In a well-constructed essay of 5 pages, compare and contrast Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities and William McDonough & Michael Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, in terms of larger definitions of “sustainability. ” Put each book in its historical context and relate it to themes in the course as well as to modern and contemporary issues of architecture, cities, and the environment. On the last day of class, Wednesday, December 9, we will discuss these two books.
Your essays are due in the Drop Box the end of exam week on Friday, December 18. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs and Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart are two distinct novels that grapple with issues regarding the lives we live, the things we use every day, the city and its inhabitants. There are many similarities that these two books share, however their perspectives vary particularly in pertaining to sustainability and design and the utility and life of the things we use day to day.
While Jacobs models an approach that is the structure of the city should cater to humans. Her view on the odernist approach leaning more towards the what a city should be able to do for the people. One caveat as that in the words used and the layout of the chapters, Jane Jacobs gives us the framework from which we should do as opposed to how we should do it. McDonough and Braungart have a more visionary and outside the box approach to cities.
They view everything from the buildings we inhabit to the books we read as something that can work efficiently and when the time comes, become something else to minimize the waste and eventually the pollution that is produced, providing tangible solutions to roblems that we always have and always will face. The Death and Life of Great American Cities was published in 1961, and from the issues that are raised, the solutions to said problems and the tone are a reflection of the times in which Jane Jacobs was living.
Everything in her writing has a purpose and is as incredibly practical just as her plans for the city are. The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a time piece, grappling with issues that were prevalent in the 1960’s while still remaining prevalent in today’s day in age. Jane Jacobs was a writer and social activist. While lacking formal training in urban planning she quickly became one of the most influential persons in the field. The Death and Life of Great American cities is perhaps one of her well known works.
Jacobs critiques the short-sightedness of urban planners in the 1950s and pushes back against status quo about what makes a good city and brands then as detrimental to the human experience. One example of an ideal that she often claimed, was that the creation of automobile infrastructure resulted in an unnatural division of pre-existing neighbourhoods. In her mind, this created unsafe environments nd thereby severed connections between communities. “Government officials, planners-and developers and architects -first envisioned the spectacular project, and little else, as the solution to rebuilding the city.
Redevelopment legislation and the economics resulting from it (Replaced: ‘Smart cities’) were born of this thinking and tailored for prototype project designs much like those being constructed today. The image was built into the machinery; now the machinery reproduces the image. ” This piece, an anecdote from The Death and Life of Great American Cities is a key piece of her personal philosophy. Jacobs believed adamantly that it was the cities that should revolve around the people and not the other way around. Jacobs often viewed things within the context of what a city could do for the people.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities often follows the model that preaches for traditional to meet the hustle and bustle of the city, without much evolution in mind. Cradle to Cradle on the other hand was published in 2002. One of the authors is William McDonough who is an architect. He is the founder of McDonough + Partners and has no shortage of awards for his environmentally savvy designs. One of his most notable projects was when he was hired by the Ford Motor Company to turn the firm’s original manufacturing plant into a green automobile factory, a task which took two million dollars to come to fruition.
Braungart on the other hand is a German with a Ph. D. in chemistry. , At one point he led Greenpeace’s chemical division, then went on to found the German Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency. This organization helps companies design products with an eye to their entire life cycle. This is where Jacobs and the duo are set apart. Cradle to Cradle’s greatest message is the sustainability f cities. They believe in modernism in architecture and for things to be used again and again for the greater good of mankind.
Emphasis is placed on what humans can do and the roles we play in the creation of cities in order to leave things behind for future generations, the thinking is nonlinear and visionary. With Cradle to Cradle, McDonough and Braungart seek to turn theory into practice in regards to environmental solutions that are simple enough for anyone to be able to digest. “We see a world of abundance, not limits. In the midst of a great deal of talk about reducing the human ecological ootprint, we offer a different vision.
What if humans design products and systems that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture, and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe that our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament? ” (p. 16) One of the greatest examples of how their philosophy comes to life in tangible for is for one to look at the book itself. The pages of Cradle to Cradle are made of a form of plastic from which the ink can be easily washed and captured for reuse. The plastic itself can be reused in a similar or a higher evel, rather than being “downcycled.
Downcycling is essentially what a lot of recycling really is. (In a nutshell downcycling is the act of reusing a product at a lower quality level, usually because of degradation or contamination by other materials. An example of this is say water bottles become a doormat. ) “Eco- efficiency is an outwardly admirable, even noble, concept, but it is not a strategy for success over the long term, because it does not reach deep enough. It works within the same system that caused the problem in the first place, merely slowing it down ith moral proscriptions and punitive measures.
It presents little more than the illusion of change. (p 62) “How can we support and perpetuate the rights of all living things to share in a world of abundance? How can we love the children of all species–not just our own–for all time? Imagine what a world of prosperity and health in the future would look like, and begin designing for it right now. ” (p 186) This quote reflects a sentiment that falls along the likes of Jane Jacobs and this is where their philosophies intersect. Both Jacobs and McDonough and Braungart