New Ideas Require Old Buildings

by | Mar 11, 2004

Urban Planning guru, Jane Jacobs, author of the seminal text, The Death and Life of Great American Cities , moved with her husband and two sons to Toronto in 1968 in opposition of the Vietnam War. She stayed and became a Canadian citizen. She had earlier rebellions, as well. In Greenwich Village she stood to fight the powerful Robert Moses, and his lame-brained road building schemes that threatened to wipe out good portions of lower Manhattan.

I first heard her name but one year ago, while attending a presentation at SXSW in Austin by Carnegie Mellon professor, Richard Florida . He said Jacobs said, “New ideas require old buildings.” This is a sentiment that strikes a deep chord in me. I have yet to read Jacob’s best works, but from what I have read , I know she gives voice to things I have long held to be true.