Building Like Moses With Jacobs In Mind: Contemporary Planning In New York City
by Scott Larson /
2013 / English / PDF
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The antagonism between urbanist and writer Jane Jacobs and master builder Robert Moses may frame debates over urban form, but in "Building Like Moses with Jacobs in Mind", Scott Larson aims to use the Moses-Jacobs rivalry as a means for examining and understanding the New York City administration's redevelopment strategies and actions. By showing how the Bloomberg administration's plans borrow selectively from Moses' and Jacobs' writing, Larson lays bare the contradictions buried in such rhetoric and argues that there can be no equitable solution to the social and economic goals for redevelopment in New York City with such a strategy. "Building Like Moses with Jacobs in Mind" offers a lively critique that shows how the legacies of these two planners have been interpreted - and reinterpreted - over time and with the evolution of urban space. Ultimately, he makes the case that neither figure offers a meaningful model for addressing stubborn problems - poverty, lack of affordable housing, and segregation along class and racial lines - that continue to vex today's cities. Scott Larson is an independent scholar who has taught geography and urban studies at Vassar College, Queens College, and Hunter College.