Just Hanging Out

Reformers have long observed city people loitering on busy corners, hanging around in candy stores and bars and drinking soda pop on stoops, and have passed a judgment, the gist of which is: “This is deplorable! If these people had decent homes and a more private or bosky outdoor place, they wouldn’t be on the street!” That judgment represents a profound misunderstanding of cities. It makes no more sense than to drop in at a testimonial banquet in a hotel and conclude that if these people had wives who could cook, they would give their parties at home. Jane Jacobs Attribution: Jane Jacobs (b. 1916), U.S. urban analyst. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, ch. 3 (1961). Jacobs lived in the lively, diverse Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan (New York City).

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