS A
GREAT EXAMPLE OF THAT.
AT THE SAME TIME, THE TWO KINGS,
KING PARLIAMENT AND KING
SPADINA, ARE AREAS WHERE JANE'S
IDEAS WERE APPLIED, TAKING AWAY
THE ZONING RESTRICTIONS,
ALLOWING FOR THE MARKET ECONOMY
TO REALLY DRIVE REVITALIZATION,
AND THOSE ARE AREAS WHERE WE
NEED PUBLIC POLICY NOW TO COME
IN AND PUT THE BRAKES ON WHAT'S
HAPPENING PRECISELY BECAUSE OF
THE SUCCESS OF THOSE IDEAS.
SO THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A
REGULATORY ROLE AND USING IT IN
A VERY NUANCED WAY AT DIFFERENT
TIMES IN THE LIFE AND THE
EVOLUTION OF THE FABRIC OF THE
CITY I THINK IS A REALLY
IMPORTANT IDEA.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU NEED TO
GET OUT OF THE WAY.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THERE'S
INTERVENTIONS THAT ARE NEEDED.
AND I THINK THROUGHOUT THE BODY
OF THE WORK, HER WORK, SHE
DESCRIBES THAT AND ALLUDES TO
THAT AGAIN AND AGAIN.

Steve says GOTCHA.
LET'S DO AN EXCERPT HERE
REFERRING TO PETER'S NECK OF THE WOODS.
THIS IS GREENWICH VILLAGE TODAY, LEV BRATISHENKO...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Greenwich Village today." The quote reads "Yet for all that, the Village, the neighbourhood she loved so fiercely and immortalized in Death and life, has died. It was not levelled by the planners; it was slowly strangled by the invisible hand. Of course, it does not look dead. If anything, it looks recently repainted. But the vitality is gone. Its rich new residents have closed in on themselves, and more businesses serve tourists than locals."
Quoted from Lev Bratishenko, Literary Review of Canada. October 2016.

Steve says PETER, DO YOU THINK
THAT'S FAIR CRITICISM?

Peter says I DO.
JUST TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE BIT OF
PERSONAL BACK STORY FROM GROWING
UP THERE.
WHEN I GREW UP IN THE WEST
VILLAGE, IT KIND OF STILL WAS
THAT JACOBIAN PARADISE WHERE
KIDS COULD PLAY IN THE STREET
AND WALK TO SCHOOL BY THEMSELVES
BECAUSE THERE WERE EYES ON THE
STREET WATCHING THEM JUST AS
JACOBS HAD SAID THERE WERE.
NOW THERE ARE HARDLY ANY
RESTAURANTS THAT I CAN AFFORD.
MY PARENTS, WHO STILL LIVE
THERE, ARE SURROUNDED BY PRIVATE
SECURITY CONTRACTORS AND
INVESTMENT BANKERS.
THE CHEAPEST SLICE OF PIZZA, AS
I'M SURE YOU KNOW IS A NEW YORK
STAPLE, IS APPROXIMATELY 3 dollars 50,
AS OPPOSED TO 1 dollar 25.
IT'S AN AREA THAT'S ACTIVELY
HOSTILE TO LOW INCOME RESIDENTS.
AND GAY PRIDE, WHICH USED TO BE
A HUGE DEAL IN THE WEST VILLAGE,
THE BUILDING MY PARENTS STILL
LIVE IN HIRED PRIVATE SECURITY
LAST YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME TO
PREVENT, I GUESS, WHAT THEY SAW
AS A THREAT FROM GAY PRIDE.
THAT JUST GIVES YOU AN EXAMPLE
OF THE KIND OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE
MOVED INTO THIS JACOBIAN
PARADISE, AND I THINK THAT'S
EXACTLY RIGHT.
IT'S A DEAD NEIGHBOURHOOD.
THERE'S NOTHING THAT CAN BE
GARNERED FROM LIVING THERE, FROM
EXPLORING ITS STREETS, EXCEPT
FOR, YOU KNOW, SHOPPING.

Steve says NATHAN, WHAT'S YOUR
TAKE ON THAT?

