It was like:
* Sometime in the sixties, Robert Moses, the famous New York master builder, wanted to redevelop huge areas of New York.He basically wanted to tear up entire neighbourhoods, including Harlem and the Bronx, and build modern high-rise residential buildings. He was extremely powerful, being massively involved in politics. A middle aged journalist from Greenwich Village called Jane Jacobs was against this idea. She argued that redeveloping neighbourhoods would rip out the heart and soul of New York. A modern antithesis would be gated communities - absolutely soulless places for rich people to isolated themselves.
* Jane Jacobs described common elements of these neighbourhoods primarily: they had a genuine sense of community, people knew and helped each other; secondly: These neighbourhoods, contrary to expectations, were safe. compared to districts which were carefully designed by urban planners who were subsequently shocked to discover that these areas soon became crime-ridden, dangerous and neglected.
* Jane Jacobs was adamantly against the idea of the destruction of old neighbourhoods. which Robert Moses and many others wanted to see, in favour of brand-new, rigidly designed high-rise buildings. and even though it was one middle-aged journalist from Greenwich Village versus some of the most powerful men in New York, or eve America.. Jane Jacobs defeated the redevelopment plans, mainly due to her book The Death and Life of American Cities, but also due to her amazing street activism.
* On this film:
* It is a very character-driven documentary. The city development is not human drama.
* On Jane Jacobs
* Jane Jacobs compared the neighbourhoods of great American cities like NYC, Philly, Chicage, and found some common features of the neighbourhoods. She considered the best in terms of social cohesion and cultural richness. As an outsider of urban planning,
* She argued that for a neighbourhood to flourish, it must have emerged organically and not, as many urban planners have wanted, as a result of government urban planning.
* On Robert Moses
(by the by，RM并不是地产大亨哟，他只是一个unelected politician, a public service worker)
* He did not just build and tore house. His career started from building parks, which were his favorite. Parks to him is like the Mother Nature, at that time he won the support from NYC residents and the press. He was so naive and idealistic, full of ambition and dream. Principle generally stood high above expediency for him. It was the Tammany hall, GOP and NYC that turned him into the development Czar.
* He was of elitism and never concealed his contempt for the mass, who he thought was intellectually lower than him. Moreover, he may be a racist. At the end of the day, Newyorkers showed seldom gratitude for him.
Both of them call themselves the reformers, sincere and ardent.
* Big heads in the movie
* James Baldwin
* Nelson Rockefeller
* Fiorello H. La Guardia
* Robert F. Wagner Jr
* Le Corbusier
* Al Smith
* Further reading
* <The Power Broker> - by Robert A. Caro, which is called the <Citizen Kane> of biographies
* <The Death and Life of Great American Cities> by Jane Jacobs
* <The language of cities> - by Deyan Sudjic
* Malcolm Gladwell’s NewYorker article, inspired by Jane Jacobs <Designs for working - why your bosses want to turn your new office into Greenwich Village>
* Seth Roberts’ articles about Jane Jocabs
* One scary thought
* If the urbanization in developing countries is the international legacy of Robert Moses, would AI be the future legacy of other power brokers? What are they building and what are they tearing?