The 'kind of problem cities pose': Jane Jacobs at the intersection of philosophy, pedagogy, and urban theory

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Abstract

The matter of cities is, as urban critic Jane Jacobs argued, a complex problem akin to the life sciences. As a rich tradition of philosophical and geographical thought has suggested (Bergson, Lefebvre, and Harvey), the city is not a thing but a process. In order to reconcile process methodology and pedagogy, this essay explores six key ideas distilled from Jacobs' classic work The death and life of great American cities. These six pedagogical tenets suggest a radical departure from the framework of 'banking education', denounced by both Paolo Freire and bell hooks, and emphasize the need to engage students in an interdisciplinary and self-directed investigation of the city rooted in their own experiences. Incorporating the ideas of thinkers from many disciplinary traditions, this essay emphasizes that knowledge is a process involving the ongoing formulation of complex questions rather than the search for simple answers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cities
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Henri Bergson
  • Henri Lefebvre
  • Jane Jacobs
  • Process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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