In her 1961 classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs opposed what she called \”one size fits all\” planning. This idea of letting a mixture of land uses and housing styles evolve over time set her in contrast with the approaches of Ebenezer Howard, Le Corbusier, and Robert Moses, who preferred to redevelop large swaths of the city at once. On the contrary, wrote Jacobs, healthy neighborhoods must \”mingle buildings that vary in age and condition, including a good proportion of old ones.\”
Simply put, Jacobs felt one-size-fits-all planners often failed to recognize that “healthy cities are organic, spontaneous, messy, complex systems,” writes Duke sociologist Katherine King in an upcoming issue of the journal Urban Studies. This preference for gradual (as opposed to grand) redevelopment carries a number of possible social implications — a chief one being that it should promote stronger community relationships.