Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card #27: Use of Empiricism and Curiosity to Determine and Work with Actual

(President Obama delivering his inaugural address from which we quote, emphasis supplied: “But those values upon which our success depends—hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.” ESDC, we note, is hardly a dead cat.)

This is evaluation item #27 (of 47) of the Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card

Use of Empiricism and Curiosity to Determine and Work with Actual Facts and Reality? NO

Jane Jacobs was remarkable for being able to see and understand what “experts”who had preceded her overlooked or failed to understand and she did it by rigorously going out to observe what was actually out in the world to be observed rather than seeing what she expected, wanted to or thought she should see. If the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement is representative of what the sponsors of Atlantic Yards see, or don’t, the evidence is that they are not seeing the world of this Brooklyn site for what it is but for what they hope would justify their proposed actions. Likewise, if you go by the inaccurate descriptions of the proposed project and area in the materials the Ratner organization promulgated to promote the project. Those who inaccurately report that the project is a project being built “over rail yards” when only 40% of it is, or who describe the area in which the projects is proposed as “blighted” when it is not are similarly complicit uncritical promoters of the project.

JJ Cites: [Planners “have ignored the study of success and failure in real life, have been incurious about the reasons for unexpected success. P.6 It may be that we have become so feckless as a people that we no longer care how things work, but only what kind of quick easy impression they give. . . p7,8 That’s a slum!/It doesn’t seem like a slum to me. p.10 Because we use cities, and therefore have experience with them, most of us already possess a good groundwork for understanding and appreciating their order. P. 372.]

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