Nathan says I THINK
THAT'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT IN A
SENSE, BUT SHE ALSO DID ACTUALLY
KIND OF RECOGNIZE THAT THIS WAS
A SEVERE PROBLEM THAT CITIES
HAVE AS A BUILT-IN ASPECT OF
THEIR ECONOMIES.
SHE CALLED IT THE SELF
DESTRUCTION OF DIVERSITY, AND SO
I THINK... IT'S NOT EXACTLY
SYNONYMOUS WITH GENERAL TARIFF
INDICATION IN THE...
GENTRIFICATION, AS SHE SAW IT AS
PEOPLE MOVING IN BOTH OF HIGHER
INCOMES AND HIGHER EDUCATION
LEVELS AT A SMALL SCALE AS
SOMETHING THAT'S OKAY AS LONG AS
THEY INTEGRATE INTO THE EXISTING
COMMUNITY AND DON'T DISRUPT IT,
WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE SEE
TODAY.
AS THAT PROCESS CONTINUES ON, IT
BECOMES INCREASINGLY HOMOGENOUS
AND DOESN'T ALLOW DIVERSITY, IN
TERMS OF INCOME BUT DIFFERENT
KINDS OF USES AND THE CREATIVE
ECONOMIES THAT CITIES CAN
PRODUCE AT THEIR BEST.

Steve says I KNOW IT'S SOMEWHAT
SACRILEGIOUS TO CRITICIZE JANE
IN SOME CIRCLES.
I WANT TO GO BACK TO LEV'S PIECE.
LET'S HEAR MORE OF THIS.
BOARD 3, PLEASE, SHELDON.

Another quote from Bratishenko appears on screen, under the title "Middle-class white lady." The quote reads "Unfortunately, there are a lot of things you do not see, especially if you are a middle-aged, middle-class white lady in 1950 New York. What you see depends on who you are, and many of Jacobs's appealing dictums seem much less universal once you consider race, class, ethnicity or other less visible relationships of power. Tweak to those and step outside Jacobs's crackling narrative, and suddenly all you can see is what she leaves out. It is unpleasant but it is necessary, for whoever today invokes her blindly invokes also her blindness."

Steve says MIDDLE CLASS WHITE LADY.
THIS IS KIND OF A TOUGH SHOT, JENNIFER.
IS THERE SOMETHING TO THIS
CRITICISM AS WELL?

Jennifer says WELL, I
THINK THERE IS SOMETHING TO THE
CRITICISM AND I THINK IT'S
IMPORTANT TO ALSO HISTORICALLY
LOCATE JACOBS IN HER TIME.
I THINK THAT'S ONLY A FAIR THING TO DO.
BUT I ALSO THINK... I ACTUALLY
THINK IT'S UNDULY HARSH, IN PART
BECAUSE THE FUNDAMENTAL PREMISE
OF HER THINKING WAS ABOUT IDEAS
AND CREATIVITY AND PLANNING
EMERGING FROM THE GRASS ROOTS
UP, WHICH INHERENTLY IS NOT
ABOUT THE WHITE MIDDLE CLASS
WOMAN TELLING COMMUNITIES HOW
THEY SHOULD BE, BUT ACTUALLY
PUTTING SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES IN
PLACE TO ALLOW COMMUNITIES TO
HAVE SELF DETERMINATION.
AND THIS IS THE REASON WHY YOU
CAN'T REALLY POINT TO THE
COMMUNITY AND SAY, THAT'S A JANE
JACOBS COMMUNITY, BECAUSE THE
REALITY IS, THERE'S LOTS OF
DIFFERENT WAYS THAT COMMUNITIES
ARE GOING TO EVOLVE AND CHANGE,
AND AS A RESULT, EMBODY THOSE
PRINCIPLES THAT SHE IN FACT
TALKED ABOUT IN HER WORK.
IN THE CITY OF TORONTO RIGHT
NOW, WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED A
DESIGN REVIEW PANEL... A
PLANNING REVIEW PANEL, AND WE
SENT OUT A CIVIC LOTTERY TO
ADVISE THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT
ON HOW WE GO ABOUT OUR
RECOMMENDING PLANNING POLICY TO
CITY COUNCIL AND WE DID THAT FOR
A SIMPLE REASON, BECAUSE WE'RE
CONSCIOUS AS PLANNERS, WE DON'T
LIVE IN EVERY CORNER OF
EXPERIENCE, WE DON'T REPRESENT
EVERY EXPERIENCE AND DEMOGRAPHIC
IN THE CITY, SO WE HAVE THIS
RICH PANEL OF 28 PEOPLE, WHO ARE
EVERY COLOUR OF THE RAINBOW, WHO
HAVE EVERY KIND OF HISTORY YOU
CAN IMAGINE...

