Since new urbanists (in my experience) tend to be very skittish of high-rise development, one might think that their ideological ancestor Jane Jacobs was one of these people who thought no building should be over five floors.
But in her 1958 essay “Downtown Is For People,” she hinted at a very different view, describing New York City’s Lever House and Seagram Building as among the city’s “extraordinary crown jewels.” Similarly, she described San Francisco’s Union Square (which bordered buildings of wildly varying heights) as “the city at its best.”
Jacobs was not against height–but she was against monotony. She wrote, for example, that Park Avenue should “have the most commercially astute and urbanite collection possible of one- and two-story shops, terraced restaurants, bars, fountains and nooks.” So I’m not sure she would have favored the common modern idea that high-rise and low-rise buildings should be segregated from each other, or that buildings of different density are “out of scale.”
Eric45354 saysMay 31, 2016 at 12:25 pm
I think she was about a radical sort of practicality, which rejected aesthetic visions of any sort in favor of natural development by humans according to their needs. That would rule out towers in a part, but it would also rule out the kind of visions favored by urbanists, even if the harm caused by the latter is smaller in magnitude.
Nalejbank saysJune 1, 2016 at 11:16 pm
Why not just keep government small and leave people and their property alone?
The alternative is pushing people around.
Aren’t we over that yet?
When does one ever own one’s property?
Flakker saysJune 5, 2016 at 7:33 pm
Please source the idea that NUs are skittish about high-rises. To me it’s not so much opposition to high-rises as seeing American cities not meriting them, mostly. Even many small cities have fairly tall buildings. Too much height isn’t the issue, lack of density is. The building of skyscrapers in most of the US today is analogous to a town’s sewage treatment plant being overloaded and the town deciding to rebuild and widen the sewerage in response. It’s solving what would be a related problem if said problem existed.