Jane Jacobs Zine

The New ABCs of Jane Jacobs Zine

Jane Jacobs’ advice about city planning, urban development, and regional economics is timeless and just as relevant as when she wrote it.  For this zine, I wondered what would a 2019 equivalent of Jane Jacobs write about? And what might she look like?

Aside from her famed anti-highway actions, Jacobs was a woman who got arrested for anti-war protests and was concerned about the disinvestment in black neighborhoods Her politics were undeniably radical – as much in 1961 when “Death and Life” was published and in 2004 when she wrote her final book, “A Dark Age Ahead.” Thus, the zine envisions a new Jane Jacobs as an activist fit for the dark age we are now in.

This list of ABCs keeps growing and evolving. Have an idea? Contact me!

Allyship: A commitment to the lives and struggles of those other than you.
Attainable Housing: Affordability is often subjective and ill-defined.
Anti-Racism: Being “not racist” is not enough in changing the status quo.
ABCD – Asset Based Community Development: A methodology to help flip the script on seeing and planning in under-resourced areas.
Austerity: Cutting resources to balance budgets. Proven to make things worse, and a politics that says there’s no money even when cities are flush with money.
Black Lives Matter: A movement uplifting Black, Latinx, and minority peoples’ right to lead lives free from everyday violence, brutality, and racism.
Climate Change: A fact that human activity is putting at risk the very viability of the planet being able to sustain life.
Creative Class: A methodology by Richard Florida that championed a new “class” of wealthy, young, childless professionals as cities’ saviors. Now seen as flawed, linked to exacerbating inequality, and somewhat disowned by Florida himself.
Double Poverty: When someone poor lives among other poor people. This fact makes escaping poverty nearly impossible.
Disneyfication: A side-effect of globalization and city branding that replaces cities’ & places’ character & variety with a palatable sameness.
Embeddedness: The way each of us is positioned in interlocking systems such as home, school, neighborhood, and culture.
Environmental Gentrification: As climate change intensifies, demand will increase for places protected from flooding, water scarcity, fires, etc.
Experiencing Homelessness: Seeing being homeless as not an identity but a phase.
Equity: A mindset that posits the equality of all people as a baseline.
Exclusion: How society pushes people to the fringes of society.
Fractal City: A way of seeing cities as ever-complex systems that rejects simplistic “rich vs. poor” or “black vs. white” dichotomies.
Gentrification: A poorly-understood and actually rare phenomenon that is blamed for cities’ growing inequalities. A method of social class displacement.
Hope versus Fear: Two drivers of human activity. Which one a person chooses has vast ramifications for one’s participation in city life.
Intersectionality: People’s lives don’t ever neatly fit single, separate issues.
Identity Politics: The forced politicization of sociocultural categories. Often bandied about as a pejorative by those whose identities aren’t under attack.
Justice: Can be many things, but broadly fits in categories such as:
• Social: Broadly refers to equalizing relations between a person and society.
• Spatial: Acknowledges that resources are unfairly spread out in urban space.
• Economic: Relies on economics as a way to advance social equality.
• Gender: Helping women (cis & trans) thrive in a male-centric society.
• Reproductive: Birth control & abortion access to help women achieve parity
• Restorative: Tackles broken & racist policing and justice systems.
• Mobility: Improving access to opportunity by bettering mobility options.
Kind: Another term for “politically correct.” It does not cost anything for one to be kind, but often means a world of difference.
Liveability: A measure of how well a place is working for those who live there.
Living Street: Urban spaces designed for socializing and human interaction.
McMansion: The gawdy, cheaply-built but expensive, massive homes common in suburbs globally – in the US mandated by rigid zoning.
Missing Middle: Responds to how cities only build luxury or subsidized housing.
NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard): Naysayer politics rejecting all ideas driven by the risk of opening neighborhoods to others, namely minorities.
Nonmalefiscence: A medical term for the ethical aspiration of doing no harm.
Othering: How people get reduced to caricatures to fit notions of “us vs them.”
Over-policing: A source of vast harm and anguish for minorities, but an expected default by whites. Posits that police violence is a system of maintenance designed to hinder minorities from achieving equity in our society.
Over-resourced: We don’t talk enough about why it is some have so much.
Performative Progressiveness: Often, progressive values are merely an act.
Placebuilding: Rejects the practice of “placemaking” as prescriptive and a tool of displacement. Instead seeks to build on the existing vs. making something new.
Poverty Tax: The costs poor people incur to get by that other classes don’t (ie: banks’ low balance fees). One of countless ways society reinforces poverty.
Poverty as violence:  Seeing poverty as arbitrary and enforced by society, rather than a personal or moral failing.
Privelege: The ability for one to exist without needing to be political.
Public Responsibility: The position that each of us must be answerable to even strangers. Also a measure of mental health: more = healthier people.
Queer: An all-encompassing term for those who are not straight.
Race: A social construct. There is only one race – the human one.
Racism: An ever-present and all-encompassing system and structure that sorts people based on the color of their skin.
Racialized Minority: Recognizes that society prescribes one their status as a minority, forcibly positioning them as “other” in all aspects of their lives.
Relatedness: The human capacity to connect with individuals and community.
Reparations: A call to compensate black folks for slavery and injustices that
have enriched some at their expense.
Superman Design: Tendency to design urban space as if from the air. Pretty renderings don’t always translate into usable designs.
SJW (Social Justice Warrior): A term twisted into a pejorative by those fighting AGAINST a more equal, just, and kind society.
Transgender: Persons whose gender expression varies from their assigned sex and some of cities’ most vulnerable residents. See also: Still Human.
Third Place: Somewhere that is neither home nor work. Best where spending is not expected. A rarity in a capitalist society and a lack of which is troubling.
Urban Transect: A fractal model to help define and design urban spaces.
Urban Renewal: The still-alive system of systemic destruction and displacement.
Vancouverism: Apparently a term for urban planning done right.
Wedge Issue: An artificial way to divide people by exploiting ignorance and difference. See: gay & trans rights, gun control, abortion, immigration.
Welcoming City: A policy that makes life for undocumented people more tolerable, but still doesn’t protect them from the terrorism of deportation.
White Supremacy: A vile world-view that posits everyone who is not a straight, white man as barely human. Supremacists’ ultimate goal is to purify society from “the other” by annihilating gays, Jews, and non-whites. More commonly, this describes how society is designed to benefit whites and harm all others.
Xenophobia: A fear of others that’d be laughable if not for the way its used today to terrorize immigrants by White Supremacism-friendly policy-makers.
YIMBY: A rejection of the dog-whistle racism and classicism of NIMBYism – that must be kept from being co-opted by developers.
Zoning: Land use law that is, by default, exclusionary but inclusionary by choice.