Aside from writing about cities and suburbs, Jane Jacobs also turned her attention to broader matters - the future of civilization itself. In her book, "Dark Age Ahead", Jacobs wrote that "A culture is unsalvageable if stabilizing forces themselves become ruined and irrelevant." Among these "stabilizing forces," Jacobs highlighted "science and technology," "governmental representation," "higher education," and "family and community." Today, all of these are arguably under assault by the Bush Administration and Republican-controlled Congress, although they certain are skillful at paying lip service to "family," while they go about trashing all the things that make families strong.
In addition, Jacobs' critique touches on the Bush/neo-con foreign policy, when she writes:
History has repeatedly demonstrated that empires seldom seem to retain sufficient cultural self-awareness to prevent them from overreaching and over grasping.
Sound familiar? Iraq, anyone? George W. Bush's complete lack of "cultural self-awareness" (or curiosity)? The right wing's "overreaching and over grasping" in so many areas?
As with her view of cities and "urban planning," here too Jane Jacobs was a visionary. As of yesterday, she is no longer with us, but her great work lives on. Because of that, one thing is for certain: The Death and Life of a Great American Woman shall not soon be forgotten.
P.S. There's an excellent diary on Jane Jacobs here as well