June 8th, 2005
Matt Webb has a fascinating observation that the dot com boom was shaped fundamentally by the physical reality of SF
Visiting San Francisco for the first time in 2001, it all snapped into place. Here was a city cross-hatched by freeways that each felt just a little too dangerous to walk under. Coupled with a lack of decent public transportation, it meant there were loads of communities slightly too small to support really big stores or specialist shops. I was seeing, in short, a city in which home delivery made a ton of sense: pet supplies, groceries, late night snacks…
I don’t know if its true, but its a neat idea. Someone get Mike Davis on the case!
It is also kind of funny because I think of San Francisco as small, approachable city, that is relatively easy to get around, or to get from one side to the other. (Bay to Breakers anyone?) At least compared to other American cities.
July 23rd, 2002
I just started reading Emergence last night, and I begin to grasp why Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities, has started popping up on peoples’ reading lists everywhere.
Death and Life is a great book, I found it years ago, digging through my fathers urban planning collection. But until recently I would have thought it was a much cited, but little read classic from an earlier century, and I’ve been puzzled that it was expirencing a reniassance.
Has the recent gaps in the NYC skyline interested everyone in urban planning again? Nope. The book is just getting great marketting from Emergence, and its cheap to pick up at your local used bookstore.
Personally I got more of a kick out of reading her “The Economy of Cities”, which immediately sent me into throws of longing for a game that crossed SimCity and Civiliziation, though it had less to say, and was more speculative.