Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two Types of Urban Change

As Jane Jacobs laid out, symbolically, for Roberta Gratz (ht/Michelle K):

"There are two kinds of change and you can symbolize them on the land. There's the kind of change in which the topsoil is being built up, and it's being made more fertile and is good husbandry of the land. The land is changing when you do that, but it is positive change. There's a kind of change that's just as definitively change--that's erosion. Gullies are being dug in the land, and the topsoil is being carried away and it's being made infertile. The fact that it's changed doesn't mean that it's progress. It's ruin. But people were, for a long time, brainwashed into the idea that every sort of change in a city was progress. 'Well, yes, it's bad, but that's progress.' No, that's erosion."

Her descriptions speak to me because I've seen those two divergent types of change in a city.  And I know from experience that I don't like the destructive "erosion" type. 

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