Most people associate Jane Jacobs (being remembered here this week) as an urbanist and sociologist. But if anything, she’s an urban economist, and in this interview reveals in her ever poetic way the economic need for the creative class:
“Well I think that it’s a more dangerous situation – the standardization of what is being produced or reproduced everywhere, where you can see it in the malls, in every city, the same chains, the same products are to be found. This goes even deeper in the trouble with import replacing because it means that new things are not being produced locally that can be improvements or anyway different. There is a sameness – this is one of the things that is boring people – this sameness. This sameness has economic implications. You don’t get new products and services out of sameness. Now the Americans haven’t gotten dumbed down all of a sudden so that only a few people who can decide on new products for change are the only ones with brains. But it means that somehow there isn’t opportunity for these thousands of flowers to bloom anymore.”
Thankfully there are increasingly more opportunities for these flowers to bloom in our revitalizing, unique, diverse downtowns.