2009/02/19

"Urban Goddess: Jane Jacobs Reconsidered" on TVO's The View From Here


Last night TVO premiered a documentary about Jane Jacob's theories, discussed in a modern context. The documentary "Urban Goddess: Jane Jacobs Reconsidered" discussed whether her theories are still relevant in modern city planning. I was disappointed to see that the documentary focused primarily on the debate surrounding new developments in Toronto and New York rather than looking to the future.

All global societies are faced with the potential of a coming energy shortage due to peak oil. Some societies are much more prepared than this for others. It is prudent to plan to be prepared for scenarios like these.

Energy use affects every facet of our lives, from heating, to transportation to food usage. In the extreme scenario, food may become much more scarce with the increase of price of fertilizers derived from crude oil. Meanwhile, transporting food or even driving to work could become cost prohibitive.

Walkable mixed use communities appear to be an effective inoculation against some of the issues posed by energy shortage. For example:
  1. Heating: multi-unit dwellings like apartments, condominiums and even row houses are in general more efficient to heat that separated houses.
  2. Food: cutting down on urban sprawl means that less viable farm land is used for housing. This is especially true in Greater Toronto, where on an almost daily basis more of what is arguably the best farm land on the planet is devoted to new subdivisions.
  3. Transportation: One of the legs that the theory rests on is walkability. This method of transport is the least affected by energy shortages. Walkability also generally means bikability.
In light of these points, Jacobsian planning should not be dismissed as a crutch of NIMBYist debate. Her theories offer cities a more stable future.

You can see the Jacobs doc again on TVO Sunday, February 22 - 10:37 PM and February 25 at 01:02 AM.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Your Comments as we were hoping to find it OnLine at TVO to watch after the BroadCast dates we missed & WERE HOPING for some Incite but it appears NOT
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