Moses v. Jacobs – Blog 4

A huge factor in contributing to the difference in opinion between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses is the idea that the automobile is the greatest influencer on the modern world. Robert Moses destroyed major cities and neighborhoods to push highways through cities; He believed this to be a progressive. Looking from the outside in, this idea of more roads and intersecting highways appeared physically appealing. However, there was little concern for the things that contribute to the sense of community within a city: the people. Jane Jacobs believed communities should be viewed from the street level. She opposed the belief that the car reigns supreme. But rather it is the people that inhabit these cities, those that walk, the social interactions between residents and business owners, the local businesses, etc. that contribute to the greatness of a city and foster a sense of community.

While I agree that the automobile is a great influencer on the modern world, I do not believe it is the greatest. There is a social component to cities that Jacobs acknowledges which is not taken into account by Moses. Putting so much pressure on the use of the automobile contributes to depleting this social component. If everyone got from place to place by use of a car, there would be less foot traffic in stores. There would be less interaction between people. There would also be much less hustle and bustle which is expected of a city area. Consider most of the smaller cities in the south; There is little life because of the lack of people seen on the roads and sidewalks. This is the total opposite of what comes to mind when people hear the word “city.”

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