During my early college studies in Architecture and Urban Design, I became loosely familiar with the ideas of Jane Jacobs, one of the most celebrated urbanist intellectuals. Sanford Ikeda’s FEE lectures [mp3] have inspired me to learn more about Jane Jacobs from a Free Market Urbanism point of view. Here’s an article by Professors Ikeda and Gene Callahan I added to the links page: Jane Jacobs, The Anti-Planner
Jane Jacobs is one of those intellectuals who seem ever on the periphery of the libertarian movement. Her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, can be found on the shelves of many a libertarian, though often unread. Perhaps this is because her name tends to be associated with leftish intellectuals who decry the rise of the suburbs and the decline of the downtowns, even though Jacobs strongly resists being labeled by any ideological movement, left, right, or other.
What is not commonly known, however, is that her works are full of arguments and insights on the economic nature of communities, on central planning, and on ethics that libertarians would find original and enlightening.
In the works of Jacobs, the order present in a well-functioning urban area emerges as the result of human action but not human design. It arises from a myriad of individuals each pursuing their own interest and carrying out their own plans, within a framework of rules that encourages peaceful cooperation over violent aggression.
I have added Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities
to my list of books to read. In fact, I bumped it to next in line. Hopefully her ideas will inspire a series of fresh blog posts.
Economist – An Arable Parable: Is Farmland Undervalued?
With many financial assets in the doldrums and markets spooked by the twin spectres of economic weakness and rising inflation, is it time to head for the hills? Barton Biggs, an investment guru, famously suggested that those wishing to preserve their wealth in times of turmoil should consider buying an “unostentatious farm”. And rural land has long been seen as a good inflation hedge.
But now may not be the most opportune time for investors to swap their wingtips for wellies. After more than two decades in the mire, the value of farmland has soared over the past few years on the back of strong prices for agricultural commodities, low interest rates and urban sprawl. It has become so fashionable that some wonder if it is a bubble waiting to burst.
Brian J. Phillips – NIMBY Songs
The real issue is how to resolve such issues. More and more often, the home owners run to government and seek some law that will prohibit the proposed project. They reject the concept of property rights and seek to impose their values upon the rightful property owner. They reject voluntary, consensual interactions between individuals and seek to substitute the coercive power of government.