Cities: May 2004 Archives

A great quote from urban observer Jane Jacobs, who has a new book out, and whose Death and Life of Great American Cities will get a "BatesLine Bookshelf" entry one of these days:

New York still has so much pizzazz, because people make it new every day. Like all cities, itís self-organizing. People looking for a date on Third Avenue make it into a place full of hope and expectation, and this has nothing to do with architecture. Those are the emotions that draw us to cities, and they depend on things being a bit messy. The most perfectly designed place canít compete. Everything is provided, which is the worst thing we can provide. Thereís a joke that the father of an old friend used to tell, about a preacher who warns children, "In Hell there will be wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth." "What if you donít have teeth?" one of the children asks. "Then teeth will be provided," he says sternly. Thatís itóthe spirit of the designed city: Teeth Will Be Provided for You.

Thanks to Marvin Olasky in World Magazine's blog who linked to an entry on Blog9 which linked to the New Yorker's Talk of the Town item on Jane Jacobs.

And here is a link to blog9's account of Jane Jacobs' recent talk promoting her new book.

A friend sends along a couple of Chicago Tribune articles (free registration required) about Paducah, a small city (27,000) on the Ohio River in western Kentucky. The city is providing incentives to encourage artists to relocate in and revitalize a struggling older neighborhood. So far they've spent $600,000 on direct incentives, are spending another $1.2 million on infrastructure improvements in the neighborhood, and they claim to have seen $7 million in private investment by the artists themselves.

(Here's a link to another article about Paducah on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's website which doesn't require registration.)

The inspiration was Paducah's Artist Relocation Program, which has exerted the same magnetic pull on others who've dreamed of living, working and, most importantly, owning in a neighborhood of like-minded residents. In 2 1/2 years, nearly 40 people have moved here to transform a beat-up area of homes known as Lower Town into a blossoming art colony.

The newcomers have come from as far away as San Francisco and Massachusetts to take advantage of incentives making it easy for them to buy old houses -- at dirt-cheap prices -- to turn into studios and galleries. Almost to a person, these painters, sculptors, muralists, printmakers and jewelers say they never, ever pictured themselves moving to Kentucky.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Cities category from May 2004.

Cities: April 2004 is the previous archive.

Cities: June 2004 is the next archive.

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