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY RICH,
YOU DON'T MEAN MONEY, YOU MEAN...

Jennifer says ACTUALLY, THEY ARE
REPRESENTATIVE OF A
SOCIOECONOMIC DEMOGRAPHIC IN THE CITY.
THEY ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF
TENANTS AND OWNERS.
THEY HAVE EVERY KIND OF DIVERSE
COMPONENT WITHIN THEM, THIS GROUP.

Steve says RICH MEANING ALL THE
BASES COVERED.

Jennifer says WE GET
EVERY KIND OF PERSPECTIVE YOU
CAN IMAGINE.
YOU'VE GOT OLD, YOU'VE GOT
YOUNG, ABLE-BODIED, PEOPLE NOT
ABLE-BODIED, ALL PARTICIPATING
AND GIVING THEIR PERSPECTIVE.
TO ME, JANE JACOBS NEVER TALKED
ABOUT HAVING A PLANNING REVIEW
PANEL, BUT TO ME, THE FACT WE
HAVE DONE THAT AND WE'RE
IMPLEMENTING IT AND USING THIS
DIVERSITY OF PERSPECTIVES TO
GIVE US ANOTHER WINDOW INTO HOW
WE DESIGN PLANNING POLICY IS
ACTUALLY FUNDAMENTALLY JACOBIAN
BECAUSE IT GOES BACK TO THIS
NOTION THAT YOU NEED A WHOLE
DIVERSITY OF PERSPECTIVES, AND
REMEMBER, SHE WAS REACTING IN
HER ENGAGEMENT, HER RELUCTANT
ACTIVISM, ACTUALLY CAME IN
RESPONSE TO EXACTLY THE
OPPOSITE: ONE WHITE GUY
BASICALLY TAKING A MAP AND
GROWING, WHOOSH, AND WIPING THE
SLATE CLEAN AND SAYING THERE'S
NOTHING VALUABLE ABOUT THIS
NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Steve says THIS IS ROBERT MOSES.

Jennifer says ROBERT
MOSES.
I'M GOING TO GET OUT THE
BULLDOZERS AND FLATTEN THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD, ALL THE ETHNIC
STORES, EW, THEY'RE NOT NICE IN
THE CITY.
LET'S HAVE BIG, LARGE SWEEPING SPACES.

A black and white picture shows a Manhattan street in the 1950s.

Jennifer continues LET'S GET RID OF THAT NUANCE,
LET'S GET RID OF THAT CHARACTER.
AND THE KEY REALLY PRINCIPLE
FROM JANE JACOBS' THINKING IS TO
ACTUALLY SAY, WAIT A MINUTE.
IF WE OBSERVE THE DYNAMIC OF
WHAT MAKES A RICH COMMUNITY...
RICH IN THE BROADEST SENSE, NOT
A MONETARY SENSE... AND WHAT
MAKES A DYNAMIC PLACE WHERE
PEOPLE THRIVE AND WHERE THEY
BELONG AND WHERE THERE'S A
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PEOPLE,
THEN WE'RE ACTUALLY GOING TO
PLAN DIFFERENTLY.
WE'RE GOING TO RECOGNIZE THAT
ALLOWING AND PUTTING THE
PARAMETERS IN PLACE SUCH THAT
PEOPLE CAN FLOURISH IS IN FACT
GOING TO CREATE REALLY GREAT
PLACES, AND I AGREE, THE EXAMPLE
GIVEN IN NEW YORK THAT HAS
REALLY BECOME STERILIZED, JUST
BECAUSE JANE JACOBS LIVED THERE,
I DON'T THINK IF YOU WERE TO
GIVE THAT EXAMPLE TO JANE TODAY,
IN KEEPING WITH NATHAN'S
COMMENTS, SHE WOULD SAY, YEAH,
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I TALKED
ABOUT.
I TALKED ABOUT THE SELF
DESTRUCTION OF DIVERSITY, AND
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S HAPPENED
IN THAT CONTEXT AND IT'S EXACTLY
WHY WE NEED PUBLIC POLICY SO
THAT THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN BECAUSE
THE FREE HAND OF THE MARKET WILL
MEAN THAT YOU WILL IN FACT
INEVITABLY STERILIZE AND REPAINT
EVERYONE OUT OF A NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Steve says HAVING SAID THAT,
PETER, LET ME GOING TO YOU ON
THIS, WAS JACOBS NAIVE IN
THINKING THAT UPPER CLASS WHITES
WOULD WANT TO LIVE WITH, SAY,
LOWER INCOME BLACKS IN THE SAME
NEIGHBOURHOOD IN NEW YORK?

