Wednesday, May 18, 2011

jane jacobs and the death and life of american planning

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
— T. S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

During a recent retreat here at Chapel Hill, planning faculty conducted a brainstorming session in which each professor — including me — was asked to list, anonymously, some of the major issues and concerns facing the profession today. These lists were then collected and transcribed on the whiteboard. All the expected themes were there — sustainability and global warming, equity and justice, peak oil, immigration, urban sprawl and public health, retrofitting suburbia, and so on. But also on the board appeared, like a sacrilegious graffito, the words "Trivial Profession." [1] When we voted to rank the listed items in order of importance, "Trivial Profession" was placed — lo and behold — close to the top. This surprised and alarmed a number of us. Here were members of one of the finest planning faculties in America, at one of the most respected programs in the world, suggesting that their chosen field was minor and irrelevant.
via design observer


  1. Since the activity involves all, it is safe to say that the scary thing was a real concern for everyone that's why it is scary, but this also tells us that a lot of people is aware and available to address the problem. The event when the scary thing appeared is a proof of willingness to solve the problem

  2. I agree freight audit, I think what he was trying to say is when scary things happen and the reaction to it, even small, is already proof of willingness to solve the issue.