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Stuytown, Closed to the Public

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Mark Strage

The first time I was exposed to Stuytown I joked that it was just a really expensive project. My friend corrected me. He said it was a really expensive, safe project. In the years since my first exposure I have ended up in various Stuytown units sporadically throughout my time at NYU. I always found the blue light system and …

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Efficiency in City Streets

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Amy

Jane Jacobs discussion on having mixed-use, old and new buildings intermingling in short city blocks is the one way we can build cities in order to support a city lifestyle that is desirable, and is a more efficient use of city spaces. Jacobs theory of urban planning is more desirable when contrasted with the master plans Moses, one of the …

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Oversaturation

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Lindsey Chan

On a typical weekend night, the corner of East 7th Street and Avenue A transforms from a quaint residential and retail block to a nightlife hub, packed with groups of people loitering along the sidewalk in quest for their next watering hole. The streets become congested with the amount of taxi cabs that flock to this area following the crowds …

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Are we into New Urbanism?

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Moi Nihalani

Before I start, I think it is necessary to say that I hope to be an urban planner for at least part of my professional life. With this engrained in who I am and therefore my perspective, how I think and write related to urban issues at least, I really enjoyed the conversation that was strung together between Jane Jacobs, …

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Sidewalk Politics

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Henry Choa

Of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, I most enjoyed reading Jane Jacobs’ thoughts on sidewalks. The role of the sidewalk and the psychology surrounding it is something I give good thought to on a weekly basis. Jacobs seems to have made order out of most of the ideas I have on the subject. Jacobs’ notion of the …

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Living and Livability

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Andrew Karpan

Something that Jane Jacobs positions herself in opposition to, it seems, is the artificiality of the urban aesthetics; the very planned nature of the written out plans and diagrams that exist, on paper and obviously peopleless  Jacobs writes: “…people who are interested only in how a city ‘ought’ to look and uninterested and uninterested in how it works will be …

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Imperfectly Perfect

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Lauren Siff

I get off of the L train around 7:00 PM. I try to figure out what direction I am facing and soon redirect myself to face the bricked building across the way. I take my usual route to my building in Stuyvesant Town, walking past a few of the brick buildings and passing areas of grass that should have flowers …

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The Bad Block

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Prof

Jane Jacob’s theory of what makes a good city is a macro-repackaging of the ideal urban place expressed by William Whyte in The Social Life of Small Urban Places. Whereas, Whyte was interested in maximizing the resident usage of urban places in private squares, Jacobs is interested in a similarly utilitarian objective – maximum safety. So as to achieve this …

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Jacobs and Prevailing Modernism in Lusaka

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Maia Smillie

The theme of the street is one that reoccurs when studying cities and their successes. It seems there is often the tension between top-down and grass roots development within the city. After sitting through one of the Greenwich Village Community Board Meetings I left feeling exhausted and irritated. The inefficiency of the processes in the meeting was so slow and …

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Birds of Passage Securing the Streets

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Cayla Delardi

For Jane Jacobs, one of the main attributes of a good urban space is safety and security. This feeling is fostered by a vast network of strangers who police the streets, voluntarily looking out for both themselves and one another.  In Chapter 2 of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, she also recounts a moment when she witnessed …

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A Skyscraper Joins the Ballet

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Jacob Ford

It takes a careful reading of Jane Jacobs to realize what she really wants of modern city life, and an even more careful one to figure out what she wants to do with its vehicles. She derides eviscerating expressways but begs for more streets. The obvious difference, and Jacobs says this herself, is that the latter invite pedestrian traffic along …

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Ask Them

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Kahala Bonsignore

Jacobs’s primary argument in his book is that city planners and designers operate from a textbook perspective—they fail to include the concerns and desires of the people who will actually inhabit or put to use a space, and they instead create places that sound good in theory however find little practicality once resources have established them.  This, he vehemently condemns …

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Safety in Surveillance

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Jaisal Kapoor

In the second chapter of The Death and Life of American Cities, author Jane Jacobs highlights the importance of sidewalks in creating safety and dynamism in a city. She mentions how a successful city “is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing to it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement …

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Bed-Stuy’s Troublesome Expansion

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Colin Grinnell

I live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. In recent times, it has experienced massive levels of gentrification. The prices of homes has surged. There are new construction projects littering most blocks, some additions and remodels but also many completely new constructions; new constructions replacing old brownstones. There are new restaurants, most of them more expensive than their predecessor. I am a sign …

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Summer in Stuyvesant Town

In A Sense of Place, Utopia by Dylan Beach

The summer after my sophomore year, I moved into my first off campus apartment, located off the ‘20th street loop’ in the north section of Stuyvesent Town. With two other roommates and only one bedroom, I opted for the living room ‘bedroom,’ which was separated from the television and dining area by a DIY curtain barrier. I’m glad I lived …