Peter says YEAH, I
MEAN, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO ANSWER
THAT QUESTION.
I WOULD JUST LIKE TO CLARIFY,
FIRST OF ALL, THAT I'M NOT A FAN
OF ROBERT MOSES AND I DON'T
THINK MOST PEOPLE WHO WORK IN
PLANNING THESE DAYS ARE.
IF I HAD TO PICK A CAMP, I WOULD
PICK JACOBS FOR SURE.
BUT I DO THINK, AGAIN, THIS
ISN'T ABOUT HER BEING WRONG,
IT'S ABOUT HER ONLY KIND OF
UNDERSTANDING HALF THE STORY.
NOT ONLY THAT, BUT HOW WE
INTERPRET HER THINKING IN THE
MODERN AGE.
WE ONLY REMEMBER THE PARTS ABOUT
THE CUTE STREETS AND THE TREES
AND THE SMALL AND DIVERSE SHOPS.
WE DON'T REMEMBER THE ECONOMIC
CRITIQUE SHE GAVE IN HER LATER
BOOKS.
WE DON'T REMEMBER IN 2004 SHE
WROTE A BOOK CALLED "DARK TIMES
AHEAD," WHERE SHE SAID IF WE
DON'T SOLVE ECONOMIC INEQUALITY
THROUGH MASSIVE SOCIAL PROGRAMS,
WE'LL LIVE IN CITIES THAT ARE
INHABITABLE IN MANY CITIES AND
PROTESTS AND THINGS WE'RE SEEING
NOW IN THE UNITED STATES.
THAT IS NOT OBVIOUSLY JACOBS'
FAULT, BUT IT IS A FAULT HOW
URBAN PLANNERS REMEMBER HER.
IT'S MUCH EASIER TO PLANT A TREE
THAN PROVIDE ECONOMIC EQUALITY
FOR YOUR RESIDENTS.
WITHOUT THE ECONOMIC EQUALITY,
THE POINT OF HER BOOK IS MOOT IN
MY OPINION.

Steve says NATHAN, LET ME TRY
THIS WITH YOU.
YOU CAN DO ALL THE SOCIAL
ENGINEERING AND PLANNING YOU
WANT TO DO, BUT ONE WONDERS AT
THE END OF THE DAY IF IT'S NOT
HUMAN NATURE FOR PEOPLE TO SORT
OF STRIVE TO LIVE IN THE BEST
POSSIBLE NEIGHBOURHOOD YOU CAN
DEFINE "BEST" HOWEVER YOU WANT,
THE BEST POSSIBLE NEIGHBOURHOOD
WITH PEOPLE, FRANKLY, WHO ARE
JUST LIKE THEM.
THAT'S HUMAN NATURE, ISN'T IT?

