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The People That Light Up Downtown

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by YouMe

Jane Jacobs’ essay “Downtown is for People” unlined density as one of the principle driving factor of a lively and exciting downtown. She believes density is what makes downtowns lively and sensible. Healthy cities, In Jacob’s point of view, should encourage social interacting at the street level and pedestrian friendly infrastructure. To share a city in Jacob’s ideology is to …

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The Urban Planner’s Utopian Gaze

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Sara Nuta

There is something eerily futuristic and surreal about architectural renderings. It’s always been difficult for me to picture real people in these spaces as these images appear so removed from reality. Just as the architectural renderings seem utopian and artificial, many of the plans proposed by these developers are not pragmatic nor effective in reality. According to Jacobs, urban planners …

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Going to Court

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Olivia

Jane Jacobs’ picture of downtown hinges on the idea of diversity and the bringing-together of things that might not on their own. I myself am really enamoured of mixed-use spaces, which actively facilitate the comingling. Different types of businesses and different genres of spaces (parks, plazas, public art works, etc.) can be deliberately placed to attract people of different neighborhoods, …

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Subway Utopia

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Rachel Stern

The NYC subway is a microcosm of the city. The complicated human interaction, the smells, the dirt, the crowds; it all makes the subway what it is. However, just as the best streets in New York don’t fit into a view defined by utopian ideas, neither does the subway. One of my favorite parts of NYC is the few blocks …

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One World Trade

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Elias Duncan

About 15 years ago two iconic postmodern towers that served as paragons of culture New York and its skyline, were tragically destroyed. Almost immediately, the port authority began to make plans to rebuild the New York City’s World Trade Center districts from scratch. After years of deliberating amongst developers and citizens, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey …

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Jacobs and The North End

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Elias Duncan

Jane Jacobs was a pioneer urban activist who approached urban planning and design with community-based criticisms and ideas. Her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, was a revolutionary text that expressed her qualms about the direction American urban planning was taking. As we learned through the reading and in class, she butted heads with Robert Moses and …

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The Urban Planner’s Utopian Gaze

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Sara Nuta

There is something eerily futuristic and surreal about architectural renderings. It’s always been difficult for me to picture real people in these spaces as these images appear so removed from reality. Just as the architectural renderings seem utopian and artificial, many of the plans proposed by these developers are not pragmatic nor effective in reality. According to Jacobs, urban planners …

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Utopian Autocrats

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Natassja

Utopian ideas, especially those of the urban planning type, are autocratic in the sense that they do not take into account other people’s wishes or opinions. The problem with utopias is that they will chronically look better on paper. Fundamentally, they are theoretical, failing to account for real world conditions, and often failing to be practical in application. One such …

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Tech Utopia?

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Shea

Jane Jacobs’ writing makes an appeal for the common citizen in the face of the master planner. They are doing it right, she contends. The streets are your source material, as they are the arena for citizens to enact their wants and desires. I don’t want to oversimplify Jacob’s argument, but I do mean to emphasize the importance of individual …

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Silent Chinatown

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Erik Arsovski

I do not remember the name of the street. Maybe it has no name. Or maybe one I cannot understand. Each small store, pharmacy, and restaurant lining the short Chinatown street, feature complex Chinese characters. The letterforms cross, sway, lunge, and rest in harmony on top on canvas or plastic awnings. Neon signs buzz vibrant colors as the sun comes …

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What Makes A Wanderer Wander

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Mao

One of my favorite activities when I visit a new city is to walk around. To walk around is to see, to discover what is on streets, where eyes meet a place’s locality, culture, style and history. In the beginning, I would pick a destination–it could be a touristy spot or a local-recommended hidden gem–the point is to start with …

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Serendipitous Utopia

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Lauren P

In the 1958 Fortune Classic article “Downtown is for People,” Jane Jacobs enumerates the features that make an urban environment successful. She posits that architects ought to consider how people use the streets before going to the drawing board in order to avoid disrupting the relationship people have with a space. That relationship, constructed over time based on people’s experiences, …

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Walls and Bays

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Zac Varieur

After spending a lot of time in the Financial District, and walking around the wide boulevards and seeing all the parks and beautiful sights, what shocked me is exactly one of the things that become problematic with overly designed cities: a shifted city. One of the things that I noticed most evidently was the way that the space was being …

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The Resilience of SoHo

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Sam Thornton

Jane Jacobs presented valid concerns about what could happen when a whole section of the city is proposed to be redesigned. What she fought for ended up leaving the city to the people like she wanted in her “Downtown is for People” article. The proposed and somewhat implemented projects style housing in New York would have pushed people vertically in …

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As Long As It Functions

In A Sense of Place, Utopias by Alexandra G

Functionality > Order I like variety. Everyone likes variety. The variety, individuality, and creativity gives places, specifically downtowns, their essence and identity. Each individual contributes to what this essence or identity is with what piece of themselves or their interests they add to it. People very often define a place. Specifically in Manhattan, New Yorkers are what make downtown downtown. …