Campaign Flashback: Obama an Admirer of Jane Jacobs

This vid has been making the rounds via Streetsblog Network member Beyond DC. In it we see candidate Obama tell a crowd in Toledo that the Death and Life of Great American Cities is "a great book" and delve into some talking points about the importance of cities to regional economies. Read into it what you will. To me it says advocates for cities and urbanism should hold our next President to a very high standard, because he knows his stuff.

  • That’s a great video, but all he talks about are cops and schools.
    When he said “we need to make the streets safe” I thought he meant
    safe to cross without getting run over by a car— but he’s just
    talking about crime.

    Yes. Those are big issues for cities– but public spaces and
    transportation are equally important.

  • Antonio

    Folks, if he’s read Jacobs, nothing in this clip suggests it. I voted for the man and am holding out hope, but the entire point of his response here is, “We need to rebuild cities.” Sure, that’s what Jacobs said. It’s also what Robert Moses said. The proof is in the specifics and actions, and so far as we’ve got to go on is LaHood.

  • Rhywun

    Heh, I have that same copy. So wow, a (future) president name-dropping Jane Jacobs?! I never thought I’d live to see the day. Sure, he’s mostly speaking in platitudes (“safety”, “thriving”…) but he makes a very important point that I’ve heard few national politicians ever make: that strong central cities are a must in order to have strong regions. I’ve lived in a few dying cities (Buffalo, Rochester) and this point is completely lost on the regional politicians of those areas.

  • jmc

    Obama should be held to a high standard, because he SHOULD understand urban economies. The problem is that he is a corrupt megalomaniac, and only used cities as a stepping stone for his own power.



    The person who is going to be in charge of the federal assignment of the stimulus, the person who approves transport projects, is an idiot Illinois machine politician from Peoria.

    Anyone who talks about “political necessities” should remember what happened when bush assigned his idiotic political cronies to run federal administrations.

    People need to stop being delusional about Obama and get ready to fight for what they believe America needs. Unless you want an eight-lane highway flyover on the outskirts of Peoria or some sunbelt city to be an example of our infrastructure stimulus.

  • jmc

    Perhaps he plans on harnessing the “alternative energy” of Jane Jacobs rolling in her grave with the appointment of LaHood.


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