Nathan says I THINK
THAT'S A COMPLICATED QUESTION.
JACOBS DIDN'T NECESSARILY DO A
GOOD JOB TO UNPACK IT, BUT I
WILL SAY THAT ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT DOES GET LEFT OUT, TO
PETER'S POINT, IS HER SUPPORT OF
PUBLIC HOUSING, ACTUALLY, AND
SHE HAS AN ENTIRE CHAPTER NEAR
THE END OF "DEATH AND LIFE" THAT
SEEMS LIKE NO ONE EVER GOT TO,
THEY JUST READ THE FIRST HALF,
WHERE SHE TALKS ABOUT HOW YOU
COULD REFORM PUBLIC HOUSING AND
THE NEED FOR IT IN CITIES, AND
REALLY THE BIG THING THAT SHE
GOT AT THAT WAS IT SHOULDN'T BE
A CONCENTRATION OF MASSIVE
AMOUNTS OF POVERTY, AN ISLAND
WITHIN THE CITY.
IT SHOULD BE EVERYWHERE.
IT SHOULD BE INTEGRATED INTO
EVERY NEIGHBOURHOOD IN WAYS THAT
ARE KIND OF, YOU KNOW, DON'T
SEEM OUT OF PLACE, RIGHT?
AND TORONTO ACTUALLY HAS A GREAT
HISTORY OF THAT.

Jennifer says YOU
KNOW, THAT'S A REALLY GOOD
EXAMPLE OF HOW THAT IDEA IS
SOMETHING THAT WE JUST TAKE FOR
GRANTED NOW ACROSS ALL OF
CANADA, THAT SOCIAL HOUSING
SHOULDN'T BE CLUSTERED BUT IN
FACT IT SHOULD BE DISPERSED AND
THAT EVERY NEIGHBOURHOOD, IF
IT'S A COMPLETE COMMUNITY, HAS A
DIVERSITY OF HOUSING TYPES, A
DIVERSITY OF HOUSING TENURES,
MEANING YOU CAN RENT, YOU CAN
OWN, AND THAT WE OUGHT TO, IN
ORDER TO CREATE REALLY LIVABLE
COMMUNITIES, HAVE FULLY
INTEGRATED COMMUNITIES AND THAT
YOU NEED PUBLIC POLICY LIKE
INCLUSIONARY ZONING IN ORDER TO
DELIVER ON THAT.
THAT'S AN EXAMPLE OF A REALLY
POWERFUL IDEA.
I WOULDN'T SAY THAT PEOPLE KIND
OF READ IT AND FORGOT ABOUT IT.
WE READ IT, WE BOUGHT INTO IT,
AND WE'RE DOING IT FROM
VANCOUVER TO Montréal TO TORONTO.
WE'RE DOING IT.
YEP, WE'RE NOT DOING IT THAT OLD
AY THAT WAS DONE IN THE '50s AND '60s.
IT'S SORT OF BECOME COMMON
KNOWLEDGE THAT THAT'S A BETTER MODEL.

The caption changes to "Relevant today?"

Nathan says I THINK
IT'S DIFFERENT IN THE STATES.

Jennifer says MAYBE.

Nathan says PEOPLE
REMEMBER HER VERY DIFFERENTLY
DEPENDING WHERE YOU ARE.
IN CANADA SHE IS THOUGHT OF AS A
CONTEMPORARY FIGURE, WAS WRITING
BOOKS UNTIL THE TIME OF HER
DEATH.
IN THE STATES SHE IS STILL VERY
MUCH... PETER CAN SPEAK BETTER
TO THIS... BUT SHE IS THOUGHT OF
AS A CHARACTER OF THE '60s AND
"DEATH AND LIFE" WAS THE KEY
WORK.
PEOPLE REMEMBER HER AS A
PRESERVATIONIST AND AN ACTIVIST.
AS WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, SHE
IS A MUCH MORE RICH THINKER WHO
HAS ALL SORTS OF THINGS TO SAY
ABOUT ALL SORTS OF MATTERS.

Steve says PETER, DO YOU WANT
TO WEIGH IN ON THAT?

