Dark Age Ahead

Dark Age Ahead

by Jane Jacobs
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Overview

Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs

In this indispensable book, urban visionary Jane Jacobs argues that as agrarianism gives way to a technology-based future, we’re at risk of cultural collapse. Jacobs—renowned author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities and The Economy of Cities—pinpoints five pillars of our culture that are in serious decay: community and family; higher education; the effective practice of science; taxation, and government; and the self-regulation of the learned professions. The corrosion of these pillars, Jacobs argues, is linked to societal ills such as environmental crisis, racism, and the growing gulf between rich and poor.

But this is a hopeful book as well as a warning. Drawing on a vast frame of reference—from fifteenth-century Chinese shipbuilding to Ireland’s cultural rebirth—Jacobs suggests how the cycles of decay can be arrested and our way of life renewed. Invigorating and accessible, Dark Age Ahead is not only the crowning achievement of Jane Jacobs’ career, but one of the most important works of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307425454
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2007
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 513,460
File size: 284 KB

About the Author

Jane Jacobs was the legendary author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a work that has never gone out of print and that has transformed the disciplines of urban planning and city architecture. Her other major works include The Economy of CitiesSystems of Survival, and The Nature of Economies. She died in 2006.

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Dark Age Ahead 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Dick_Burkhart More than 1 year ago
From UUJEC.com: Amazingly, this book was written well before the financial crash of 2008 and the 2016 US presidential election. Yet even in 2005 Jane Jacobs’ book became a bestseller, resonating with the many who suffered from, or who could see, the damage and corruption being wrought by an expanding culture of greed. She focuses on 5 points: (1) family, (2) higher education, (3) science and technology, (4) taxes and regulations, (5) self-policing. Her chapter on family is really a lament for increasing domination by the car and the ensuing loss of public transit and social life, and the increasing cost of housing. On higher education, it is all about real education versus credentialing. On science, she describes three cases of scientific stupidity, deriving from unquestioned dogmas, taking examples from traffic engineering, public health, and economic development. On taxes, it is about Toronto’s dysfunctional property tax system and the rapid deterioration of public services due to a corrupt, neo-conservative government. On self-policing it is about failures in business and the professions, from Enron to the Catholic Church. Then Jacobs looks for ways out of this “vicious spiral” of decay, such as revival of street life and affordable housing after the housing bubble; “performance zoning”; and redundancy in mentoring people and promoting economic diversity. Her final warning: Empires have not recognized that “the true power of a successful culture resides in its example”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the topic - the threat of culture collapsing into another dark age in the near future - this is a surprisingly charming, readable book. That is due to the way author Jane Jacobs combines a lifetime of research and thought on urban planning and the way societies function with very practical stories based on personal experience. Jacobs moves smoothly from a discussion of medieval tax strategies to accounts of a Sunday drive, and uses both to illustrate her ideas. Her style is friendly, almost casual, and at times she meanders from one topic to another in the style of the pedestrian-friendly cities she so clearly loves. However, while this provides a great deal of the book¿s charm, it also provides its two weaknesses. Problem one: the book often relies on scattered evidence - albeit by a world-class scholar - to address deeply serious problems. Problem two: Jacobs spends more time discussing society¿s failings than how one might fix them. The result is a fascinating book that is difficult to apply. As a result, we suggest this book to reflective readers who want an intelligent take on the issues involved in shaping the future of our cities, communities and countries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up this book and read the first chapter I decided that I would buy the book. The only good point that she made in the book was how almost every technologically advance country failed at one point in time but after that she pretty much blames are morals on why our country is failing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is a Dark Age Ahead, indeed, as Jane Jacobs warns, but only if you are THAT pessimistic. This is a woman who longs for the nuclear family of the 50s and the removal of many roads because they ruin the community, leading to isolation rather than socialization, among other things. I have to wonder how she was such a supposedly influential urban planner if Toronto, where she worked for many years, turned out so horridly by her own standards which is ruining the community with its mess of roads. I think Jane's been a bit isolated by those roads in Toronto, sitting alone to formulate up all these things. Also, several 'get back' statements to certain people who opposed her views in the past were also present in the book, statements which nobody cared to listen to she had to write her own book to put them in print. These were NOT classy and paints a picture of a bitter old lady, which, incidentally, is the tone I got from the book. Now, I'm not saying everything Jane says is incorrect. She does rightly point out issues of accreditation instead of education where institutions are giving slips of paper and churning out students rather than educating them well. However, as with all her observations, accurate or not, she tends to draw the wrong, or at least, most pessimistic conclusions. It's so pessimistic that apart from an apocalypse prediction, it rivals doomsday cults in predicting where we're going. It's not so drastic, but more painful if you look at it as us having to live through it in a relatively meaningless life devoid of functionality as a family and as a society, rather than just quickly be wiped out. Thank goodness Jane won't be around for it, but I'd advise her to have some faith in humanity and die in peace rather than fret about the rest of us as a species, all for nothing. I had to read this book for a course and I deliberately finished the final few pages standing in line at the university library, to donate it the moment I was done if only not to pollute the atmosphere with unnecessary by-products of burning a book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jane Jacobs is observant and intense. Well worth reading and a book with ideas that will haunt you.