Week 2: Engage

To what extent does Sanderson’s pre-colonial Mannahatta coincide with, as well as oppose, Jacobs’ “organized complexity” vision of Manhattan?

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5 Responses to Week 2: Engage

  1. Amanda Huang says:

    Sanderson’s Mannahatta reflects of Jacobs’ organized complexity vision in that “quantities are all varying simultaneously and in subtly interconnected ways.” Jacobs consistently reiterates the relationship between cities and life sciences; they “do not exhibit one problem…which if understood explains all,” instead, “they can be analyzed into many such problems or segments which…also [relate] with one another.” In other words, countless factors are at play to determine a given observable outcome. Just as an otherwise seemingly beautiful park may be unpopular due to neighborhood safety, to name one factor. Unfolding Mannahatta coincides with the lessons that Jacobs lists. For example, Sanderson had to “seek for ‘unaverage’ clues involving very small quantities” to figure out Mannahatta’s diversity. I believe that pre-colonial Mannahatta opposes this idea of organized complexity in that the Lenape were able to live on the island for thousands of generations without disturbing wildlife radically.

  2. Michelle Guo says:

    Jacobs makes it clear that pumping money towards improving a neighborhood is not the solution towards building a successful community and I believe Sanderson’s pre-colonial Mannahatta supports this opinion. For instance, Sanderson praises Henry Hudson for pointing out that Mannahatta was able to ecologically develop and become efficient because of its “natural wealth” (Sanderson 10). However, I believe the difference between Jacobs and Sanderson is how to pinpoint the source of New York City’s sustainability issue. Jacobs views the situation as a game of politics [“Bankers, like planners, have theories about cities on which they act” (Jacobs 11-12)], while Sanderson believes it is an evolutionary consequence.

    *Note: For some reason I am not able to view or respond to Narciso’s post. Is anyone else having this same problem?

  3. Derek Ku says:

    Sanderson’s Mannahatta draws a picture of a newfound cultural diversity and emerging economic wealth that stemmed from previously rich biodiversity, and ecological wealth. These views are refreshingly optimistic on the change throughout the centuries.
    “Humanity has completely triumphed” [13] over nature. Sanderson toots the horn of human development.

    Jacobs paints a more depressing picture on mankind suffering. Low income families are hit with poverty in the forms of “deliquency, vandalism, and general social hopelessness” [5]. Jacobs describes the repetitive cycles of middle class workers and the vanities and vulgarities of opulence. She imagines the world as a gilded place. Her outlook on metropolitan cities is vastly different even when they discuss the same progress in the city.

  4. Hye Min Lee says:

    Sanderson’s Mannahatta Project stems from the understanding that even in the most populated cities, nature exists and more measures can be done to encourage “some of nature’s diversity” to return to the place they were pushed away from. It’s primary desire is to build a new way of life that allows us, the people, to live in harmony with nature and ecology. It also explores the city’s cultural diversity, economic wealth, and the enormous changes the city has undergone. Jacobs organized complexity is a bit different from the Mannahatta Project in that it focuses less on the ecological aspect of city planning. It’s primarily concerned with city neighborhoods and “social and economic vitality in cities (4).”

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