Jane Jacobs & the Republican Radicals
A team of filmmakers planning a documentary on Jane Jacobs asked me recently about the original reviews of *The Death and Life of Great American Cities*, her famous critique of city planners and their destruction of vital city neighborhoods. I told the filmmakers that writers like Jane are usually attacked by beneficiaries of entrenched institutions and that she was no exception. But I also said that I was pleasantly surprised by the positive response to Jane’s book from New York’s so-called Upper West Side intellectuals, most of whom had previously supported and hoped to strengthen the moderate social welfare state but were now fiercely opposed to it. Had these proto-neocons misread *The Death and Life of Great American Cities* as a generalized assault on government as such rather than a critique of a particular case of government excess?
March 30, 2012