Peter says YEAH, I
THINK PEOPLE IN THE UNITED
STATES STILL THINK OF HER AS A
RELEVANT FIGURE, BUT WE HAVE A
LOT OF PROBLEMS HERE, AS I'M
SURE YOU KNOW, AND YOU DO IN
CANADA AS WELL.
BUT WHEN WE'RE DESTROYING TENS
OF THOUSANDS OF PUBLIC HOUSING
UNITS OVER THE LAST DECADE,
WHICH WE'VE DONE, AND THAT CAME
OUT OF THE IDEA THAT PUBLIC
HOUSING SHOULD BE, QUOTE,
UNQUOTE, INTEGRATED, INSTEAD
CITIES DEMOLISHED ALL OF THEIR
PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS AND
DIDN'T REBUILD THEM.
WHEN YOU HAVE MASSIVE INCOME
INEQUALITY, JACOBS' IDEAS DON'T
SEEM RELEVANT BECAUSE IT SEEMS
LIKE THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT
THINGS TO FOCUS ON.
WHEN I WROTE THIS PIECE FOR
SLATE A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO
SAID TIME TO FORGET ABOUT JANE
JACOBS, IT'S NOT THAT SHE'S NOT
RELEVANT, IT'S THAT WE NEED TO
ADDRESS SO MANY THINGS IN CITIES
THAT ARE PLAGUING AMERICAN
CITIES AND JUST FOCUSING ON HER
AESTHETIC VALUES ALLOWS US TO
IGNORE THOSE OTHER THINGS.

Steve says GOTCHA.
NATE?

Nathan says YOU KNOW,
I THINK THAT'S ABSOLUTELY FAIR
AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS
AGAIN THAT GETS OVERLOOKED IN
HER WORK IS HER THOUGHTS ON
SOCIAL MOBILITY, AND
PARTICULARLY THE ROLE OF PLACE
IN FOSTERING SOCIAL MOBILITY.
YOU KNOW, THE NEIGHBOURHOOD THAT
SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT AT THAT
TIME, AND MAYBE WE CAN'T MAKE
THOSE PLACES QUITE THE SAME
ANYMORE, BUT THERE WAS A STRONG
SENSE OF SOCIAL CAPITAL WITHIN
THE COMMUNITY THERE, PARTLY
BECAUSE OF THE STABILITY OF THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD.
AND THAT ALLOWED PEOPLE WHO GOT
AHEAD, THROUGH SOCIAL MOBILITY,
BECAUSE THEY... YOU KNOW,
ESSENTIALLY, AS THEY SAY, PULLED
THEMSELVES UP BY THEIR BOOT
STRAPS, WERE ABLE TO CONNECT TO
THE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE
NEIGHBOURHOOD AND HELP THEM WHEN
THEY NEEDED.
BUT WHEN YOU HAVE THIS SORT OF
DYNAMIC OF HYPER GENTRIFICATION,
IT TOTALLY WIPES OUT THAT
STABILITY IN NEIGHBOURHOODS.

Steve says DOWN TO OUR LAST FEW
MINUTES.
JENNIFER, JANE JACOBS CLEARLY
WAS A HERO TO A LOT OF PEOPLE,
PARTICULARLY WHEN SHE LED THE
SUCCESSFUL FIGHT TO STOP THE
SPADINA HIGHWAY.
SHE MAY HAVE USHERED IN AN ERA
WHERE PEOPLE CAME TO THE
CONCLUSION THAT YOU REALLY CAN'T
GET ANYTHING BUILT IN THIS CITY
ANYMORE BECAUSE SOME GROUP IS
GOING TO PROTEST IT OR THE
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT IS
GOING TO GO ON FOR 30 YEARS SO
IN EFFECT YOU CAN'T GET ANYTHING DONE.
DOES SHE HAVE TO CARRY THE
CAN ON THAT ONE?

