Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card #15: Project Has Building Age Diversity with a Close-Grained Mingling? NO

This is evaluation item #15 (of 47) of the Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card

Project Has Building Age Diversity with a Close-Grained Mingling? NO

Jane Jacobs stressed that an essential part of providing diversity successfully was having an environment with a range of rents and choices fostered by having buildings of different ages mingled together in as closely grained fashion as possible. Atlantic Yards misses the opportunity and does the opposite by unnecessarily tearing down worthy and viable old buildings. Its huge density adds to the overpowering and one-sided nature of its mistakes. It tears down buildings which Jacobs points out cannot be recreated, while replacing them with replicated buildings of no special value that could easily be replaced.

JJ Cites: [The district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones so that they vary in the economic yield they must produce. This mingling must be fairly close-grained. P. 150, 151. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings. Even the enterprises that can support new construction in cities need old construction in their immediate vicinity. Otherwise they are part of a total attraction and environment that is economically too limited- - and therefore functionally too limited to be lively, interesting and convenient. Flourishing diversity anywhere in a city means the mingling of high-yield, middling-yield, low-yield and no-yield enterprises. P. 188 large swatches of construction built at one time are inherently inefficient for sheltering wide ranges of cultural, population, and business diversity. They are even inefficient for sheltering much range of mere commercial diversity. P. 191 One-age construction in city areas is sometimes protected nowadays from the threat of more efficient and responsive commercial competition. This protection- - - which is nothing more than commercial monopoly- - -. . .. P. 192 Cities need a mingling of old buildings to cultivate primary diversity mixtures, as well as secondary diversity. In particular, they need old buildings to incubate new primary diversity. P. 195 Neighborhoods built up all at once change little physically over the years as a rule. The little physical change that does occur is for th worse- - gradual dilapidation. P.198 The economic value of new buildings is replaceable in cities. It is replaceable by spending of more construction money. But the economic value of old buildings is irreplaceable at will. It is created by time. P. 199.]

(More to be torn down to build Atlantic Yards.)

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