Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card #31: Making Good Use of Gradual Money? NO

(This turtle is incorporated in this bank architecture, found on Montague Street, Brooklyn, as a symbol of the value of the slow and steady investment of money.)

This is evaluation item #31 (of 47) of the Jane Jacobs Atlantic Yards Report Card

Making Good Use of Gradual Money? NO

Jane Jacobs was supremely conscious of the good that money well and properly spent could create and was not, per se, against subsidies. However, she saw the most valuable form of money as gradual money spent slowly for gradual changes, building on and supplementing what exists. That money could come in through public spending and subsidy. Jacobs was also aware that in situations like Atlantic Yards where there is massive misdirection of public funds and subsidy into cataclysmic spending, each dollar the public spends cataclysmically creating destruction also represents a dollar that could, instead, have been spent gradually for public good. So, the misdirection of funds is, at least, a double loss to the public.

JJ Cites: [In order of size of their mortgage holdings, the most important of these institutions are . . .mortgage lenders . . By far the lion’s share of building, remolding rehabilitation, replacement and expansion that occurs in cities . . .is financed by this kind of money. P. 292 The kind of money necessary for capitalizing upon, building upon and supplementing what exists is gradual money. P. 292 Lack of gradual money wastes city districts already inherently fit for city, and therefore with a great potential for rapid improvement. It also means that there is no hope for districts that lack one or more of the conditions for generating diversity, and need help in acquiring these supplements, as well as money for normal changes and for worn-out structures. P. 307, 308 Nor is there any inherent reason why public buildings must be sorted out and assembled into civic and cultural cataclysms. They can be built and located as ingredients of gradual change, to supplement and enliven their matrix of living city. We only do it the other way because we think it is right. P. 314 ]

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