Jennifer says IT COMES
TO THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION, YOU
HAVE TO DO SOMETHING DESTRUCTIVE
OR NOTHING AT ALL.
I LIVED AND WORKED IN MANY
CITIES THAT DIDN'T GO THROUGH
THAT PERIOD AND AS A RESULT THEY
WERE KIND OF SAVED, QUITE
FRANKLY, BECAUSE THAT ERA NEVER
HAPPENED.
THEY DIDN'T EMBRACE BUILDING
EXPRESSWAYS, AND AS A RESULT,
THE HERITAGE BUILDINGS, THE KEY
INFRASTRUCTURE, BEAUTIFUL
NEIGHBOURHOODS WERE ACTUALLY
SAVED.
SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S KIND OF A
FUNNY QUESTION.
AT THE END OF THE DAY, DO YOU
WANT TO BUILD SOMETHING BAD OR
IS IT BETTER TO BUILD NOTHING AT
ALL?
I WOULD ARGUE IT'S BETTER TO BE
STATIC.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE IN THE
G.T.A., WE HAVE NOT BEEN STATIC.
WE'VE BEEN BUILDING GANGBUSTERS.
SO THE IDEA THAT WE HAVE SOMEHOW
STOPPED I THINK IS... IT'S
SIMPLY NOT ACCURATE.
ON THE FLIPSIDE, I DO THINK THAT
FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, WE
HAVE GONE THROUGH AN ERA WHERE
WE'VE ACTUALLY BEEN AFRAID OF
LARGE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS.
NOW, THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE
PROJECT IN HISTORY IS BEING
BUILT RIGHT OUTSIDE THESE DOORS,
EGLINTON CROSSTOWN, 22
KILOMETRES OF LRT...

Steve says 6 BILLION?

Jennifer says 6 BILLION.
AND BEING BUILT RIGHT NOW AND
WE'RE HALFWAY THROUGH THE
PROCESS.
SO I THINK WE'RE STARTING TO GET
OUR HEADS AROUND... THE MAYOR
ANNOUNCED TOLLS FOR BUILDING
TRANSIT AND OTHER KEY
INFRASTRUCTURE.
WE'RE STARTING TO GET OUR HEADS
AROUND.
THE TITLE OF THIS PRESENTATION
TODAY WAS "TIME TO BUILD."
I DO THINK THAT WE'RE BUILDING
PUBLIC CONFIDENCE, WE HAVE
BETTER PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS
THAT WE'VE HAD IN OUR PUBLIC
PROCESSES THAT WE'VE HAD IN THE
PAST THAT WILL BUILD CONFIDENCE,
BUT I THINK FROM MY PERSPECTIVE,
IT'S BETTER TO BUILD NOTHING AT
ALL THAN TO BUILD SOMETHING
THAT'S INHERENTLY DESTRUCTIVE.

Steve says LAST 30 SECONDS TO
YOU THEN, NATE.
IT'S A BIT PRECIOUS TO WONDER
WHAT JANE WOULD SAY TODAY IF SHE
WERE ALIVE, BUT LET'S DO IT
ANYWAY.
THERE ARE A LOT OF TALL
BUILDINGS GOING UP IN THE
CAPITAL CITY OF ONTARIO THESE
DAYS.
WHAT WOULD SHE MAKE OF THAT?

Nathan says THAT'S A
TRICKY QUESTION.
SHE WAS KIND OF AGNOSTIC ABOUT
TALL BUILDINGS.
THE IMPRESSION WAS SHE WOULD
LOVE EVERYTHING TO BE LOW-LYING
AND ALL THAT STUFF.
I THINK REALLY IT HAD MORE TO DO
WITH THE DEVIL IS IN THE
DETAILS, RIGHT?
DOES IT STILL ALLOW SUN INTO THE
STREET?
SURE.
THERE'S THAT AESTHETIC SIDE OF
IT.
BUT WHAT ARE YOU GETTING RID OF
WHEN YOU BUILD THOSE BUILDINGS,
RIGHT?
WHAT IS ACTUALLY WIPED AWAY?
ARE THE SMALL BUSINESSES THAT
ARE DISPLACED, DO THEY ACTUALLY
RELOCATE, OR ARE THEY GONE
FOREVER?
MAYBE JENNIFER CAN SPEAK TO THIS...

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas"

Steve says NO, SHE CAN'T,
BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME.
SO GLAD YOU CAME IN FOR THIS,
PETER MOSKOWITZ NICE OF YOU TO
JOIN US ON THE LINE FROM
CALLICOON, NEW YORK, HIS NEWEST
IS "HOW TO KILL A CITY."
JENNIFER KEESMAAT, KEY PLANNER
FOR THE CITY OF TORONTO.
AND NATHAN STORRING "VITAL
LITTLE PLANS: THE SHORT WORKS OF
JANE JACOBS."
THANKS, EVERYBODY.

Watch: Jane Jacobs Revisited