16 January 2011


Jane Jacobs might've told 'em as much...

"Now there are signs that the cult of clean has overshot its utility. [Spacings senior editor Dylan] Reid connects cleanliness to problems like 'bigger roads, sanitized suburbs, and failed megaprojects that destroyed the complex ecology of cities even as they tried to revive them.'

'Messy urbanism' is the term coined for an alternative to all of this neatness; it’s an attempt to strike a compromise between the need for order and maintaining the unplanned, energetic, and chaotic nature of city life. Not only does the nascent movement espouse structural diversity—old alongside the new, expensive alongside the cheap—it encourages looser governance and a higher tolerance for disorder.

Street food carts are a perfect example: They’re banned or highly regulated in most places. Yet, Reid points out, a sociologist studying New York City found that a solitary hot dog vendor can bring an entire plaza to life. For all the wannabe policy makers out there who are trying to kick-start stalled metropolises, that’s food for thought."

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